COVID-19

There are 22 COVID outbreaks at Michigan schools

The state's dashboard shows outbreaks by region without more specifics. Also, the data may be out-of-date.

There are 11 K-12 schools in Michigan experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19. Another 11 colleges and universities are experiencing outbreaks.

An outbreak is defined as two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 “with a link by place and time indicating a shared exposure outside of a household.”

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However, that data is problematic because it is:

  • non-specific – the outbreaks are listed by region and individual schools are not identified
  • out-of-date – the current data is dated September 3, almost a week ago

The data comes from the state’s own COVID-19 outbreak dashboard, which lists outbreaks across a range of locations from restaurants to prisons. The webpage indicates the state will update outbreak data once per week. That gives an outbreak plenty of time before members of the public are made aware of it.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said during a radio interview on WJR-AM Friday that she wants more up-to-date reports.

“We are working to make sure we [get] more real-time reporting and greater ability for parents and community members to see what’s happening locally,” she said, according to Bridge Michigan.

But real-time data is difficult to maintain, especially when data is reported only once per week.

Michigan will be getting more specifics soon.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has announced it would begin identifying individual K-12 schools where outbreaks have occurred. That reporting is expected to begin next week.

However, the identification of individual school-based outbreaks will not extend to colleges and universities. That is despite the fact that COVID-19 numbers are surging on campuses across the state as schools resume in-person classes.

There are more than 1,000 current cases of the coronavirus on college campuses in the state, according to Bridge Michigan. That includes 394 at Grand Valley State University, 253 at Central Michigan University, and 200 at Adrian College. Western Michigan University has reported 37 cases as of Friday.

Some higher education institutions are supplementing state data with their own. WMU has begun reporting weekly COVID-19 data on its website, thought it too only reports once per week.

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