State officials announce a change in COVID-19 reporting as numbers increase


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – State officials confirmed 54,679 total coronavirus cases and 5,228 COVID-19 related deaths in Michigan. An increase of 314 cases and five deaths from yesterday.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released the number right around 3:00 p.m. today. Yesterday, the department confirmed 54,365 cases and 5,223 deaths.

The state data shows that the City of Detroit has 10,699 cases and 1,320 deaths, Wayne County has 9,072 cases and 1,039 deaths, and Oakland County has 8,215 cases and 955 deaths. The three areas have just over 51% of confirmed cases and just over 63% of deaths.

Locally, Ingham County has 696 cases and 25 deaths while Jackson County has 436 cases and 26 deaths.

On Saturday, MDHHS changed the way it reports data on COVID-19 testing in an effort to make the data more accurate and relevant as the state tries to expand testing.

The update separates the results into two different types of tests, serology and diagnostic. Serology or antibody testing can help determine whether someone has ever had COVID-19, while traditional viral diagnostic tests determine if someone has active disease.

“Accuracy and transparency are paramount as we continue to respond to this pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health.

The change in reporting does not affect the number of lab-confirmed cases but does lower the percentage of positive tests when serology testing became more common.

The positive tests from the beginning of the outbreak remain nearly the same, going from 14.2% to 14.3% positive tests.

On Friday, the state Department of Corrections finished testing all 38,000 prisoners for COVID-19 with help from the Michigan National Guard. More than 3,200 tested positive and about 18,300 were negative, with 16,500 test results pending. Sixty inmates have died of the disease.

State health officials update numbers on those who have recovered from coronavirus in Michigan every Saturday, although the website says as of May 22nd that the number of recoveries is 33,168 people. The state is hoping to provide anyone who needs a COVID-19 test, the ability to get one, find the nearest COVID-19 test site for you.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

The state is asking for COVID-19 volunteers with qualified medical training, experience, and health care professionals who can volunteer their expertise.

Also, Michigan residents can access confidential emotional support counseling 24/7 at no cost using the state’s COVID-19 hotline.

Michigan Stay Well counselors are available any time, day or night, by dialing the COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 and pressing 8 when prompted. Language translation is available for non-English speakers.

On May 22nd, Michigan’s stay-at-home order was extended through June 12th. A day after a judge ruled in favor of Governor Gretchen Whitmer in a lawsuit filed by the Republican-led Legislature, the Democratic governor also extended her coronavirus emergency declaration through June 19. Both the stay-at-home measure and state of emergency had been set to expire late next Thursday, though Whitmer said extensions were likely.

“While the data shows that we are making progress, we are not out of the woods yet. If we’re going to lower the chance of a second wave and continue to protect our neighbors and loved ones from the spread of this virus, we must continue to do our part by staying safer at home,” she said in a statement.

The governor, who has let construction, manufacturing, real estate, and landscaping restart, said thousands of people could die and hospitals will be overwhelmed “if we open too soon.”

Michigan had 22.7% unemployment in April, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday was second-highest behind only Nevada.

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