State officials require faster reporting of COVID-19 deaths

LANSING (AP) — State officials issued an emergency order designed to speed up the reporting of COVID-19 deaths in Michigan as the number of cases continued to surge.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a directive late Saturday for funeral directors and medical professionals. Under the order, funeral directors have 24 hours to initiate a death record and submit it to the attending physician. Doctors have to attempt to certify the record within 24 hours of receipt, among other things.

The idea was to let public health officials more accurately understand the impact and help take action on public health measures. The order took effect immediately.

“To inform sound decision-making and protect Michiganders, public health officials need accurate information about COVID-19 deaths as quickly as possible,” Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon said in a statement.

By Sunday, Michigan reported over 15,700 cases of COVID-19 with 617 deaths. That included 77 new deaths reported Sunday, of which 27 were in Detroit.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are among those particularly susceptible to more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.