SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (FOX 2) - The COVID-19 pandemic isn't over yet and, once again, the three most populated counties in the state are listed by the CDC as high risk of transmission.
The Centers for Disease Control updating its map which identifies several counties in Southeast Michigan including Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb County as being high risk for COVID transmission. According to CDC officials, the low, medium, or high-risk levels are determined by looking at the number of hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.
Beaumont's Internal Medicine Physician Dr. Justin Skrzynski said the latest variant is causing more problems and this is the beginning of the surge.
"What’s driving this is the BA.5 variant," he said. "Places like the White House, for instance, have already issued warnings - anticipating big surges of Covid patients on a national scale."
By being moved to high-risk, it's advised to wear a mask indoors in public places.
This couldn't come at a worse time as school districts prepare to welcome students back to the classroom.
"There will be no masking requirement coming from Oakland County Health Division," said Oakland County Public Information Officer Bill Mullan.
Instead, the county will leave the determination of what's best for each community to school leaders.
"We have frequent discussions with school superintendents, and it’s up to each district, at this point, to determine what is in the best interest of its students, teachers staff," Mullan said.
Dr. Skrzynski said the best thing to do is to wear a mask and get the vaccine or booster to prevent surges that could overpower healthcare.
"Masking is always a good idea especially when it's not required. Especially in a dense environment," he said. "We’ve lost a tremendous number of healthcare workers who have quit because, frankly, the work is very, very difficult. It's very traumatizing to do," Dr. Skrzynski said.
If cases continue to rise, some medical professionals believe it might be time to look once again at having public health mandates that require certain actions like masking.
"In order to keep us working we can't be taken for granted and we need community measures to prevent these cases from reaching the hospital," Dr. Skrzynski said.