State reports 101 new COVID-19 outbreaks in schools

By: - October 18, 2021 2:49 pm

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Monday that a total of 1,090,021 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 21,609 have died from the virus — an additional 8,496 cases and 46 deaths since Friday.

The new numbers combine Saturday’s, Sunday’s and Monday’s recorded cases and deaths, with an average of 2,832 new confirmed cases per day. DHHS publishes COVID-19 data three times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The deaths announced include 15 deaths identified during a vital records review. DHHS conducts this review process two times per week.

DHHS also reports that an additional 139,035 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 1,408 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 1,229,056 statewide cases and 23,017 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, 413 pre-kindergarten-12 schools and seven universities — Alma College, Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Saginaw Valley State University, University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University and Concordia University — are reporting new or ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Of those, 101 are new outbreaks reported Monday.

There are 109 pre-kindergarten-12 schools with outbreaks of 10 cases or more, including Cedar Springs High School (61 cases), Eisenhower High School (53 cases), Pennfield High School (52 cases), Handy Middle School (48 cases), Western High School (47 cases) and Adlai E. Stevenson High School (45 cases).

Four of the colleges and universities have outbreaks of 10 cases or more, including Alma College (32 cases), University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (253 cases), Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti (16 cases) and Grand Valley State University in Allendale (23 cases).

Michigan State University was not included in the DHHS list, but the school reported that as of Monday, it is aware of 594 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 2%.

As of Friday, the state reports that 962,955 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 241 million confirmed cases worldwide and 4.9 million deaths. The United States makes up a significant portion of those, as 45 million confirmed cases and 725,199 deaths have been recorded nationally.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.