Rep Beth Griffin
Rep. Griffin: County-level data should drive decision-making through remainder of COVID-19 pandemic
RELEASE|October 20, 2020
Contact: Beth Griffin

Rep. Beth Griffin, of Mattawan, today helped announce a plan giving the people of Michigan more certainty and control in these challenging times – allowing for data-driven COVID-19 responses that reflect conditions in local communities.

The plan relies on science-based, county-level data to guide decisions to keep people healthy and determine appropriate COVID-19 restrictions.

“Over the past seven months, I have heard from thousands of Southwest Michigan families whose lives and livelihoods have been impacted by the state’s one-size-fits-all approach to this crisis,” Griffin said. “They expect and deserve better results, more transparency and decisions that are based on science and specific health data within their communities. And that’s exactly what this plan does. We’re providing clear guidance, following county-level data, establishing local control and empowering the people of Michigan to make decisions that are best for their communities.”

When the data supports it, local public health experts will have the option to modify their COVID-19 policies at the county-level – potentially loosening state limits on gathering sizes, restaurant capacity and other measures that would remain in place in other counties. Health thresholds allowing local decision-making would be based on five clear scientific metrics:

  • Case rate. The number of confirmed cases over a 14-day period is below 55 cases per 1 million people.
  • Positivity rate. The rate of positive tests over a 14-day period must be below 5 percent (excluding state and federal inmates).
  • Sufficient hospital bed capacity. Hospitals must be able to handle a 20 percent surge in admissions or patient transfers, and they must be below a 25 percent hospitalization increase in the previous 14 days.
  • Sufficient PPE supply. Local hospitals must have at least a two-week supply of personal protective equipment on hand.
  • Ability to test for COVID-19. Counties must be able to test 15 people per 10,000 residents per day, and turn around test results in three days or less.

If the data later indicates a county has risen above these COVID metrics, intervention strategies would go into effect for stronger state control.

Rep. Griffin said the plan was put together by looking to best practices in other states in consultation with Michigan medical and science professionals.

Griffin and other House Republican lawmakers were joined by Jeff Elliott, director of the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department, for the rolling out of the plan. Elliott said he supports the locally tailored plan because it allows health care professionals to make quicker decisions to help keep Michigan families healthy and safe throughout the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a local health official, I support this regionalized approach that allows counties to provide guidance on their response to COVID-19,” Elliott said. “As the state continues to reopen, this plan will let us make quick decisions using our doctors and data to keep Southwest Michigan families safe.”

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