CMU is taking many steps to protect the health and safety of our campus, yet more employees and students will test positive for COVID-19 as they return to campus and our campus density increases. Below you'll find information on how positive cases are managed and communicated, as well as the weekly number of positive cases within our campus community.
How CMU Defines Active and Inactive Cases
CMU reports COVID-19 cases as active or inactive. Active cases are those who tested positive, symptomatic and asymptomatic, and are 10 or fewer days post-onset or referral date. Inactive cases are defined as persons 11 days post-onset and who are asymptomatic.*
The State of Michigan classifies a recovered case as a person with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis who is alive 30 days post-onset (or referral date if onset is not available).
Fortunately, CMU has not had a COVID-19 fatality. Therefore, 100 percent of CMU’s COVID-19 positive cases 30 days post-onset to date have recovered.
*The likelihood of recovering replication-competent virus declines after onset of symptoms. For patients with mild to moderate covid-19, replication-competent virus has not been recovered after 14 days following symptom onset (CDC, unpublished data, 2020; Wölfel et al., 2020; Arons et al., 2020; Bullard et al., 2020; Lu et al., 2020; personal communication with young et al., 2020; Korea CDC, 2020).
**Total Campus Population counts CMU students, staff and faculty in Mount Pleasant.
Perceived Discrepancies in Active Case and Inactive Case Reporting
We often receive feedback suggesting that CMU’s Active case count should be higher based on the number of cases reported over the most recent 10-day isolation period. But what may seem like a discrepancy is due to a number of variables that impact Active and Inactive case counts.
- Multiple organizations and agencies perform testing. For example, three different organizations perform different tests on CMU’s campus, and members of our community also may choose off-campus testing. Providers use a variety of test types that take different amounts of time to process. Each also has its own procedure and timetable for compiling results, and timetables may vary by the number of tests a lab is processing. These organizations also may take between 24 and 72 hours — sometimes even longer — to report positive test data to the local health department and the state.
- Once these organizations send this data to the local health department and state, more time passes — often an additional 24-72 hours or more — before the health department and state report that data to CMU as a positive case.
- CMU community members also sometimes give the testing provider an address outside of Isabella County or the jurisdiction of the Central Michigan District Health Department. In these cases, positive test results go to the district health department of record for that address, and CMDHD won’t report that case to CMU immediately. This can cause a substantial delay in the number showing up in CMU’s official reporting.
What does this mean?
Put simply, this means CMU is regularly ahead of state reporting. Here’s why:
- We are notified immediately when our on-campus testing partners identify a positive case. And we often begin our own internal contact tracing as soon as we learn of a positive case.
- When we become aware that an individual is symptomatic, we isolate and quarantine even before a test is ordered.
If it takes up to 72 hours for a positive test result to be reported to the local health department and state, and then an additional 72 hours for the state to report that information back to CMU, the person who received the positive test already will have been in isolation for six days.
In situations where positive cases associated with CMU are initially reported to health districts outside Isabella County, it is not uncommon for CMU to receive official notice after the person has already completed the isolation or quarantine period.
Confirmed New Cases by Week and Day
Due to privacy laws, there is limited information we can provide in relation to positive cases of COVID-19, but CMU will provide daily/weekly updates of new COVID-19 cases within the campus community. The charts above track the daily/weekly number — and trend — in new positive cases within our faculty, staff and students.
How CMU Counts Its COVID-19 Cases
Central Michigan University's (CMU) count of COVID-19 cases include all positive cases of faculty, staff or students residing in Isabella County or enrolled in classes at the Mount Pleasant campus.
CMU’s case counts are different than those reported by the Central Michigan District Health Department (CMDHD). The CMDHD reports cases to the state that include not only faculty, staff and students, but also former students and those living both inside and outside of the community who were identified as being associated with other cases related to return to school.
For example, if a friend (not associated with the university) of a CMU student came to visit said student, and that friend was infected because they were in close contact with the CMU student, the CMDHD would count that as a CMU case. This is the primary reason there is a discrepancy between the numbers CMU reports and the numbers the CMDHD reports.
Decision Points for Shifting to Remote Instruction
As we navigate the pandemic, every activity we undertake carries some risk of virus transmission. CMU will remain open for face-to-face instruction for as long as we are able to manage and mitigate the risks related to COVID-19. There is no set threshold or number of cases that would trigger a shift to remote instruction. Rather, the decision to shift will be based on a variety of factors, including guidance from our local health department, counsel from our CMU Health medical professionals, input from our local hospitals and health care providers, suggestions from our emergency management team and direction from state leaders.
If we reach a point in which it is no longer safe to offer in-person instruction, we have prepared for a variety of scenarios and possible futures, including a shift back to remote-only instruction. We will monitor our situation carefully and make adjustments and decisions appropriately as we move forward.