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MDHHS Issues Emergency Order Regarding COVID-19 Testing and Resource Reporting

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LANSING, MICH. To maximize Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) sampling and testing capacity and ensure timely reporting of critical resources and needs, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon today issued an emergency order establishing procedures to be followed during the pandemic to ensure continuation of essential public health services and enforcement of health laws. This order is effective immediately.

“To save lives, we need to do two things: dedicate our limited lab capacity to the highest priority tests and obtain consistent, timely reports on hospital beds and PPE,” said Gordon. “This order aims to accomplish those goals.”

“This is another step the state is taking toward saving lives during this pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “The ultimate goal is to slow the spread of the virus so our health care system doesn't get overwhelmed and we prevent as much illness as possible.”

Pursuant to MCL 333.2253, Gordon ordered that:

  1. Facilities in the state of Michigan processing tests for COVID-19 must prioritize sampling and testing for COVID-19 as instructed by MDHHS. This currently includes specimens associated with active investigations of known contacts, individuals with concerning exposure histories and risk profiles and specimens obtained during cluster investigations. 
    • All laboratory tests conducted for COVID-19 must be reported to MDHHS via the Michigan Disease Surveillance System within four hours of completion of the test, whether negative or positive.
    • Health facilities must contact the local health officer to inform them of a COVID-19-related death within two hours of the death. 
  2. Physicians and other health professionals who collect specimens for testing of COVID-19 must label specimens in the manner instructed by the MDHHS. This includes patient name, date of birth, specimen source, collection date, etc.
  3. Hospitals in the state of Michigan must abide by MDHHS’ instructions on reporting of information related to the COVID-19 response. This includes reporting the following data:
  • Frequency of updates to bed capacity.
  • Personal protective equipment inventory.
  • Laboratory testing capacity.
  • Number of ventilated patients.
  • Number of ventilators.
  • Patient census.
  • Staffing shortages.
  • Units or areas dedicated to COVID-19 treatment.
  • Other data, which in the hospital’s judgment, may help to support response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.  

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