Category Archives: COVID-19 coronavirus

The Huron Hub’s current coverage of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

Huron School District drops mask mandate; masks still required on buses

Courtesy photo

By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022

The Huron School District announced Thursday that masks will no longer be required in schools.

Masks are still required on buses due to the federal mandate requiring masking on all public transportation.

Supt. Donovan Rowe released a statement Thursday morning:

Early this morning, and without prior notification, the Huron School District received a letter from the Wayne County Health Department with an important update regarding face masking in the school setting. On Thursday, February 17, 2022, effective at 8:00 AM, the Wayne County Health Department rescinded their mask mandate for schools.

As a result, effective immediately, students and staff in the Huron School District are no longer required to wear face masks in our school buildings. It is important to note that the Wayne County Health Department continues to “strongly recommend” a layered approach to COVID-19 prevention that includes “wearing masks in indoor spaces.” Consequently, effective immediately, masks will be recommended, but not required by the Huron School District. This is in line with our position prior to the WCHD mandate.

There is one other important detail that I want to mention. Due to the federal mandate requiring masking on all public transportation (buses, trains, airplanes, etc. . .), masking on school buses is still mandated. Students and staff are still required to wear masks on all school buses.

Related: Michigan ends mask recommendation for indoor public settings, including schools


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Michigan ends mask recommendation for indoor public settings, including schools

Courtesy photo

Posted by The Huron Hub | Feb. 16, 2022

Based on current conditions, MDHHS is expiring the Public Health Advisory on Masking in Indoor Public Settings, including school settings.

Moving forward, the COVID-19 response cycle will be broken down into three key phases:

• Response – Local and state public health implement rapid response to a surge. The public may be advised to increase masking, testing and social distancing.

• Recovery – Post-surge. No immediate resurgence predicted. Local and state public health will monitor conditions that could lead to future surges.

• Readiness – A surge in cases is expected, with implications on severity of illness and hospital capacity. Increased communication to the public regarding possible new risks.
MDHHS supports adjusting mask recommendations as we cycle through periods of response, recovery and readiness and following local health department decisions based on local conditions. Current case rates and hospitalizations, and increased access to vaccines, testing and therapies, indicate Michigan is entering a post-surge recovery phase of the cycle:

During this post-surge recovery phase, MDHHS recommends that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, continue to practice masking in high-risk congregate settings (including long-term and health care facilities, jails and correctional facilities and shelters).

There may be local masking guidance, policies and/or orders from local health departments, organizations, and/or school districts that must be followed. Policies established by event organizers and businesses may be instituted to fit the specific needs of their customers and should be followed.

More info here.


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Huron School District to remove mask mandate once Wayne County gives go ahead


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022

The Huron School District announced Tuesday plans to remove the current mask mandate in schools once Wayne County gives the go ahead.

On Feb. 11, the Wayne County Health Department said that they are anticipating lifting the county wide mask mandate for schools on Feb. 28.

Supt. Donovan Rowe released a statement Tuesday saying the district anticipates lifting the mandate on Feb. 28.

“With the support of our community, our district has done an outstanding job remaining flexible while balancing all of the additional external pressures via state and local mandates, while keeping the most important goal in mind, providing a healthy, in-person learning environment,” Rowe said.

“As the masking mandate is lifted on February 28, 2022, students and staff members will no longer be required to wear face masks in our school buildings. It is important to note that the Wayne County Health Department continues to “strongly recommend” a layered approach to COVID-19 prevention that “includes wearing masks in public indoor spaces.” As a result, masks will be strongly recommended, but not required in the Huron School District. This is in line with our position prior to the WCHD mandate.”

Masks will still be required for students and staff on busses.

“Due to the federal mandate requiring masking on all public transportation (buses, trains, airplanes, etc..), masking on our school buses is still a mandate, and students and staff must continue to wear face masks while on school buses in compliance with that federal mandate,” Rowe said.


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US government launches website to order free at home COVID test kits


Posted by The Huron Hub | Jan. 18, 2022

A new website was launched by the federal government Tuesday offering four free COVID test kits to each household in the US.

To order your free at home COVID tests, visit this website: www.covidtests.gov

ABOUT THE AT-⁠HOME COVID-⁠19 TESTS

The tests available for order:

-Are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR
-Can be taken anywhere
-Give results within 30 minutes (no lab drop-off required)
-Work whether or not you have COVID-⁠19 symptoms
-Work whether or not you are up to date on your COVID-⁠19 vaccines
-Are also referred to self-tests or over-the-counter (OTC) tests

Take an at-⁠home test:

-If you begin having COVID-⁠19 symptoms like fever, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, or
-At least 5 days after you come into close contact with someone with COVID-⁠19, or
-When you’re going to gather with a group of people, especially those who are at risk of severe disease or may not be up to date on their COVID-⁠19 vaccines.

More information available at www.covidtests.gov


Wayne County issues mask mandate for schools

Posted by The Huron Hub | Aug. 27, 2021

Wayne County today issued a mask mandate for all schools.

Here is the press release from the county.

The Wayne County Public Health Department today issued a new order mandating local school districts, schools and daycare providers require students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear a face mask while in school and during school-sponsored indoor events. The order takes effect immediately. A copy of the order is attached to this release.

Specifically, today’s order directs schools and daycare providers to:

Require indoor wearing of face masks for all pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students, regardless of their vaccine status; and,

Require face masks be worn indoors by all teachers, administrative staff, other employees, parent/guardians, attendees, and volunteers.

Last week, Wayne County Public Health officials issued “strong recommendations” that all school districts implement a COVID-19 safety plan that includes a universal mask requirement. With today’s order, wearing a mask while indoors is now mandatory for all students, staff, employees and visitors at public, private and parochial educational settings, including daycare centers, throughout Wayne County.

Walk-in vaccinations are available to residents at Wayne County clinics for both initial shots and boosters. Appointments as well as arrangements for in-home booster for homebound residents can be made by calling 1-866-610-3885 or text “WAYNE VAX” to 48355.

For information about ways Wayne County residents can protect themselves against COVID-19 visit www.waynecounty.com/covid19.


Whitmer announces Michigan at full capacity beginning today, COVID-19 restrictions ended

Governor Whitmer announced the reopening of state to full capacity during a press conference at Belle Isle in Detroit.

Posted by The Huron Hub | June 22, 2021

Governor Whitmer and Lt. Governor Gilchrist today announced the reopening of state to full capacity at Belle Isle in Detroit, while highlighting the administration’s Economic Jumpstart Plan focused on strengthening the economy and putting Michigan residents back to work.

Starting today, capacity in both indoor and outdoor settings will increase to 100% and the state will no longer require residents to wear a face mask.

Small businesses and other venues still can require mask usage.

“Today is a day that we have all been waiting for, as we can safely get back to normal day-to-day activities and move forward together,” said Governor Whitmer. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the medical experts and health professionals who stood on the frontlines to keep us all safe. And we are incredibly thankful to all of the essential workers who kept our state moving. Thanks to the millions of Michiganders who rolled up their sleeves to get the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, we have been able to make these changes ahead of schedule. Our top priority going forward is taking full advantage of the billions in federal relief funding and our $3.5 billion surplus to jumpstart our economy. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure that Michigan’s families, small businesses, and communities emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever before.”

Present at the announcement in Detroit were representatives of Michigan’s small businesses.

“As a small business owner Covid 19 was devastating to my business, but with the help of the State of Michigan and Governor Whitmer, we were able to maintain and stay open,” said Tiffany Barber, owner of Tiffany’s Delicious Dogs LLC. “Tiffany’s Delicious Dogs was a City of Detroit vendor for 15 years, forced to change our business model to survive. With grants and training funded by the State of Michigan, to learn new business techniques we made it together and are thankful to our great Governor and the State of Michigan for the support to make it through the storm. We look forward to getting back to business in a safe environment guided by a great leader.”

Case rates, percent positivity and hospitalizations have all plummeted over the past several weeks, while vaccination rates continue to increase.

To date, 61.2% of Michiganders ages 16 and older receiving their first vaccine dose. As part of these efforts, Michigan is partnering with organizations across the state to create more opportunities for Michigan residents to receive a vaccine.

Whitmer says state will open to full capacity on June 22

Posted by The Huron Hub | June 17, 2021

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today accelerated the end of all COVID-19 epidemic orders on gatherings and masking as COVID-19 cases continue to plummet following increased vaccinations. Beginning June 22, capacity in both indoor and outdoor settings will increase to 100% and the state will no longer require residents to wear a face mask.

“Today is a day that we have all been looking forward to, as we can safely get back to normal day-to-day activities and put this pandemic behind us,” said Governor Whitmer. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the medical experts and health professionals who stood on the front lines to keep us all safe. And we are incredibly thankful to all of the essential workers who kept our state moving. Thanks to the millions of Michiganders who rolled up their sleeves to get the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine, we have been able to make these changes ahead of schedule. Our top priority going forward is utilizing the federal relief funding in a smart, sustainable way as we put Michigan back to work and jumpstart our economy. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ensure that Michigan’s families, small businesses, and communities emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever before.”

Nearly five million Michiganders ages 16 and older have received their first vaccine dose, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. According to data from the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, half of Michigan residents have completed their vaccination and over 60% have gotten their first shots.

Case rates, percent positivity and hospitalizations have all plummeted over the past several weeks. Currently, Michigan is experiencing 24.3 cases per million and has recorded a 1.9% positivity rate over the last seven days.  

“This is a great day, however, there is more work to be done,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “We can’t let our guard down as there continue to be several variants of the COVID-19 virus circulating in our state, including the concerning Delta variant. The COVID-19 vaccine is the most important tool we have to reduce the spread of the virus and I urge everyone ages 12 and up who has not yet received their vaccine to get it as soon as possible. Talk to your health care provider, your local health department or your neighborhood pharmacist about joining the millions of Michiganders who have received their vaccine.”

In addition to the Gatherings and Mask Order, additional orders are being rescinded as of June 22.These include: 

Additionally, some orders will remain in effect to protect vulnerable populations in corrections, long-term care and agriculture. Public health measures will continue for reporting requirements and COVID testing to make sure areas where community spread is high are identified, kids are safe in school and free COVID-19 tests are available. Guidance for keeping children and staff safe in schools will be released next week.  

MDHHS will continue to provide recommendations to keep Michiganders safe and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in higher risk settings and places where vulnerable populations or populations with large numbers of individuals are not yet fully vaccinated.

Michigan to lift COVID-19 outdoor capacity limits on June 1, increase indoor capacity to 50%

Posted by The Huron Hub—Thursday, May 20, 2021

Gov. Whitmer announced Thursday morning that on June 1, all outdoor COVID-19 capacity limits will be lifted.

Additionally, indoor capacity limits will be increased to 50%.

Whitmer said that when the CDC changed its guidance on mask wearing, state officials went back to the drawing board to change the MI Vacc to Normal plan.

On July 1, the mask mandate and gatherings order will be lifted and there will no longer be any broad mitigation measures during the pandemic, Whitmer said.

Currently, Michigan is at 56.8% of Michiganders, 4,600,119 people, with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. It’s increased only 1.8% in the past 10 days.

Initially, the state had tied reopening to vaccination rates, with four different benchmarks.

It was going to take 70% of Michiganders vaccinated before the order was lifted. That changed with the CDC guidance.

“The vaccine is the best way to keep you and your family and the most vulnerable among us safe from COVID-19,” Whitmer said at a press conference on Thursday.


Whitmer lifts Michigan’s face mask mandate for fully vaccinated residents

Posted by The Huron Hub | Friday, May 14, 2021

Governor Whitmer today announced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is updating the “Gatherings and Mask Order” to align with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidance on face coverings.

The new order will go into effect on Saturday, May 15.

“For more than a year, we’ve been following the best data and science to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Whitmer. “The vast majority of us have trusted the scientists and experts to keep us safe during the pandemic, and it has worked. With millions of Michiganders fully vaccinated, we can now safely and confidently take the next step to get back to normal. The message is clear: vaccines work to protect you and your loved ones. If you have not yet received your vaccine, now is the time to sign up. This pandemic has been one of the toughest challenges of our lifetimes, but we came together as a state to persevere. We have all been working incredibly hard toward getting back to some sense of normalcy, and today’s news makes all of that work worthwhile.”

On Thursday, the CDC released updated guidance recommending “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” 

“It’s critical that eligible Michigan residents who have not yet been vaccinated schedule their appointments as soon as they can,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and MDHHS chief deputy director for health. “Getting shots in arms is the best way to end the pandemic. If you have not yet been vaccinated, it is important to continue to mask up to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”

Under the updated MDHHS Gatherings and Mask Order, Michiganders who are outdoors will no longer need to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. While indoors, fully vaccinated Michiganders will no longer need to wear a mask, but residents who are not vaccinated, or have not completed their vaccinations, must continue to wear a mask or face covering to protect themselves and others. After July 1, the broad indoor mask mandate will expire.

“The safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and all the hard work that Michiganders have done allows us to take a big step in returning to normal,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “This updated order keeps Michigan in alignment with CDC guidance that is based on the knowledge of health experts. I urge our residents to continue to be respectful of each other as we move forward.”

To date, Michigan has administered 7,875,785 vaccines. According to CDC data, 55.6% of Michiganders ages 16 and older have received at least one dose, with more than 43% percent of Michiganders ages 16 and older being fully vaccinated. The state has also administered the vaccine to 927 Michiganders between the ages of 12 to 15 years old.


CDC says fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors, with few exceptions

(Photo/Pexels)


The Huron Hub | Thursday, May 13, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a move to send the country back toward pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday eased indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places.

The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters but will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools, and other venues — even removing the need for masks or social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.

“We have all longed for this moment — when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC.

The CDC will also no longer recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds. The announcement comes as the CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people — people who are two weeks past their last required COVID-19 vaccine dose — in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shot.

Walensky announced the new guidance on Thursday afternoon at a White House briefing, saying the long-awaited change is thanks to millions of people getting vaccinated — and based on the latest science about how well those shots are working.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities – large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” Walensky said. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

The easing guidance is likely to open the door to confusion, since there is no surefire way for businesses or others to distinguish between those fully vaccinated and those who are not.

President Joe Biden was set to highlight the new guidance Thursday afternoon in a speech from the White House.

The new guidance comes as the aggressive U.S. vaccination campaign begins to pay off. U.S. virus cases are at their lowest rate since September, deaths are at their lowest point since last April and the test positivity rate is at the lowest point since the pandemic began.

To date about 154 million Americans, more than 46% of the population, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines and more than 117 million are fully vaccinated. The rate of new vaccinations has slowed in recent weeks, but with the authorization Wednesday of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15, a new burst of doses is expected in the coming days.

Just two weeks ago, the CDC recommended that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks indoors in all settings and outdoors in large crowds.

During a virtual meeting Tuesday on vaccinations with a bipartisan group of governors, Biden appeared to acknowledge that his administration had to do more to model the benefits of vaccination.

“I would like to say that we have fully vaccinated people; we should start acting like it,” Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, told Biden. “And that’s a big motivation get the unvaccinated to want to to get vaccinated.”

“Good point,” Biden responded. He added, “We’re going to be moving on that in the next little bit.”

Walensky said the evidence from the U.S. and Israel shows the vaccines are as strongly protective in real-world use as they were in earlier studies, and that so far they continue to work even though some worrying mutated versions of the virus are spreading.

The more people continue to get vaccinated, the faster infections will drop — and the harder it will be for the virus to mutate enough to escape vaccines, she stressed, urging everyone 12 and older who’s not yet vaccinated to sign up.

And while some people still get COVID-19 despite vaccination, Walensky said that’s rare and cited evidence that those infections tend to be milder, shorter and harder to spread to others. If someone who’s vaccinated does develop COVID-19 symptoms, they should immediately put their mask back on and get tested, she said.

There are some caveats. Walensky encouraged people who have weak immune systems, such as from organ transplants or cancer treatment, to talk with their doctors before shedding their masks. That’s because of continued uncertainty about whether the vaccines can rev up a weakened immune system as well as they do normal, healthy ones.

Article courtesy of The Associated Press.
View source article here