News Story

Northern Lower Peninsula Health District Imposes School Mask Mandate

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan issued a school mask mandate on Aug. 27.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan serves Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties. The state of Michigan's Traverse City region that the Health Department of Northwest Michigan is included has 17 northern Michigan counties. 

The Aug. 27 order states, “In addition, local hospital authorities have reported a dangerous strain on capacity including limited ICU beds, extremely long wait times in Emergency Departments, resulting in the need to intermittently divert patients to hospitals out of the area which also puts strain on local EMS capacity.”

An average of 1.6% of emergency room visits in that state of Michigan region were patients with COVID symptoms over the seven days from Aug. 21 to 27, according to the state of Michigan.

In the state's Traverse City region, 122 of the 174 ICU beds were occupied (70%), but many were not COVID cases. There were 57 confirmed adult COVID hospitalizations as of Aug. 30 but no confirmed child COVID hospitalizations, according to state-released survey of local hospitals.

The McLaren Northern Michigan hospital in Petoskey had nine patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and 49% bed occupancy. Munson Healthcare Charlevoix hospital had three patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and 64% bed occupancy.

The Munson Healthcare system is the largest hospital provider in the state's Traverse City region. Its five hospitals there had a combined 41 patients hospitalized with COVID. The five hospitals bed occupancy rate as of Aug. 30 was 59% (Cadillac), 64% (Charlevoix), 51% (Grayling), 31% (Manistee) and 72% (Traverse City).

Editor's note: This story was altered to clarify the counties impacted by the Health Department of Northwest Michigan school mask mandate.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.