Local Health Department Clarifies Reported COVID-19 Death Data
June 18, 2020
By Jessica Mathews / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Livingston County Health Department is clarifying reported COVID-19 death data.
As of Wednesday, the department is reporting 417 confirmed cases, 138 probable cases, 27 confirmed deaths, and one probable death related to COVID-19. Of those deaths, 15 are directly related to Livingston County residents residing in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities within the county. The remaining deaths, 12 confirmed and one probable, were residents who did not reside in a LTC facility. The department says of the 417 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Livingston County, LTC residents and staff make up 15% of the total confirmed cases.
The department says information presented on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) COVID-19 website can be misinterpreted because of how it is presented. Officials say recent articles published about this data presented misinformation about the accurate totals of deaths of Livingston County residents. Information included on the MDHHS LTC COVID-19 page (https://bit.ly/2BbYgA1) presents a cumulative count of all cases and deaths within the facility, which includes Livingston County residents as well as some out of county residents who temporarily resided in a Livingston County LTC facility. Two LTC facilities set up isolation wings to isolate newly admitted residents identified as having COVID-19.
Information in the attached press release shows the current number of deaths at each facility. The department says residents in LTC facilities remain one of the highest risk groups for experiencing serious complications from COVID-19. On June 15th, Robert Gordon, Director of MDHHS, released detailed information about recently issued Executive Orders 2020-123 and 2020-108 (https://bit.ly/2zKRvoA). Along with increased reporting requirements, LTC facilities are now required to test patients and staff on a regular basis to ensure cases are identified quickly to prevent further spread within the facility. LCHD is taking steps to work with LTC facilities to support them in complying with the new Executive Orders.
Meanwhile, the Health Department reminds all residents that COVID-19 is still present in the community. Although daily cases remain low, residents are encouraged to continue practicing healthy habits. As summer activities and travel increase, officials say residents should take steps to protect themselves against COVID-19 including covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands often, practicing social distancing by staying 6 feet away from others, wearing a cloth face covering (even while social distancing), staying home when sick, avoiding close contact sick people and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.