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Stateside Podcast: Michigan relaxes COVID guidelines

different types of face masks laying on a table
The state of Michigan is relaxing its guidance on mask in indoor spaces as COVID-19 cases decline.

The state recently made some major changes to its COVID-19 guidelines around masking and social distancing. Health officials say Michigan is now in what they call a "recovery" phase, and that's changing what the state is recommending folks do to stay healthy and safe. They aren't pushing universal masking indoors, for one.

But, said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, that could change. The state's chief medical executive said that the new rules were informed by steadily dropping case numbers and reduced strain on the health care system. She said, currently, fewer than 6.5% of hospital beds in the state are filled with COVID patients.

Bagdasarian cautioned that Michigan residents should be prepared for new surges and new variants of COVID-19. But, she also noted that the recommendations the state makes during a new surge will probably look different than they have at other points during the pandemic.

"As we move through the pandemic, I think it will become more about local hotspots and local conditions, rather than everything being the same homogenous situation across the state," Bagdasarian explained.

She said that the tools we have at this point in the pandemic mean that one-size-fits-all guidance on masking and social distancing for the whole state doesn't necessarily make sense.

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Music byBlue Dot Sessions.

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April Van Buren is a producer for <i>Stateside</i>. She produces interviews for air as well as web and social media content for the show.