CDC urges Michiganders to put their masks back on in these 16 counties

Health officials say Macomb, Oakland and Wayne are included in areas of "high transmission" for COVID-19
man in a facemask walking outside
Photo credit Zach Clark/WWJ

DETROIT (WWJ) -- There's a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 in Metro Detroit, as the 16 Michigan counties are now at "high transmission" levels, according to federal health officials.

Citing new case data, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is once again recommending that everyone mask up indoors in high community transmission counties, including: Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Livingston, St. Clair, Chippewa, Mackinac, Emmet, Cheboygan, Antrim, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Manistee and Calhoun.

View the CDC map

This did not come a surprise to Dr. Natasha Bagdasrian is the Chief Medical Executive for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

"When we did the initial modeling it looked like we would start to peak around now, and it's unclear if we've reached that peak," Bagdasrian said in an exclusive interview with WWJ's Dr. Deanna Lites on Friday.

"And in fact, based on what we're seeing, it does appear that we could rise for another week or few weeks."

On a positive note, she said vaccinations are keeping many Michiganders out of the hospital.

"What what reassuring was to know that we would not see that huge burden on hospitals, and that huge increase in deaths that we'd seen early on in the pandemic."

Bagdasarian adds that when you're dealing with COVID-19 everything is subject to change.

So, events like graduations and weddings on the way this summer, how can Michiganders stay safe?

Along with getting your COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shot and masking up indoors: "We have been saying since the beginning of the pandemic that outdoors is safer than indoors. So, if you're having an event and you can keep it outdoors, that's certainly a safe way to do it."

"Another way to make things a little bit safer is to test," Bagdasarian said. "Having everyone test before an event is one way to ensure that there is that additional level of safety."

To be clear, the CDC guidance on masking is only a suggestion; not in any way a mandate.

Anyone in the U.S., can check the COVID-19 transmission status in their county, or a county you're traveling to, at this link.