Metro Detroit health departments reluctant to issue mask mandates as COVID cases rise again

As of Friday, Michigan has 910,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus

As COVID cases rise, local health departments are watching and warning.

DETROIT – As COVID cases rise, local health departments are watching and warning.

Related: Michigan releases COVID guidance for upcoming school year, urges universal masking

Officials aren’t issuing mask mandates despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance that fully vaccinated people should still wear masks indoors.

Data: Michigan’s vulnerability ‘high’ as COVID sweeps across US again

The Wayne County Health Department urged residents to get vaccinated and wear masks indoors Friday.

“We cannot afford to let our guard down against COVID. We don’t have community protection against the virus because too many residents remain unvaccinated,” said county executive Warren C. Evans. “With the emergence of the highly-contagious Delta variant, wearing masks indoors again is necessary to keep people safe, especially children and individuals who are medically unable to get vaccinated.”

Wayne County isn’t alone, as Oakland County health officials are also urging residents to wear a mask and to vaccinate.

“In light of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases -- which include the Delta variant -- we agree with the recommendation by the Centers for Disease to Control for all Oakland County residents to wear masks and socially distance in public indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status,” said Oakland County Medical Director Dr. Russell Faust.

Health officials are advocating for masks, vaccinations and social distancing, but they aren’t mandating it.

“We want to reinforce those recommendations,” said Jimena Loveluck, MSW, health officer with Washtenaw County Health Department. “I don’t know that we will go the further step of mandating. That’s not something, at least in Washtenaw County right now.”

Read: City of Ann Arbor: All city facilities to require face masks indoors starting Monday

“The health department will not be issuing local public orders mandating masks, but will soon release recommendations for mask wearing in public indoor places for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals,” said Kim Comerzan MSN, RN, CNS, with the Monroe County Health Department. “The majority of folks will follow these recommendations, hopefully to help decrease further spread of the virus. "

More: Coronavirus news

“Throughout this pandemic, local health officers have stepped up and put in place necessary policies to protect the people in their jurisdictions,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “And I would encourage them to to continue to do what they’ve been doing throughout the pandemic.”

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.