COVID precautions recommended for upcoming fall season

With the fall season approaching, more people will be staying indoors, and kids will be returning to school. Area health departments are recommending Mid-Michigan residents use caution during the upcoming flu season for COVID-19. 

“With COVID, it’s something that we’re going to be living with,” Huron County Health Officer Tip MacGuire said. “Just like the flu and (respiratory syncytial virus). We’re coming into school and going back into the fall with people starting to return indoors. It is anticipated that you’re probably going to see an uptick in cases.”

With this being the fourth fall season with COVID-19 as a part of life, MacGuire as well as health officials from both Tuscola and Bay counties say that the new normal is to treat COVID-19 as part of the flu season. The recommendation is for people to still stay home if they are feeling unwell, with five days of remaining isolated at home if one tests positive and then to wear a mask for an additional five days.

“We are still following the same guidelines,” said Donald Derryberry, emergency preparedness officer for the Tuscola County Health Department. “If you are sick, stay home, wash your hands effectively and wear a mask if you are able to and need to.”

As far as cases go, Bay County Health Officer Joel Strasz said, there has been an increase in cases for Bay County as well as across the country, and he expects to see that number rise as kids head back to school and people spend more time indoors. 

“COVID and other viruses tend to start off earlier in the summer amongst hotter climates in the country,” Strasz said. “This is primarily caused by air persons seeking refuge in air-conditioned environments because of heat and humidity, which occurs at higher levels than it does say, in northern climates like Michigan during the summer.

“In the winter in northern climates, it has the opposite effect, as people tend to be enclosed in houses and buildings, especially without the benefit of additional ventilation.”

He also noted that Bay County has a large senior population who are more at risk than non-seniors.

According to, Bay and Tuscola county seniors make up an estimated 21.9% of the population of each county, with Huron County’s senior population making up an estimated 27.1% of its population. That could add to the rise in cases for the three counties

“We expect with schools opening this week that we will see increases, and in time, heightened viral activity,” Stasz said.

Huron and Tuscola counties both could see an increase as well, as they are affected by the same factors of kids going back to school, less time spent outdoors and a sizable senior population. 

“They’re not tracking cases like they used to,” MacGuire said. “To have concrete data is much harder than it used to be in the past. But our cases have been pretty stable, usually less than 10, unless we get a spike at a congregate setting at a nursing home or something like that where they are actually testing.”

MacGuire went on to add for Huron County there haven’t been any spikes recently. He did add that there will be upcoming vaccination clinics popping up around the area soon where the Huron County Health Department will offer flu vaccines as well as COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.

For more information contact your specific health department below:

• Bay County Health Department is located at 1200 Washington Ave. in Bay City and can be reached by calling 989-895-4009. Find the health department online at

• Huron County Health Department is located at 1142 S. Van Dyke Road in Bad Axe and can be reached by calling 989-269-9721. Find the health department online at

• Tuscola County Health Department is located at 1309 Cleaver Road Suite B in Caro and can be reached by calling 989-673-8114. Find the health department online at


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