The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has extended its epidemic order on gatherings and masks through May 24.

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MDHHS said in a release,

Although progress has been made, it is crucial that Michiganders continue to mask up and socially distance as the state takes steps to get back to normal.

Under the order, children ages 2 to 4 are required to wear masks, especially in group settings like at child care or camps. It takes effect April 26, 2021. MDHHS says this  addresses the increase in cases among younger Michiganders and follows recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

Dr. Hossain Marandi, the president of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, tells Wood TV 8 he supports the decision,

“A child that is at home without the exposure to other children, has upwards of 12 episodes of colds or viral infections in a 12-month period, while children in daycare settings have one-and-a-half, almost two-times that because of that close contact."

Marandi tells Wood TV 8 he and his colleagues have seen an increase of younger people being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms.

“Historically, it’s effected the elderly population, it’s not as much pediatric. We have definitely seen a shift in that over the past month or so. We’ve seen an increased number of admissions to the hospital and children being seen in the emergency room with symptoms that are testing positive.”

As of Friday, April 16,  29.5% of Michigan residents 16 and older had been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and 44% had received at least a first dose.

"More than 5.5 million doses of the safe and effective COVID vaccines have been administered in Michigan, and we are well on our way to vaccinating at least 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and up,"said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS in a release, "However, I continue to be incredibly concerned about our state’s COVID-19 data. We are still very much fighting this pandemic and seeing concerning trends in new cases and hospitalizations. Michiganders need to be using every tool in our toolbox right now to get these cases and hospitalizations down. Just because something is open and legal does not mean you should be doing it. We all must continue doing what works to slow the spread of the disease by wearing masks, washing our hands, avoiding crowds and indoor gatherings, and making plans to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.”

The limits for gatherings and businesses remain in effect.

Under the order, residential gatherings are limited to:

Indoors: Up to 15 persons from 3 households

Outdoors: Up to 50 persons

Non-residential gatherings are limited to:

Indooors: Up to 25 people

Outdoors: Up to 300 people

Restaurants and bars:

50% capacity, 11p.m. curfew

Retail:

50% capacity

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