As of tomorrow, March 17, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will begin reporting COVID-19 case numbers at a new time with new metrics. In a daily web update at 2 p.m., the department will provide statewide numbers for:
The afternoon web update will include all information reported through midnight the previous day. As of 2 p.m. today, one additional individual tested positive for COVID-19, an adult female from Macomb County with history of domestic travel. No additional announcements on case counts will be made tonight.
“It is important to provide the public with accurate data regarding this outbreak,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “As the number of people tested has drastically increased in recent days, our team has transitioned the way it prioritizes and reports testing.”
As new counties get cases of COVID-19 and more labs begin testing for the virus, the epidemiologists who track statewide data are gathering and analyzing information from many sources. They must work closely with local health departments and labs to make sure statewide data is accurate and complete.
Health care providers, local health departments or others may publicly announce cases or deaths before they are included in the statewide count. Local public health departments are a great source of information and may report more details on specific cases than the state.
In order to provide case counts as quickly and efficiently as possible, the department has also stopped reporting some of the numbers available online earlier in the outbreak. MDHHS will no longer report the number of persons under investigation, tests pending, referred for assessment and/or monitoring to date and total assessment and/or monitoring referrals under active monitoring.
Those public health resources will be redirected to case investigation and management. Local public health officials will continue tracing close contacts of new cases as part of their case investigation process.
Providing accurate and timely public information in a rapidly changing situation is a top priority for health officials. As the statewide response changes to meet current needs, there may be additional changes to numbers reported.
Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.