As Michigan’s COVID situation continues to improve, the state health department is further easing some of its guidance related to quarantining and case reporting.
The most significant change made Friday, March 11, was the move away from home quarantining for individuals who are exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19. Instead, that individual should monitor themselves for symptoms for 10 days and consider wearing a mask around others for that time.
If you live with someone who is positive for COVID, it’s recommended that you test at least once within 3-7 days of exposure. Otherwise, the guidance is to test if symptoms develop.
This move away from at-home quarantining does not affect guidance for health care, long-term care, corrections or other high-risk settings. It also doesn’t supersede orders from local health departments, organizations, school districts, businesses, or event organizers.
“We are updating our guidance to reflect the fact the state has entered a post-surge, recovery phase,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the state’s chief medical executive, in a prepared statement. “As we move through the phases of our COVID-19 response our recommendations will be updated to reflect the current status of transmission, while continuing to prioritize public health and promote health and wellness for all communities.
“We continue to strongly urge all residents ages 5 and older get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and to get boosted when eligible as the vaccine continues to be our best defense against the virus.”
The health department still recommends that individuals who test positive to isolate at home for five days. If symptoms have improved or no symptoms develop, those individuals can leave isolation after five days if they wear a well-fitted mask for another five days.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also rescinded its requirement that schools must report confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19. Instead, schools will be expected to report coronavirus cases/outbreaks as they would for other communicable diseases to prevent spread of things like norovirus, measles and lice.
It wasn’t immediately clear Friday if the new reporting guidance would lead to the end of weekly school outbreak reports from MDHHS. This week’s outbreak report included seven new K-12 outbreaks, involving a total of 36 students and staff.
MDHHS continues to recommend that schools provide notification to staff and the families of students when there has been a potential exposure to an individual with a communicable disease such as COVID-19.
Friday’s announcement came as the state has reported 748 daily new cases and 46 new deaths per day over the last week. That’s down from 3,306 cases and 74 deaths per day a month ago.
As of Thursday, 93% of Michigan counties were given the green light to remove their masks in public indoor settings, according to CDC criteria that evaluates case numbers and hospital capacity.