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Discrepancies found in state school outbreak data

Posted at 6:04 PM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 19:00:16-04

Michigan is now reporting outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools statewide. However, there are already some discrepancies.

Keicher Elementary in Michigan Center is the only school listed for a COVID-19 outbreak in Jackson County.

“We did anticipate there would be things like this. It’s unfortunate in our district early on. But we planned for it and we have an extremely safe plan,” said Brady Cook, Michigan Center Public Schools superintendent.

Michigan Center Public Schools is one district offering in-person learning five days a week.

News 10 first reported two of its staff members contracted COVID-19 last week.

Cook said one staff member at Keicher Elementary and another at Arnold Elementary were apart of the cases last week, which is different than what the state’s website says. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin said they are relying on local health departments to provide outbreak information.

“They are the boots on the ground doing these case investigations so they are determining if an outbreak has occurred or not,” said Sutfin.

Even with the discrepancy, Sutfin said the new reporting page is still valuable for people in the community.

“It lets people know this is still an issue in Michigan and across the country, so we need to continue to take precautions,” she said.

Sutfin said it’s important to realize not every coronavirus case will be on this list. Only those cases where it appears the virus is spreading in the school will be listed.

“It does not mean there may not be COVID-19 in your school. It just means it hasn’t been investigated and determined to be an outbreak yet,” said Sutfin.

She added just because a school is listed doesn’t mean they are doing anything wrong either. Cook said Michigan Center’s plan is working.

“This part of it, I think we absolutely got right. Keeping them in the cohorts, not allowing for common passing time or mingling,” said Cook.

The state updates its outbreak information page every Monday.