MI Safe Start Map is a dashboard designed to monitor the status of COVID-19 indicators across the state of Michigan. The dashboard tracks and displays the current risk level of Michigan regions and counties due to COVID-19. The goals are twofold:

  • To assist public health officials in making state, regional, and county-level decisions related to COVID-19;
  • To provide the general public with insight into some of the indicators that affect these public health decisions.

Additional Resources


This dashboard presents risk and capacity indicators that are taken into consideration during the State of Michigan's development and implementation of the MI Safe Start Plan. Each indicator is assigned a level of risk. Those levels are taken into consideration, with other epidemiologic information, in assigning the overall risk level for a region. The State of Michigan's decisions about the MI Safe Start plan also take into consideration availability of mitigation and economic factors, among other factors.

On September 22, this site switched to a new set of names for the risk levels, and a new color scheme. The revised names and color scheme are intended to reduce confusion with the state's Economic Recovery Phases associated with the Mi Safe Start Plan. There is also an additional higher threshold level for cases, and an additional intermediate threshold for percent positivity. The expansion of risk thresholds is intended to align with thresholds from national systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving and unpredictable viral outbreak. The data and associated risk indicators represented here are derived from state and public sources that may contain inaccuracies and that are frequently updated and/or revised. Consequently, there are times that the indicators may be or appear to be inaccurate or conflicting. All data presented on this site is subject to change. The information presented on this site is for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal or medical advice, and does not replace or supersede any guidance or directives issues from the State of Michigan in connection with its MI Safe Start plan. Use caution in making any decisions based on limited or transient data presentations such as those appearing in this dashboard.

Michigan Economic Recovery Council (MERC) Regions

The regions on the map were developed by the Michigan Economic Recovery Council (MERC). MERC regions were developed by merging Michigan's Emergency Preparedness Regions and Michigan's labor sheds – the major areas of the state where people live and travel to work based on U.S. Department of Labor data – so that any outbreak resulting from a return to work could be handled effectively under public health laws.

Data Sources


Case data are from the Michigan Disease Surveillance System (MDSS), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' web based communicable disease reporting system. Only laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases are included. Displayed dates represent illness onset dates. If illness onset date is unavailable, date of testing is used; if date of testing is unavailable, date of referral to MDSS is used. Dates are subject to change over time as better data become available. By default, data displayed do not include the cases among prisoners in Correctional Facilities. Select from the dropdown to include them.


Death data are also from the Michigan Disease Surveillance System (MDSS). Laboratory-confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths are included. Displayed dates represent dates of death. If date of death is unavailable, date of last status change in MDSS is used. Dates are subject to change over time as better data become available. By default, data displayed do not include the cases among prisoners in Correctional Facilities. Select from the dropdown to include them.


Laboratory testing data are those diagnostic tests reported to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. By default, data displayed do not include the cases among prisoners in Correctional Facilities. Select from the dropdown to include them.


Syndromic data is based on visits to emergency rooms and urgent care facilities. The statistic displayed is the percentage of presenting patients who had COVID-like symptoms, as reported to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Data is only available statewide and for MERC regions, not for individual counties.

Region Risk Determinations

Official region risk determinations are provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. They are used to color-code the map regions. Changes in color codes reflect the dates of determinations of risk levels.

From May 16 to August 14, a previous vocabulary of risk levels was used. Those risk determinations are no longer displayed on the map because they aren't comparable to the levels in the current system. For those interested in the historical determinations, they are available in the linked PDF.

Data Updates

Official data are sometimes revised to correct errors or the arrival of new information about previously reported cases and deaths. Data in the dashboard about earlier dates always reflect the best currently available data, not what was known as of particular dates in the past.

Data last uploaded on November 24, reflecting cases and deaths through November 24 and tests through November 22. Reports on or after November 22 may not yet reflect complete data. For that reason, indicators and trends are not calculated for November 22 or later.

Indicator Details

Test Results

Percent Positive Tests

Percent positive tests is the number of positive tests divided by the total number of tests for a particular day. When testing levels are stable, this metric identifies increases or decreases in the epidemic relative to other causes of respiratory infection. This metric is commonly used in community monitoring studies of influenza and other respiratory viruses. Evaluations of percent positivity (number of positive tests / total number of tests) also enable a look at adequacy of testing in a population t

Number of Tests Over Prior 7 Days

This is the total number of tests performed over the previous 7 days. Testing is important to identifying COVID-19 cases, and may drive up new case volume. Use this metric to see if there has been an increase or decrease in testing over a week that could affect case counts.

New Cases

Number of daily cases/million

The number of daily cases per million is the number of new cases with onset on that day divided by the number of people in that county or MERC region. It is adjusted to a 'per million' people scale so that counties and regions can be easily compared.

Threshold Ranges

Threshold ranges provide a way to divide continuous outcomes into discrete categories. For example, any number between 40 and 70 daily cases per million is mapped to the letter "C", with 20-40 daily cases per million letter "B". The particular threshold levels selected have been determined by public health experts.

Number of New Cases

The number of new cases is a count of the cases with onset on that particular day.

3 Day Case Surge

3-day case surge is defined as 3 consecutive days in which there is an increase of 10% or more in new cases each day. Given the high infectiousness of the virus, this metric provides early signals of a sudden increase in infection.

Who Built It

MI Safe Start Map has been collaboratively developed by a group of volunteer faculty, students, alumni and friends of the University of Michigan School of Information and the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Paul Resnick, SI project lead

UMSI Project Team

Eytan Adar, James Benjey, Nupur Bindal, Claire-Isabelle Carlier, Mark Halliwell, Yuxuan Chen, Cassie Eddy, Kyle Essenmacher, Alex Fidel, Ella Gazdecki, Ashley Hampton, Michael Hess, Willa Hua, Yaro Kaminsky, Rhea Kulkarni, Ani Madurkar, Emil Meireles, Ben Mullins, Mustafa Naseem, Emily Oxford, Cleo Pontone, Ashwin Rajadesingan, Michael Rigney, Dominique Roitman, Yuncheng Shen Kyle Smith, Kris Steinhoff, Sophia Timko, Etiowo Usoro, William Zhang

Sharon Kardia, SPH project lead

UMSPH Project Team

Vaibhav Bafna, Andrew Brouwer, Jeremy D'Silva, Peter DeJonge, Marisa Eisenberg, Michael Hayashi, Emily Toth Martin, Ashley Murphy, Joshua Petrie, Michael Rigney, Jon Zelner

Revision History

  • November 19, 2020
    • Selections saved in URLs, for better sharing of deep links
  • November 18, 2020
    • Better zooming and panning in charts; show computed county risk levels instead of showing region risk level for counties
  • September 29, 2020
    • Addition of Syndromic Data, based on ER and urgent care visits.
  • September 22, 2020
    • New color scheme, threshold levels, and naming convention for risk levels.
  • August 9, 2020
    • Added toggles to include/exclude probable cases.
  • July 28, 2020
    • Higher risk level at 70 cases per million; changes to risk levels for tests percent positive.
  • July 26, 2020
    • Added toggle to include Correctional Facilities Data.
  • June 15, 2020
    • Menu for selecting county or region; added statewide option; accessibility and usability improvements.
  • June 10, 2020
    • Accessibility and usability improvements.

Contact Us

To contact us, send email to covid-dashboard@umich.edu.