MI Safe Start Dashboard map gets makeover to ease confusion

The new map uses shades of one color
Michigan updated its "MI Safe Start" dashboard map
Michigan updated its "MI Safe Start" dashboard map(Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 5:24 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - As nearly a thousand new COVID cases are confirmed in Michigan, the state’s “MI Safe Start” map is getting a makeover. There has been a lot of confusion surrounding the map so far because, until now, it used the same colors as governor Gretchen Whitmer’s economic re-opening plan.

“The revised names and color schemes are also really intended to reduce confusion,” said Dr. Sarah Lyon-Callo, Michigan’s state epidemiologist.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services uses the “MI Safe Start” dashboard to track a regions risk of spreading COVID-19. When it launched earlier this year, it used the same color scheme in Governor Whitmer’s economic reopening plan.

As a result of the similar look, when MDHSS would change a region’s risk level, many people thought that meant a region was being shutdown again.

“I think it is giving situational awareness about where their community is relative to other communities,” said Dr. Lyon-Callo.

Dr. Sarah Lyon-Callo said using different shades of the same color is designed to help easily notice how different regions are fairing.

Thursday, Lansing was at the highest level, now known as level E. This change is to make it easier to compare to data across the country.

“It aligns the information on the dashboard with some of the national cut points that are being used by other entities,” said Dr. Lyon-Callo.

She said there isn’t a hard or fast rule to change a region’s risk because they don’t want to constantly change these maps back and fourth.

“We need to see that decline for a couple weeks before we feel like that’s really a true trend,” said Dr. Lyon-Callo.

This map only applies to the risk level for covid-19. For tracking outbreaks, that’s a third map you’ll need to check.

The state is using the Michigan Emergency Preparedness Regions map, which has been around for a while to track public health emergencies.

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