The Health Department of Northwest Michigan has been asked on many occasions to share more specific details regarding positive COVID-19 cases like zip codes, towns, and gender of individuals. We have previously shared how important our process of case investigation and contact tracing is in identifying those who may have been exposed to assure proper isolation and quarantine to prevent further spread.
We recognize that information is important and that many people would like easier access to it. Data regarding positive cases becomes both easier to share and more meaningful as our numbers increase. We remain committed to protecting the personal information of the individuals affected but want the public to know that we are working on developing a data dashboard that will house the up–to–date information that we are able to compile and share.
Medical Director, Dr. Josh Meyerson, reinforced that “there is still not enough testing to provide surveillance data that could be helpful for the public regarding local disease activity. There are far more people who are sick with COVID-19 than the lab confirmed cases reported. There are also individuals who are considered contagious who have not yet begun to develop symptoms – we begin contact tracing 48 hours before symptoms start – or may remain asymptomatic.”
Many individuals will recover uneventfully. When cases are reported to the Health Department, they often tell us where the virus was spreading 10-14 days ago, not where it may be currently. These factors together are why we feel it is important to continue to stress that any time an individual leaves their home and goes into a public place or interacts with people outside their household, they are at risk of being exposed AND of exposing others without realizing it. We realize this is anxiety provoking but trying to figure out “where it is safe” or “what store or town to avoid” would instill false sense of fear or security based on incomplete information.
As of 4:00pm, the Health Department of Northwest Michigan is reporting positive COVID-19 cases in the following counties: Antrim – 6, Charlevoix – 8, Emmet – 15, Otsego – 29; and confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the following counties: Emmet – 2, Otsego – 2. The State of Michigan has reported 20,346 cases and 959 deaths.