Community spread forcing changes to COVID-19 contact tracing in Michigan

Spread forcing local health departments to change tactics

Community spread forcing changes to COVID-19 contact tracing

DETROIT – With COVID-19 affecting long-term care facilities in the spring, the City of Detroit Health Department is gearing up for testing this week.

“We’re going to support nursing homes with onsite COVID-19 testing at all of the nursing homes over the next two weeks,” said Detroit Health Department Director Denise Fair. “Starting tomorrow (Tuesday), we’re going to test both patients and staff.”

Detroit is in better shape when it comes to COVID-19 positive rates than its neighboring counties.

The community spread of the virus has forced health departments across the state to change tactics.

READ: Michigan health director explains need for expanded COVID-19 restrictions

READ: Gov. Whitmer hopes Michiganders ‘double down so we can avoid a stay-home order’

READ: Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan gives update on where city stands in fight against COVID-19

In Ingham County, which is home to both the state capital and Michigan State University, contact tracing all cases is no longer feasible. This means the health department will focus on cases affecting groups like students and those over 65 years old.

“There are far more cases,” said Linda Vail, Ingham County health officer. “If we had 50 or 60 cases in a day, we were kind of overwhelmed... Last week, we had 200 cases in a day.”

Vail recommends parents of MSU students to keep them at home and not on campus to continue their remote learning.

Coronavirus in Michigan

How to track Michigan COVID-19 data

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Local 4 and ClickOnDetroit has been tracking the latest data to help better understand the situation across the state.

Our COVID-19 Data section tracks many of the key data points health officials are watching closely every single day.

Track key COVID-19 data points in Michigan:

About the Authors:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.