State reports 140 new COVID-19 outbreaks in schools in last week ⋆

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Monday that a total of 1,259,261 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 23,315 have died from the virus — an additional 17,008 cases and 83 deaths since Friday.

The new numbers combine Saturday’s, Sunday’s and Monday’s recorded cases and deaths, with an average of 5,669 new confirmed cases per day. DHHS publishes COVID-19 data three times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The deaths announced include 32 deaths identified during a vital records review. DHHS conducts this review process two times per week.

DHHS also reports that an additional 166,166 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 1,609 probable deaths. The department began tracking probable cases on April 5, 2020.

Combining the state’s confirmed positive cases with probable cases brings the total up to 1,408,419 statewide cases and 24,841 deaths.

As all Michigan schools have begun 2021-22 classes, the state is reporting school- and sports-related COVID-19 outbreaks on a weekly basis. As of Monday, 610 pre-kindergarten-12 schools and eight universities — Alma College, Grand Valley State University, University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Northwood University, Lawrence Technological University, Northern Michigan University and Hope College — are reporting new or ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Of those, 140 are new outbreaks reported Monday.

There are 233 pre-kindergarten-12 schools with outbreaks of 10 cases or more, including Western High School (83 cases), Ovid Elsie High School (70 cases), Handy Middle School (67 cases), Bullock Creek High School (67 cases), Garber High School (66 cases), Pinconning High School (63 cases), St. Johns Middle School (60 cases) and Meridian Early College High School (60 cases).

Seven of the colleges and universities have outbreaks of 10 cases or more, including Northwood University in Midland (58 cases), Lawrence Technological University in Southfield (21 cases), Alma College (57 cases), University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (599 cases), Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti (35 cases), Grand Valley State University (60 cases) and Hope College in Holland (11 cases). 

Michigan State University was not included in the DHHS list, but the school reported that as of Monday, it is aware of 920 cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff since the week of Aug. 2. 

There are some holes in the state’s reporting of school-related outbreaks, as DHHS doesn’t track individual COVID-19 cases in schools and relies on local health departments to track and report. 

To be considered an outbreak, the local health department must have found three or more COVID-19 cases that may have shared exposure on school grounds and are from different households. Previously, the state considered an outbreak to be two or more COVID-19 cases. 

Case counts for school-related outbreaks include those associated with before and after school programs and cases originating from on-campus and off-campus student housing. 

According to DHHS spokesperson Lynn Sutfin, students or staff who were exposed to COVID-19 outside of school grounds and are not thought to have spread the disease on the school grounds are not included in the report.

The virus has been detected in all of Michigan’s 83 counties. The state’s COVID-19 fatality rate is currently at 1.9%.

As of Nov. 5, the state reports that 1,075,956 people have recovered from COVID-19.

The first two cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state on March 10, 2020. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency that day.

Johns Hopkins University reports that there are about 258 million confirmed cases worldwide and 5.2 million deaths. The United States makes up a significant portion of those, as 47.8 million confirmed cases and 771,679 deaths have been recorded nationally.

authored by Allison R. Donahue
First published at

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