By Jessica Mathews /

The state will begin tracking and reporting schools connected to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun made the announcement during a press conference held Wednesday. It comes as schools locally and across the state begin to re-open, although most are offering a choice of in-person instruction, online learning or a blended environment.

Khaldun says the state COVID-19 case rate declined over the past week - although some areas are experiencing increases such as the Traverse City, Upper Peninsula and Grand Rapids regions. She said the positivity rate or the percentage of tests coming back positive was 3.1% and that number has decreased over the past week. Khaldun noted the state is also tracking outbreaks and last week, there were 93 new outbreaks identified by local public health departments that were being investigated.

Khaldun said there’s been a lot of interest in understanding outbreaks at schools so they’re working with local health departments to gather the names of specific schools that have outbreaks associated with them. She said they’re currently working with them to make sure they’re receiving accurate data. Khaldun added that she is incredibly proud of the dedication and expertise of local health officers and their staff who are on the front lines in fighting the disease and they’ll continue to work with them to update data reporting.

Khaldun said they expect to be able to post information about school-related outbreaks on the state coronavirus website in the next two weeks. That link is provided.