Some with COVID-19 positive tests conceal diagnosis to avoid quarantine

In the past 72 hours, more than 7,000 people in Michigan have tested positive for COVID-19 and our fight against the virus is far from over. But we're learning about a number of people who have tested positive for the virus but are concealing the diagnosis to avoid quarantine.

Dr. Thoma Frieden is the former head of the Center for Disease Control and is warning Michigan residents that as cases surge again, residents should remember to quarantine if required.

One problem health officials are seeing is people concealing their COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure and refusing to quarantine. 

"All over the country, we're hearing the same story: people are going to work sick. We've got to stop that, we've got to address that," Frieden said.

The virus is now infecting more younger people who tend to not need hospitalization or may be asymptomatic altogether. 

University of Michigan epidemiology professor Dr. Emily Martin said that's the problem.

"Lower severity and asymptomatic people means that people are more likely to gather, travel - even if they have had infections," Dr. Martin said. "You can have very large numbers of infections introduced into a community resulting from very few events themselves because they are large events."

Even if you test negative, Dr. Frieden says if you've been potentially exposed, you need to proceed with caution.

"Testing is not a get out of quarantine free card. You can test negative in the morning and be highly infectious in the afternoon," Dr. Frieden said. 

Family gatherings and big events are the types of gatherings that lead to cases the CDC is highlighting.

"A younger adult was mildly infected, went to a family gathering, and then subsequently resulted in infections of more high-risk adults," Dr. Martin said. "Everybody's household gets affected, everybody's workplace gets affected."

Health officials are still warning against large gatherings, and worry about bars and restaurants as well.

The good news is that more than seven months into the pandemic, Michigan hospitals are better prepared and slowing the spread is actually pretty easy if people continue to take precautions.

"We're better now at dealing with this as clinicians, as infectious disease experts...our staff simply understand the disease better," Dr. Frieden said. 

Michigan's chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said it's just three things to do.

"You can just wear your mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance (and) we will all be in a better place," she said.