Ingham County Health Officer says mask mandate helps keep school COVID outbreaks low

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MASON, Mich. (WLNS) – Right now in Ingham county, there are 43 students and staff with COVID. But in some parts of Michigan, that’s how many are infected in one school alone.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said the county is doing well keeping its numbers down.

“We’ve certainly had a few outbreaks. There aren’t many of them and most of them are very very small in number,” vail said.

Vail said the county’s low outbreak numbers are thanks to the mask mandate in schools. She said data backs that up.

A chart put out by the state shows schools with few mask rules have more cases. Those with mask requirements had fewer cases.

“There was a dramatic difference in what’s going on with cases in the 5-17-year-old or 5-18 year old range in counties that have masks versus counties that don’t,” Vail said.

While masks are required in Ingham county schools, vaccines are not. Vail says it’s hard to tell if that will ever change.

“I don’t know whether you’ll see a broad requirement for that vaccine as an entry requirement into school like we do for some of our other vaccines,” Vail said.

Vail said she knows kids have a smaller chance of getting seriously sick by COVID, but that masks still help them stay learning inside the classroom.

“Really what we’re seeing is a significant success in keeping kids in school,” said Vail.

The biggest school in Ingham County, Michigan state university, was not on that COVID outbreak list.

MSU had 594 cases since the beginning of August.

Vail said the university’s numbers are not near what they were last year, and in fact, they’re going down.

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