1 student or 46? Michigan school claims error in reporting COVID-19 outbreak

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When the Michigan State Department of Health released its weekly COVID outbreak report on Monday, March 14, one such outbreak stood out among the seven clusters associated with the school.

The report says 46 students tested positive for coronavirus the previous week at Meadowbrook Elementary School in Rochester Hills – which accounted for 60% of the 77 students and staff linked to school outbreaks that week.

However, Rochester Community Schools has since removed that total, saying it was erroneously reported to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Instead, a district spokesperson said there was only one school-associated COVID case identified during the week of March 6-12 — not 46.

“It was just human error in capturing the information,” Lori Grein, the district’s executive director of strategic communications, told MLive Wednesday morning, March 16. She added that the elementary school had reported 51 COVID cases associated with the school since the start. of the academic year.

Because the minimum threshold for a school-associated COVID outbreak is three cases, Meadowbrook no longer appears on the statement. online outbreak report.

The Oakland County Health Department was caught off guard when it saw reports of the large outbreak at one of its schools. A spokesperson said the local health department contacted the school to ask about the outbreak, though it’s unclear whether the error was reported to the state before or after that call. .

Schools across the state are responsible for reporting their cases of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases directly to the state health department. Local health departments can track this information, but do not act as intermediaries in the process.

Until recently, schools were required to not only report their COVID cases to the state, but to notify students, parents, and staff when a school-associated case was discovered. On Friday, March 11, MDHHS relaxed the community notification requirement, although it still recommends public notification.

Weekly reports of Michigan’s COVID outbreaks have declined in recent weeks as the latest surge continues to subside. State health officials say Michigan is in the post-surge recovery phase of the COVID cycle, allowing some public health guidelines to be relaxed.

The latest seven-day averages are 704 cases and 44 deaths per day. Those numbers, along with test positivity rates and hospitalizations, continue to improve.

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