9 Out of 10 Survey Respondents in Michigan Say They Would Follow a Shelter in Place Recommendation, According to Poll by Altarum

March 23, 2020

Ann Arbor, MI — Ninety percent of Michigan residents stated they would follow a shelter in place recommendation according to a poll released today by Altarum, a nonprofit organization that supports Michigan’s public health, surveillance, and outbreak management systems.

Over 7,000 Michigan residents have completed the online poll about COVID-19 perspectives, attitudes, and behaviors since Thursday, March 19.

“It’s critical to understand public perception in this rapidly changing crisis in order to effectively influence specific behaviors and reduce the spread of coronavirus,” said Dan Armijo, Chief Operating Officer of Altarum.

Altarum conducted the poll to understand what people in Michigan are thinking, feeling, and doing about COVID-19. This poll asks about risk factors, preventive behaviors, concerns, and sources of information about COVID-19. This allows us to understand how respondents’ feelings and behaviors change over time, as well as how certain thoughts and behaviors might be related.  All of this helps Michigan better respond to the outbreak.

Full interactive survey results are available at altarum.org/COVID/results. Below are the key findings:

  • 9 out of 10 survey respondents say they would follow a shelter in place recommendation, but 1 out of 10 would probably not.
  • Nearly all (97%) think social distancing is necessary.
  • 2 out of 3 people (64%) report someone in their household is at high risk.
  • 1 out of 10 people reported possible COVID symptoms in their household in the past week.
  • Respondents’ top three concerns are:
    • A relative getting infected (6 out of 10) 
    • Access to testing (4 out of 10)
    • Getting infected themselves (1 out of 3)
  • People are currently least concerned about running out of necessities (only 1 out of 8).
  • The most trusted sources of information was the CDC (8 out of 10), and state/local governments (6 out of 10) while the least trusted source was social media (1 out of 20).

Altarum maintains the state of Michigan’s disease surveillance capability. This includes things like syndromic surveillance which is a real-time monitoring of presenting symptoms at all or nearly all emergency rooms across the state and disease surveillance which is based off lab reporting of confirmed cases.

This statewide poll we are conducting includes questions which augment that surveillance capability and help inform on the ground response in communities across the state.  We are finding significant county-level variances in people engaging in risk behaviors, in the percent of the population taking appropriate public health protections, and in the percent of households reporting symptoms.  Understanding those helps target the response (and resources) to particular communities and better target public health messaging.

Please take five minutes to take the poll, which is available at altarum.org.  At this time we are particularly interested in reaching more households in Wayne County and in rural counties across the state.

“These are very early results, but based on activity so far we’re finding the public is eager to share how they are coping with this rapidly evolving public health crisis,” said Dan Armijo, Chief Operating Officer of Altarum.

While these results have been weighted by age and gender to better represent the state’s population, they are potentially biased because this is an opt-in poll and these results are early.  In tandem, Altarum also is conducting a series of more traditional representative surveys and will make those results publicly available as we receive them.

Altarum is a nonprofit organization that works with federal and state agencies and foundations to design and implement solutions to improve the health of individuals with fewer financial resources and populations disenfranchised by the health care system. We achieve measurable results by combining our expertise in public health and health care delivery with technology, workforce training and continuing education, applied research, and technical assistance. Our innovative solutions lead to better health for beneficiaries and better value for payers.