As COVID-19 cases rise locally and across Michigan, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has tightened restrictions on bars and restaurants.
According to a press release, new rules include contact tracing requirements and a limit of six patrons per table at bars and restaurants. Gatherings like weddings and private parties at indoor venues that do not have fixed seating are limited to 50 people.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS, said the orders “are centered on keeping the public safe and following best practices to reduce the spread of this deadly virus.”
“The alarming surge we are now seeing is exactly why we were so worried about the fall season. We must remain vigilant, so we prevent long-term health consequences and unnecessary deaths, and protect our hospital capacity and the health of our frontline health workers,” she said.
Case numbers, deaths rising
Michigan presently has 172 cases per million people, and positivity of tests has increased from about 2 percent to 5.5 percent. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have doubled over the last three weeks, while the state death rate has increased for five consecutive weeks, the release indicated.
After early fall numbers ranging from 120 to 150 recent cases, an Oakland County map shows 254 residents across the four major Farmington area ZIP codes have been diagnosed within the past 30 days. (View the county’s interactive map here: oakgov.com/covid/casesByZip.html.)
In addition, cases within the Farmington Public Schools district boundaries have risen from the mid-60s in September and 111 (diagnosed October 8-21) to 186 (October 15-28).
MDHHS has also issued guidelines for family gatherings during the holiday season:
- Get together outside whenever possible. You have up to 20 times higher risk of getting sick inside.
- If you do get together inside, include no more than two households and 10 people.
- Limit time inside together—greater duration is greater risk.
- Wear a mask – take it off when you eat or drink, then put it back on.
- Keep six feet apart as much as you can.
- When possible, keep voices down; high volume can increase COVID transmission by 30 times
- Wash hands regularly and try to not to share utensils.
“The only way to beat COVID is to act on what we’ve learned since March,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “Wear masks. Keep six feet of distance. Wash hands. And avoid the indoor get-togethers where we have seen COVID explode.”