Tuscola Co. Health Department recommending masks in public

The Tuscola County Health Department is recommending residents wear a mask when in public settings as the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate is increasing.
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 10:29 AM EDT
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TUSCOLA CO., Mich. (WNEM) - The Tuscola County Health Department is recommending residents wear a mask when in public settings as the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate is increasing.

“We’re recommending that everybody wears a mask in the public setting and to keep their distance, and obviously, if they’re able and willing, to get the vaccination,” said Amanda Ertman, health officer for the Tuscola County Health Department.

Tuscola County has seen a 22 percent increase in its COVID-19 positivity rate throughout the community during the past weeks, the county health department said.

“We have 100 probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 right now in our county,” Ertman said.

She said requests for COVID-19 tests are up and covid hospitalizations have increased slightly.

“So far, what we’re seeing a lot is people got flu-like symptoms or they’re assuming that it’s sinus infections. And they’re going into their primary care doctors and they’re finding out that they are actually testing positive for covid,” Ertman said.

The county health department is also strongly recommending social distancing. Higher-quality masks, such as N95, KN95 or snug-fitting surgical masks, are recommended by the TCHD.

Vaccines are still the best protection against severe illness and death from COVID-19, the TCHD said, adding they offer free vaccinations.

“I want to educate our community that yes, the numbers are high. And I want them to be vigilant. My message to them is to be alert and to stay alive,” Ertman said.

Health officials are advising people to stay home if they feel sick and get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible.

At this time, there has been no change in guidance for health care, long-term care, corrections and other high-risk settings. These entities should continue to follow the existing guidance.

Vassar Theater co-owner Andreas Fuchs likes the way the Tuscola County Health Department is responding to a rising COVID-19 case count.

“I think it is important that our institutions keep watching out for us and checking data,” Fuchs said.

Fuchs said the key word here is recommendation.

“People have the option, people know the facts, it is a recommended safety measure. And people can make decisions on how they want to respond to those recommendations,” Fuchs said.

TV5 also spoke with residents in Caro to get their thoughts on the recommendations.

“If the shots work, why do we need masks? If the masks work, why do we need shots? But since neither one of them work who needs either?” a resident said.

“If we need masks, then we need masks,” another resident said.

“Why would we wear masks? We’re already vaccinated. It was supposed to work remember?” a third resident said.

For his part, Fuchs is not worried about the recommendations hurting business. He said safety protocols here have remained in place all along.

Fuchs said his customers appreciate that.

“They enjoy coming to the movies and I’m sure they will keep on coming as long as we do what we can to keep everybody safe,” Fuchs said.