News Bite

Official State COVID Website Has Outdated, Conflicted Messaging

In her 55-page state “roadmap” to reopening schools, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “COVID-19 Task Force on Education” points to a University of Michigan-powered website called MI Safe Start Map as the basis on which school reopening decisions should be based.

However, that MI Safe Start Map has posted outdated and contradictory information during much of the pandemic.

The "Roadmap" report advises that, “LEAs (Local Education Agencies) and schools should plan to review the most current public health data released by the State of Michigan in the MI Safe Start Map on a weekly basis.”

An example of the problem could be seen in the information displayed at 9:35 a.m., Feb. 12, when the Safe Start map website indicated the entire state was at the highest risk level as of Feb. 3.

The website rates risk level from A (lowest) to E (highest), and showed all of Michigan at the highest "E" rating.

But the rating was nine days old, had not been updated and was not supported by the more recent data on the website.

Based on its own data and thresholds that were as of Feb. 8, the statewide positive COVID test rate is at the "A" risk level, daily new cases per million is at the "D" level, testing capacity gets an "A" and hospital capacity is also at an "A" level.

This tool is supposed to be determining the "official risk levels" for the state to "convey the risk of spread of the epidemic in a region."

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.