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State issues emergency order on prioritizing testing for COVID-19

Robert Gordon, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, issued the emergency order on Tuesday. It's effective immediately.

LANSING, Mich. — The state's health department ordered testing labs to prioritize specimens from at risk people and people with a broad exposure history. 

Robert Gordon, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, issued the emergency order on Tuesday. It's effective immediately.

"To save lives, we need to do two things: dedicate our limited lab capacity to the highest priority tests and obtain consistent, timely reports on hospital beds and PPE,” said Gordon. “This order aims to accomplish those goals.”

State and local officials have previously said a shortage of available tests have limited the capability to test all COVID-19 patients.

RELATED: 'We do not have enough tests' Michigan prioritizing who gets tested for COVID-19

Gordon ordered that:

1. Facilities processing COVID-19 tests must prioritize sampling and testing as instructed by the MDHHS. This currently includes tests associated with active cases, known contacts, those with concerning exposure history, concerning risk profiles, and tests associated with cluster investigations.

  • All lab tests conducted form COVID-19 must be reported to MDHHS within four hours of completing the test, whether negative or positive.
  • Health facilities must contact the local health officer to inform them of a COVID-19 related death within two hours of the death.

2. Those who collect specimens for testing must label tests in the way instructed by MDHHS. This includes patient name, date of birth, specimen source, and collection date.

3. Hospitals must abide by MDHHS instructions on how to report information related to COVID-19.
This includes reporting the following data:

  • Frequency of updates to bed capacity
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) inventory
  • Laboratory testing capacity
  • Number of ventilated patients
  • Number of ventilators
  • Patient census
  • Staffing shortages
  • Units or areas dedicated to COVID-19 treatment
  • Other data, which in the hospital’s judgment, may help to support response to the COVID-19 pandemic


Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:

  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.

Do you have more questions about COVID-19 in Michigan? Check out the state's website.

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