COVID-19 Update: MDHHS begins posting school outbreak information

LANSING — In an effort to provide accurate and timely information about COVID-19 in Michigan schools, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has begun reporting outbreak information by school building.

Data on COVID-19 outbreaks is being collected from the 45 local health departments across the state weekly. A COVID-19 outbreak is defined as two or more cases with a link by place and time indicating a shared exposure outside of a household.

“Parents and students should know that if their school is listed, their local health department and school are already investigating. Based on that investigation, people are contacted individually if they were possibly exposed to COVID-19 at school,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Michigan schools are working hard to maintain a safe environment while also providing quality education.”

The information being posted on the website, which started Monday, and will be updated each Monday at 3 p.m., will include K-12, college and university school name, address, number of cases and if the cases involved staff, students or both. Students or staff exposed to COVID-19 outside the school building and are not thought to have spread the virus in the school due to quarantine or self-isolation are not included in the data.

Many factors, including the lack of ability to conduct effective contact tracing in certain settings, may result in underreporting of outbreaks. This information does not provide a complete picture of school outbreaks in Michigan and the absence of identified outbreaks in a school does not mean it is not experiencing an outbreak, officials said.

Currently, no outbreaks meeting MDHHS guidelines have been reported at schools within Leader Publications’ coverage area.

Statewide, Michigan reported 111,524 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 6,591 deaths, as of Monday. Berrien County reported 1,541 cases and 72 deaths. Cass County reported 431 cases and 16 deaths, while Van Buren County reported 619 cases and 15 deaths.

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