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Michigan COVID Spike Could Be Due to Outdated Tracking System, Schools Starting

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Image credit: Photo by CDC on Unsplash

A delay in test results and the re-opening of colleges and universities could be to blame for recent spike in the COVID-19 case count.

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Newly released state coronavirus data shows a dramatic spike in case numbers, exhibiting the highest single day increase since the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in late April.

Sorting data is cumbersome and part of that is because the state is dealing with an aging system to track infectious diseases.” — Chad Livengood, Crain’s Detroit Business 

The genesis for the surge in cases is still unknown, but a confluence of factors could be to blame.

Listen: What’s behind the increase in Michigan’s COVID-19 case numbers?

Chad LivengoodCrain's Detroit Business
Crain’s Detroit Business

Chad Livengood


Chad Livengood, senior editor at Crain’s Detroit Business, says there are several factors that may be contributing to the recent spike in COVID-19 case numbers.

One issue, according to Livengood, is a lag in private lab test results. “One explanation I did get on the 1,300 cases [in Michigan] was Oakland County on Thursday afternoon received 204 test results dating back to August 11 from a single lab,” says Livengood. He adds that the sorting and release of state data is complicated by an outdated system. “Sorting a lot of [the COVID19] data is cumbersome to say the least and part of that is because the state is dealing with an aging system to track infectious diseases and that age is starting to show up.”

The re-opening of schools, colleges and universities could also be contributing to the increase in COVID-19 case numbers.

College towns across the state are seeing a rise in cases as students are welcomed back to campus. As for schools, Livengood says it could be too soon to tell the impact of in-person education. “We don’t really even have a firm number of how many kids are in schools, I think it’s going to be a couple weeks to figure out the effects,” says Livengood.

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