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Ingham County rescinds two emergency orders including mask requirement in educational institutions, effective Feb. 19

LANSING, Mich. – Effective Feb. 19 at midnight (12 a.m.), the Ingham County Health Department (ICHD) will rescind emergency orders Ingham2021-2, requiring masks in educational institutions, and Ingham2021-3, detailing quarantine and isolation procedures for close contacts in school settings.

Emergency orders Ingham2021-2 and Ingham 2021-3 were issued on September 2, 2021 and were implemented based on ongoing epidemic conditions including high case and positivity rates of COVID-19, increased strain on healthcare capacity, and a largely unvaccinated student population. Implementation of these evidence-based public health orders allowed for Ingham County students and staff to remain in the classroom and to do so safely.

Ongoing weekly monitoring of pandemic risk indicators demonstrates weekly cases per 100,000 have decreased by 78% over the past two weeks in Ingham County and have decreased by 73% in the Lansing MERC region. Comparing the height of the Omicron surge to current data, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have declined by approximately 34.2%. A decline in pandemic risk indicators, as well as an increase in COVID-19 vaccination rates among eligible individuals, guides local public health jurisdictions to make critical decisions about emergency orders, mandates, and restrictions regarding COVID-19.

Currently nearly 40% of 5 – 11 year olds and 62% of 12 – 15 year olds in Ingham County have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination rates among these age groups exceed the statewide averages of 26% and 47.5%, respectively, and are the 3rd highest vaccination rates for these age groups among all local health department jurisdictions in the state of Michigan. Approximately 73.3% of all eligible Ingham County residents (5+) have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  

“We are at a point in this pandemic in which public health strategies will begin to shift more towards personal responsibility as we learn to live with COVID-19 long-term,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail. “As a public health agency, we will continue to support local school districts by recommending evidence-based public health measures, educating on current guidance and practices, and making recommendations for staying safe and healthy.”

Masking indoors and in crowded settings continues to be recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), and other health authorities. Both the CDC and MDHHS recommend universal indoor masking by all students (ages 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Wearing a mask while in public indoor settings, including in educational institutions, remains to be strongly recommended by ICHD. Schools are urged to maintain strict masking policies especially in areas of substantial or high transmission levels of COVID-19.

Notice of rescission of emergency orders Ingham2021-2 and Ingham2021-3 effective Feb. 19 at midnight (12 a.m.), provides local school districts time to prepare their staff, board members, and families of the upcoming changes, as well as make necessary district-level decisions and policies. ICHD will continue to support and guide local school districts to ensure that our community is utilizing public health tools and prevention strategies to control COVID-19 in educational settings, and to allow our students to safely maintain in-person learning for the remainder of the school year. Layering prevention strategies against COVID-19 such as being up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccination, universal masking, hand washing, social distancing, and staying home when sick will aid in protecting students, teachers, staff, visitors, and other members of the community.

Guidance and resources detailing CDC and MDHHS recommendations for COVID-19 mitigation in K-12 schools as well as COVID-19 vaccination opportunities can be found at hd.ingham.org/coronavirus.

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