Central Michigan District Health Department Issues Public Health Emergency Order

Restricting Gatherings in Union Township and the City of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

Outdoor social gatherings or events now limited to no more than 25 people.

Central Michigan District Health Department is issuing a public health emergency order to limit the size of social gatherings or events within Union Township and the City of Mt. Pleasant. No more than 25 people may gather at outdoor events. The local order enhances existing state orders and further restricts social gatherings in areas at increased risk for COVID-19 outbreaks since the student population returned to the local community. The order takes effect on August 24, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. and will remain in effect until amended or rescinded.

“We have seen a large increase in cases since students returned to the Mt. Pleasant area. Our investigations have shown that the majority of these cases had attended large social gatherings. Restrictions on the size of outdoor gatherings, along with other preventive measures will help us reduce the spread of this virus” said Steve Hall, R.S., M.S, health officer for the Central Michigan District Health Department.

The local order reduces the size of allowable outdoor social gatherings from 100 down to 25. Indoor gatherings remain limited to 10 or fewer people not of the same household, as per Michigan Executive Order 2020-160. At any gathering or event, inside or out, individuals not living in the same household should keep a minimum of 6 feet distance from one another.

Face coverings continue to be required in public indoor settings and any crowded outdoor settings under Executive Order 2020-153.

Isabella County has reported a total of 297 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date. County data shows that in the third week of August there was a 350% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases compared to the previous week. During that week, 92% of reported cases were among those 18 to 24-years-old. This is compared to the first 2 weeks of August in which 39% of cases were among this age group. With thousands of students returning to Central Michigan University in Isabella County, many from states with high rates of COVID-19, living in congregate settings, and traditionally disposed toward socializing in large groups, further restrictions need to be put in place to prevent outbreaks related to large social gatherings and organized events. Large social gatherings have demonstrated an increased public health risk with potential for further outbreak, including super-spreading events.

“We wholeheartedly support the Central Michigan District Health Officer’s order further limiting outdoor gatherings to protect our community from the spread of COVID 19,” says Nancy Ridley, Mt. Pleasant City Manager. “These are not normal times and it takes all of us working together to mitigate the spread of this virus. This includes the consistent wearing of face masks and changes in how we interact and gather. Putting these safety measures in place increase the chances of our schools and businesses staying open, as well as protecting all of our residents, our community’s visitors, and our valued frontline workers.”

“Union Township supports the Central Michigan District Health Department’s Health Officer’s social gathering limitation 100% and thank him for his leadership,” says Union Township Manager Mark Stuhldreher. “Whether permanent residents, students, or visitors to our community we all are the key to slowing the spread of COVID-19. If we all follow the guidance of our public health officials, we can keep ourselves, first responders, and our neighbors as safe as possible. It’s up to each of us to do our part.”

State law provides local health officers with the authority to issue orders to protect the public health under Section 2453 of the Public Health Code (MCL 333.2453). Those who disregard the order could be subject to a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months and/or a fine of up to $200.

You can read the order here: https://b7415fe4-3f8d-4ed9-b594-7f18ad7f0403.filesusr.com/…

To reduce the spread of illness in our community, the Health Department recommends wearing a face covering, maintaining a minimum of 6 feet distance from others not in your household and washing your hands frequently. Testing is recommended for anyone reporting to work in person, with known exposure or with any mild or unusual symptoms. Symptoms may take up to 14 days after exposure to appear, and individuals are considered contagious two days before symptoms appear.

The number of local cases, guidance for employers, prevention information, testing options and more are available at https://www.cmdhd.org/novel-coronavirus. Health Department staff are also available to answer questions. CMDHD has established a Coronavirus Message Center line at 989-773-5921 extension 1444. Leave your name, phone number, county of residence, and a brief message. Staff will return calls as soon as possible.

This article has been brought to you by Central Michigan District Health Department, which serves the counties of Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola and Roscommon. Visit our website at http://www.cmdhd.org, LIKE Central Michigan District Health Department on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @CMiDHD.