Saturday, January 28

West Michigan healthcare experts explain how the latest CDC guidelines affect the community

Social distancing is now recommended to be done as needed based on individual health risk and community transmission level.

MICHIGAN, USA — The CDC released updated recommendations Thursday afternoon on how to protect yourself from COVID-19. These relaxed guidelines changes procedures for social distancing and quarantining. 

West Michigan healthcare experts are predicting a surge in cases this fall and winter, and they’re hopeful that the level of severe illness and death remains low as these new guidelines are adopted.          

“COVID is still complicating a lot of people’s lives. It’s just not at the rates as it was two years ago,” Dr. Brandon Francis, Chief Medical Officer at Trinity Health St. Mary’s Grand Rapids, says. 

Kent and Muskegon counties currently sit at a medium level transmission rate for COVID-19.

“But you’re not seeing the same hospital peaks in terms of hospitalizations, ICU admissions, ventilator management, and death,” Dr. Francis says. 

That’s why the CDC is coming out with new guidance. 

“Some people get nervous when recommendations change. But that’s what you want to happen. That’s what should happen. Recommendation should change when the situation changes,” he says.

Those who are unvaccinated no longer need to quarantine if exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are not infected. Like someone who is vaccinated, they need to wear a mask for ten days and test on day five.

“They can continue going to work, going shopping, things like that. But just be careful about other people,” Ottawa County Department of Public Health Deputy Health Administrator Marcia Mansaray says. “If you know someone is high risk, maybe don’t go around them right at that time.”

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The CDC says testing requirements to screen for COVID-19 can go, in schools and some workplaces. Social distancing is now recommended to be done as needed based on individual health risk and community transmission level.

“In the beginning, it was absolutely key, we had very few tools in our toolbox,” Mansaray says.

She says that adding treatments and vaccinations was key to getting to this point in the pandemic. 

“Right now, they’re not saying don’t socially distance, or don’t quarantine, or don’t wear a mask,” Mansaray says. “What they’re saying is use the tools that you have, and add them in as needed based on your risk, or the risk in your community.”

The new guidance also limits contact tracing to hospitals and certain high-risk group living situations. If your symptoms come back after your isolation period ends, regardless of vaccination status, the CDC now recommends you restart your isolation period. 

A spokesperon with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement to 13 ON YOUR SIDE regarding the updated guidance:

“The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing the guidance from the CDC and will share any updates to our guidance after the review is complete. We recommend residents of Michigan stay up-to-date on vaccines and stay home if they are not feeling well. Follow local guidance as some communities may be at higher-risk of COVID-19 transmission. Michigan residents should continue to pay attention to the CDC transmission levels and make personal decisions regarding mitigation strategies accordingly. For the most up-to-date information, visit”

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