Oakland and Washtenaw County school mask orders lift Feb. 28

School mask mandates in two of Michigan's most populated counties will expire Monday, following orders from respective health departments weeks ago. 

Both Oakland and Washtenaw County lifted an order in early February that required schools enforce masking among students, teachers, and staff while indoors. Those orders will rescind on Feb. 28. Wayne County lifted its mask mandate immediately following an announcement on Feb. 17.

It's the latest policy decision that indicates the pandemic's severity from the omicron surge during late 2021 was wavering. Daily COVID-19 case and death counts have dropped off in dramatic fashion in recent weeks.

It's not just local and state officials responding to the declining spread. The federal government updated its mask guidelines Friday that advised most places where most healthy Americans live no longer need to wear face coverings. 

RELATED: Ann Arbor schools plan to keep mask mandate - despite Washtenaw County lifting it

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new recommendations covers about 70% of the U.S. population. It includes people in counties where COVID is posing a low or medium threat to hospitals. However, it still advises that people, including school children, continue wearing masks in places where the risk is high. 

Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Oakland counties were all medium threat level, according to the CDC's interactive map.

The only Southeast Michigan county that had a "high risk" designation was St. Clair County. 

"As we see our critical measures of vaccinations, hospital admissions, and cases moving in a direction that tell us the COVID-19 impact on our community is greatly improving, the time is right to remove the mask order for daycares and educational institutions," Oakland County Health Division Medical Director Dr. Russell Faust said in an earlier release. "We must remain vigilant, however, while we remain in a pandemic. It is vital that we as individuals maintain the measures that are critical to limiting the spread of the virus while allowing businesses and schools to stay open, and our hospitals to operate safely."

The two-week notice given by county health departments was made so that school districts would have enough time to adapt to the coming changes. 

MORE: 73% of Americans immune from omicron, study finds

The most up-to-date numbers of COVID-19 in Michigan report an 8.1% test positivity rate. Hospitalizations have fallen by more than 50% over the past month. Approximately 66% of the state's eligible population has received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne County - not including Detroit - have all reached the state's 70% threshold for vaccine coverage, the state's dashboard shows. The city of Detroit continues to lag behind those rates, reaching only 48.5% of the population.