LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Dr. John Brooks of McLaren Health said a lot has changed across the state when compared to the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brooks said that’s why McLaren and other health officials believe it’s time to adjust and reflect that progress.

It’s been three years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a time many health officials say was full of uncertainty and tragedy, but now, according to the Director of the Infection Prevention Division of McLaren Health, things are looking up.

“We look at the number of patients in hospital, which is very very low, the number of patients that are critically ill with it which is also very low. Almost nobody has anybody in an ICU bed throughout any of the states in that this stage in the game. We’re just not having the same disease that we used to have,” Dr. Brooks said.

Because of this, Brooks said that McLaren along with 12 other health systems in the state have decided to ease their mask requirements in most areas inside patient care facilities.

“There’s been a very large appetite for everybody to do this and to move ahead which is why it was pretty easy for the hospitals to get together and align this,” he said.

Brooks said a lot has changed when it comes to treating COVID-19.

“We’ve learned how to take care of people, number one in the hospital we changed what we did. We learned about certain medications especially in the beginning to try to help,” Dr. Brooks said. “We came up with vaccines and that changed the game with covid because vaccinated persons are rarely hospitalized or rarely die.”

The masks aren’t going away completely as health officials say they are still required in certain critical care units and areas where people with compromised immune systems reside.

“We’re still providing masks to everybody when they walk into a facility whether its an office of the hospitals. If somebody has covid or other respiratory illnesses we’re still going to do our masking like we did before. We’re hoping that as we normalize people will come and get care,” Dr. Brooks said.

McLaren, Henry Ford and Sparrow hospitals, among others, will continue to provide masks and hand sanitizer at entrances.

Patients can also ask hospital staff to wear masks to make them feel more comfortable during their treatment.