Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration, under pressure by crtiics to impose tougher restrictions to battle the surge of Covid, will now require residents as young as 2 to wear masks at gatherings. The previous age had been 5.
The mask rule for children requires "a good-faith effort to ensure that these children wear masks while in gatherings at childcare facilities or camps," says the new epidemic order announced Friday by Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
On Friday, the state reported 8,955 new Covid cases and 40 deaths.
Under the order, the state maintains its 50-percent capacity for indoor dining at restaurants and bars and a 15-person limit for indoor residential gatherings. Public gatherings inside are limited to 25.
Outside, 50 people are allowed at residences and 300 at public sites.
"In the past eight weeks, spread of Covid-19 has risen nearly 400% amongst persons aged 10-19," said the state order from Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of State and Human Services. "As of April 8, local health departments had reported 312 new and ongoing outbreaks among K-12 schools, with 48 of those outbreaks reported in the week prior. Additionally, there are 329 identified clusters among minors participating in school and club sports since January 2021."
Meanwhile, the Michigan Nurses Association blasted business executives who are pushing to ease Covid restrictions in the state.
“Nurses are exhausted. Many hospitals are close to 100% capacity. RNs around the state are being put in the impossible situation of having to decide which patient to attend to," said Jamie Brown, a critical care nurse at Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo and president of the association."
"Nurses are working up to 18 hours at a time, often without breaks. We are begging for everyone in the community to do their part. Stay home. Wear a mask. Get a vaccine when you are able. We are barely able to keep our heads above water. We are in crisis. We need our communities’ help.”