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Michigan Emergency Order requires COVID-19 deaths to be reported more quickly

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LANSING, Mich. – An emergency order issued Saturday by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services aims to improve the state’s response to slowing coronavirus (COVID-19)

Update April 4, 2020 3 p.m. -- Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 14,225; Death toll now at 540

The order, effective immediately, gets important death information from funeral homes and physicians to public health officials so they can better provide health services and enforce health laws.

“MDHHS is committed to protecting the public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why I am issuing this emergency order,” said MDHHS director Robert Gordon said. “To inform sound decision-making and protect Michiganders, public health officials need accurate information about COVID-19 deaths as quickly as possible. I appreciate the work of our funeral home directors and physicians right now, and I am grateful to partner with them in taking quick action during this pandemic.”

The order requires physicians who know or suspect that a patient’s death resulted from COVID-19 to try to promptly notify the funeral director. The funeral director is then required to initiate the death record and submit to the attending physician within 24 hours of becoming aware that the death resulted or is suspected to have resulted from COVID-19.

The funeral director must then file the death record with the local registrar of the district where the death occurred within 48 hours of becoming aware the death resulted or was suspected to have resulted from COVID-19. Funeral directors also must report all deaths using Michigan’s Electronic Death Records System.

Physicians who receive a death record for medical certification where the death resulted or is suspected to have resulted from COVID-19 must attempt to certify the death record within 24 hours of receipt.

Anyone who believes they might have coronavirus should follow the CDC guidelines. Michigan.gov has a list of resources available to those concerned about COVID-19.

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