LAKE COUNTY -- To help ensure the only thing scary about Halloween is the costumes, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidance on how to safely celebrate the holiday during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The way we celebrate Halloween in Michigan will be different this year due to COVID-19," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. "However, there are still many ways to celebrate safely. The guidance MDHHS issued today provides tips for trick-or-treaters and their parents along with homeowners who wish to hand out treats."

Tips for all groups include staying home if you are sick; maintaining social distancing of at least six feet; wearing a cloth mask that covers both the mouth and nose; and washing hands often or frequently using hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol.

In addition to the MDHHS guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued recommendations this week.

The CDC considers trick-or-treating a high-risk activity and offers alternative activities to consider, as well as safety tips if parents and children choose to trick-or-treat.

Tips for trick-or-treaters and parents:

• Share with your children that this year may be different than last but let them know some of the new ways you plan to celebrate and still have lots of fun.

• Talk with children about safety and social distancing guidelines and expectations. Keep a six-foot distance from others not in your group.

• Participate in one-way trick-or-treating and guide children to stay to the right to ensure social distancing.

• Trick or treat with people you live with.

• Avoid congregating in groups around houses.

• Wear a face mask covering both mouth and nose. A costume mask, such as for Halloween, is not a substitute for a cloth mask.

• Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask if wearing both causes difficulty breathing. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.

• Only go to houses with safety measures in place.

Check out halloween2020.org to find exciting activities and ways to celebrate Halloween this year based on levels of COVID risks in your area.

Tips for homeowners:

• Use duct tape to mark six-foot lines in front of home and leading to driveway/front door.

• Position a distribution table between yourself and trick-or-treaters.

• Distribute candy on a disinfected table to eliminate direct contact.

• Consider handing out candy in an open space where distancing is possible, rather than from the front door.

• Consider a neighborhood costume parade; it is an easy way to keep safe space between children.

The guidance also urges Michiganders to consider hosting virtual parties instead of in-person Halloween gatherings. If a gathering is hosted, it should be limited to 10 people or less per Executive Order 2020-176, social distancing should be maintained, cloth masks should be worn and food and party favors should be set out individually to prevent cross contamination.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Lake County COVID-19 Update:

DHD No. 10 reports 35 confirmed positive cases in Lake County as of Oct. 1, with 28 recovered and no deaths.

Numbers for the surrounding counties are: Crawford County -- 117; Kalkaska County -- 74; Manistee County -- 76; Mason County -- 120; Mecosta County -- 221; Missaukee County -- 51; Newaygo County -- 379; Oceana County -- 498; Wexford County -- 115.

A COVID-19 school outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases among students or staff of the same school building with onset of symptoms within a 14 day period.

These cases are found to be linked to the same setting, during the same time period (e.g., same classroom, school event, school-based extracurricular activity, school transportation), but do not share a household, and were not identified as close contacts in any other setting other than school.

If you are concerned that you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 remember, MDHHS and the CDC define a close contact as being within 6 feet of a positive case for at least 15 minutes, cumulative, not at one time.

Some examples would be:

• An individual who provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.

• An individual who had direct physical contact with the person (touched, hugged, or kissed them).

• An individual who shared eating or drinking utensils.

• An individual who was sneezed or coughed on by an infected individual or who somehow was touched by respiratory droplets from an infected individual.

If you have had no close contact with a confirmed case, then you do not need to quarantine. If you were in close contact with a confirmed positive case, you should get tested and self quarantine.

For more information and updates, visit dhd10.org.

Health and wellness:

District Health Department No.10 is holding a flu clinic at Duane E. Dewey AMVETS, located at 1959 W. 24th Street, Baldwin, from 9 a.m. to noon, Oct. 9, 16, 23, and 30.

The CDC has stated that getting the flu shot is more important than ever this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the CDC website, flu vaccination will be very important to reduce flu because it can help reduce the overall impact of respiratory illnesses on the population and thus lessen the resulting burden on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information call (231) 745-4663.