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For months, we have been collecting COVID-19 data, scrutinizing publicly available data definitions, and engaging in frequent conversations with jurisdictions to understand the data they share.

During this process, we have focused on three aspects of COVID-19 data reporting: 1) how the state defines and reports key metrics, such as testing data, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, 2) how the state presents information about COVID-19 in long-term-care facilities, and 3) how the state reports race and ethnicity data.

Our assessment below reflects both the thoroughness of Michigan’s reporting and the completeness and clarity of their data descriptions. We hope this work will not only help our data users to better grasp the limitations of these numbers but also might help health officials to understand the differences in data reporting across jurisdictions.

We require data definitions to be accessible from a state’s data pages and presented in a location where it is clear they will be maintained. Examples include data definition documents, data FAQs, dashboard footnotes, or definitions appearing daily in press releases.

Last updated March 2, 2021

State-level metrics

Some issues exist:

  • uses a confirmed case definition that does not match the CSTE definition
  • uses a probable case definition that does not match the April or August CSTE definition
  • does not provide a testing metric clearly including only viral RNA tests
  • does not regularly provide antigen total test counts
  • does not regularly provide antigen positive test counts
  • does not regularly provide total tests in terms of unique people tested
  • does not regularly provide a cumulative number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19
  • data for multiple key metrics is hard to discover or access

Race and Ethnicity

Some issues exist:

  • does not report race / ethnicity data for tests and hospitalizations
  • reports Asian or Pacific Islander, a category that has not been used for federal data since 1997, making comparisons more difficult
  • reports race data for 81% of cases and 95% of deaths, and ethnicity data for 69% of cases and 82% of deaths

Long-Term Care

Few issues exist:

  • does not provide information about facilities with open and closed outbreaks, or date of last case
  • does not provice facilities data in a downloadable or machine readable form