The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, or MDHHS, will begin reporting COVID-19 case numbers at a new time with new metrics starting Tuesday, March 17, according to a department release.
In a daily web update at 2 p.m., the department will provide statewide numbers for cases in three divisions: cases and deaths broken down by county, cases by age range in 10-year increments and cases by sex.
“It is important to provide the public with accurate data regarding this outbreak,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, said in the release. “As the number of people tested has drastically increased in recent days, our team has transitioned the way it prioritizes and reports testing."
According to the release, as new counties have 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," the release said.
The department has also stopped reporting some of the numbers available online earlier in the outbreak in order to provide case counts as quickly and efficiently as possible.
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," the release said. "As the statewide response changes to meet current needs, there may be additional changes to numbers reported."
According to the release, as of 2 p.m. March 16, one additional individual tested positive for COVID-19. An adult female from Macomb County with a history of domestic travel. This brings the total state cases to 54. No additional announcements on case counts have been made yet.