Michigan changes the way COVID-19 test results are reported

Posted at 8:20 PM, May 23, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — In an effort to make data more accurate, the Michigan Department of Health and human Services (MDHHS) is changing how they report COVID-19 test results.

The data previously reported information from diagnostic tests and antibody tests, known as serology tests, as one result. Now, the results will be separated to make sure the public understands the information collected.

Serology tests make up 12% of Michigan's overall tests. MDHHS says 60% of those tests were done in the last nine days.

“Accuracy and transparency are paramount as we continue to respond to this pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We continue to expand and improve data reporting to make sure the public understands where their community stands with the COVID-19 outbreak.”

The new manner of reporting doesn't change the number of positive COVID-19 cases, but it lowers the percentage of COVID-positive tests since serology testing began.

While its still unclear if having the antibodies means someone is immune to COVID-19, or how long an immunity may last, the results are still helpful to track the spread of the disease and understand how it works.

In a statement, the MDHHS advised "Results of antibody tests should not change decisions on whether an individual should return to work, or if they should quarantine based on exposure to someone with the disease."

For more information on COVID-19 test results collected by the state, click here.