Health Department statement regarding epidemic orders | News, Sports, Jobs

HANCOCK – The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) has released the following statement regarding Epidemic Orders issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

The mission of the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department is to lead the community toward better health through education, advocacy, and disease prevention. To achieve this mission, the health department works to prolong life and promote community health through control of environmental health hazards and attention to the health needs of vulnerable population groups. The community we serve consists of five counties encompassing almost 70,000 lives and thousands of local businesses. We hold the protection of our community’s health as our highest priority.

Epidemic Orders issued by the MDHHS are based upon the best advice available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All local public health departments in Michigan are bound to uphold these state issued orders in accordance with the Public Health Code. Public health measures like emergency orders are intended to protect lives and ensure positive outcomes, reduce infection, and control diseases like COVID-19. Purposefully failing to enforce an order of the MDHHS or declining to do so for any reason would be a violation of a local public health department’s duties and obligations under the code.

The current MDHHS Epidemic Order closes indoor dining in restaurants, but not the restaurant itself. While we cannot comment on the specifics of individual enforcement action, we can comment on the process itself. Since March, the WUPHD has conducted countless educational outreach activities with local businesses, including restaurants, encouraging voluntary compliance, which the majority of businesses have done. Follow-up has been done on hundreds of consumer complaints, where again education and voluntary compliance is encouraged. Enforcement is the final step after educational opportunities are exhausted and properly issued warnings are ignored.

WUPHD would like to thank and applaud our local businesses that are doing the right thing and voluntarily complying with the MDHHS Epidemic Orders to actively protect their customers and fellow citizens. One individual or one agency alone cannot protect our community, it takes all of us working together.

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