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State to begin reporting COVID-19 school outbreaks

Reports to come every Monday

MARQUETTE — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Monday began reporting outbreak information by school building.

Data on COVID-19 outbreaks is being collected from the 45 local health departments across the state weekly, according to the State Emergency Operations Center. A COVID-19 outbreak, in accordance with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, 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, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, in a statement. “Michigan schools are working hard to maintain a safe environment while also providing quality education.”

The information posted at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus at 3 p.m. each Monday will include K-12, college and university school names, addresses, numbers of cases and if the cases involved staff, students or both.

Michigan Tech University was named as a site with new school outbreaks on Monday, with three Greek housing sites and 600 MacInnes Drive in Houghton listed for a total of 28 students.

Michigan Tech also was listed for having ongoing school outbreaks, with two Greek housing sites and 1247 E. Siena Heights Drive listed for a total of 16 students.

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, might 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.

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