Examining efforts to stay vigilant about COVID-19 as mask mandates end

Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 19:25:26-05

(WXYZ) — In today's 7 UpFront we're looking at efforts to keep vigilant about COVID-19, even as public health matters like mask mandates are relaxed.

Joining us to talk about it is Dr. Avani Sheth, Wayne County’s Chief Medical and Health Officer.

You can see the full interview in the video player above.

"There were several factors that we considered when we decided to lift the school masking order in out-Wayne County, so basically Wayne County not including the City of Detroit, we are seeing important measures of how well we are controlling the spread of COVID-19, including cases and hospitalizations and our vaccination rates all headed in the right direction," Sheth says. "In out Wayne County, we've seen a sharp decline in case rates. Our 7-day case rate has dropped 90% from its peak with the omicron surge and this is lower than the state rate and this is putting us at levels we haven't seen since September. Our percent of tests that are coming back positive has also dropped significantly. We're at 9% and this is a 26 point drop from its peak. Our COVID hospitalizations in our region, which is really an important measure of how much severe illness that we're seeing has dropped 65% for our peak. And our hospital capacity, which is very important, especially in this last surge where we just saw so many very large number of people just getting infected and we wanted to make sure that hospitals are able to operate safely, that also has stabilized. And in out Wayne County, we're encouraged by our vaccination rates. Those that have received at least one dose, we're at 73%, 67% are fully vaccinated. And both of those rates are better than the state rates. So all of these numbers together, we're headed in the right direction, and, more importantly, what we have now is a safe and effective vaccine for all those that are five and up. So all these factors together supported the decision to lift the mask requirement. And I want to be clear that masking continues to be recommended. We know that they are very effective tools, and it will be very important that we continue to support of children and families that want that extra layer of protection and who are at higher risk themselves, or their household risk is higher for severe illness or based on their vaccination status."