Whitmer: daycare centers, camps should have kids wear masks

CADILLAC — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday issued an Executive Order requiring masks to be worn at daycare centers and camps.

The order follows COVID-19 outbreaks at such facilities, including one in the Cadillac News coverage area. Manton Christian Camp was linked to an outbreak after campers from the Detroit-area Teens for Christ got sick after renting out the campground the weekend of July 20.

“Child-care workers have been on the front lines of this crisis and have worked tirelessly to provide a safe place for our children and families during this time. COVID-19 is still a very real threat to Michiganders of all ages, and we must continue to stay vigilant and use every tool at our disposal to protect ourselves and each other,‘ Gov. Whitmer said. “I am committed to doing everything in my power to protect people of all ages from COVID-19. By masking up, we can all be a part of the solution to further prevent the spread of the virus and save lives.‘

The order is not quite an order here in Northern Michigan, which is in Phase 5 of the governor's re-opening plan.

Still, Whitmer's administration is recommending that childcare centers and camps require mask usage in Northern Michigan.

"If a child-care center is located in a region in Phase 5 of the MI Safe Start Plan, face coverings are not required, but are still strongly recommended. Furthermore, face coverings are not required for any child who cannot medically tolerate it, during meal time, while swimming, during high-intensity activities, outside while physically distanced, or if a child is under the age of 2," the governor's office said.

Thursday also brought a tougher stance for facilities that care for older adults.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office announced that the office "is ramping up efforts to enforce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order that provides rules and procedures those facilities must follow to protect the health of their employees and residents."

"Among other requirements under the executive order, long-term care facilities must cancel communal dining and group activities, implement disinfection and sanitation regimens, provide personal protective equipment to employees, inform employees of a COVID-19-positive patient, and report presumed positive cases and additional data to their local health departments and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)," the AG's office said. 

Executive orders also provide protections for long-term care facility residents who might otherwise be evicted due to nonpayment during the pandemic.

Both Wexford and Osceola counties each had new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. Wexford County hit 60 cases for the first time, while Osceola County was at 63 cases. Missaukee County remained at 27 cases and Lake County was at 18 cases. 

Statewide cases reached 85,429 on Thursday. There have been 6,247 COVID-19 deaths in Michigan; five have been in the Cadillac News coverage area. More than two-thirds of the people to test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 have recovered, according to state data, about 60,022 as of last week.

Cadillac News