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MDHHS to begin posting COVID-19 outbreaks in schools

Data on COVID-19 outbreaks is being collected from the 45 local health departments across the state weekly.
Back to School & Beyond: COVID-19 in Michigan schools.
Back to School & Beyond: COVID-19 in Michigan schools.(WLUC/MGN)
Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 3:06 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC/Press Release) - In an effort to provide accurate and timely information about COVID-19 in Michigan schools, Monday the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will begin 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 today and 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 under-reporting 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.

Wearing a mask that covers the mouth and nose, social distancing (maintaining a distance of 6 feet apart), frequent hand washing (using soap for 20 seconds or hand sanitizer) and following capacity restrictions of social gatherings are some of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Michiganders who are sick or have symptoms can get tested at numerous testing sites across the state.

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

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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