Michigan adopts new definition of school COVID outbreak, raising threshold

Definition now calls for 3 cases, not 2, associated with a school

An empty classroom
An empty classroom

Michigan health officials are adopting a new definition of COVID-19 school outbreaks that lifts the threshold from two cases to three associated with a school.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) gets such a definition from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists -- view that here. The new definition changes the threshold to at least three cases within a group, up from two.

The definition of a school COVID outbreak in Michigan has been updated to the following:

“Educational institutions (i.e., grades K-12) that have been found by their local health department to have multiple cases comprising at least 10% of students, teachers, or staff, within a specified core group OR at least three (3) cases within a specified core group meeting criteria for a probable or confirmed school-associated COVID-19 case with symptom onset or positive test result within 14 days of each other; who were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting (i.e. household) outside of the school setting; AND epidemiologically linked in the school setting or a school-sanctioned extracurricular activity are considered outbreaks. COVID-19 cases who may have shared exposure on school grounds and are from different households are included. Case counts for school-related outbreaks include those associated with before and after school programs (e.g., school-sponsored sports).

This new surveillance definition will be applied going forward (as of 9/27/2021). The new surveillance definition will not be applied to historical data. The previous definition had a lower outbreak definition threshold; requiring 2 or more COVID-19 cases associated with a school. The new outbreak definition threshold may exclude some circumstances, which previously met the definition. In addition, the data may shift based on current COVID-19 activity in the county.”

View: MDHHS School-Related Outbreak Reporting

View: Tracking COVID outbreaks in Michigan schools, colleges (updated weekly)


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About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.