State Rep. Greg Markkanen and a group of House Republican lawmakers this week announced a plan aimed at giving the people of Michigan more certainty and control by 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.
“This approach is a smarter way to manage COVID-19 in Michigan, regardless of whether cases are rising, falling or remaining stable,” Markkanen said. “It will allow the state to act quickly when public health is at grave and immediate risk, while empowering local healthcare leaders to make decisions for their own communities based on clear guidance, advice from doctors and data rooted in science – not politics.”
The plan was created by a work group formed to develop refinements to existing plans after the recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling striking down Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders as unconstitutional. The plan builds upon themes first championed by House Republicans in April.
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 community spread cases over a 14-day period is below 55 cases per 1 million people.
- Positivity rate. The rate of positive tests related to community spread over a 14-day period must be below 5 percent.
- Surge and hospital 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 health facilities 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 indicates a county is no longer meeting these COVID metrics, intervention strategies would immediately go into effect.
Markkanen said the plan was put together by looking at best practices in other states in consultation with Michigan medical and science professionals.
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