State reports 46 new COVID-19 outbreaks in schools in last week

Michigan has 16,590 new cases since Friday

By: - December 6, 2021 4:12 pm

Guests at the Oakland Together COVID-19 Tribute Walk at Waterford Oaks County Park in Waterford Township are encouraged to write the names of loved ones lost to COVID-19 on a large yellow heart with black ribbon, and stories of small acts of kindness that helped them get through the pandemic on a large green heart. The memorial opened to invited guests March 10, the one year anniversary of the first known case of COVID-19 in Michigan. (Andrew Roth | Michigan Advance)

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Monday that a total of 1,353,156 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 24,494 have died from the virus — an additional 16,590 cases and 127 deaths since Friday.

The new numbers combine Saturday’s, Sunday’s and Monday’s recorded cases and deaths, with an average of 5,530 new confirmed cases per day. DHHS publishes COVID-19 data three times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The deaths announced include 47 deaths identified during a vital records review. DHHS conducts this review process two times per week.

DHHS also reports that an additional 181,991 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 1,745 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 1,535,147 statewide cases and 26,239 deaths.

The state is also reporting school- and sports-related COVID-19 outbreaks on a weekly basis. As of Monday, 557 pre-kindergarten-12 schools are reporting new or ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Of those, 46 are new outbreaks reported Monday.

The state stopped reporting COVID-19 outbreaks in colleges and universities last week to “streamline the local health department weekly outbreak reporting survey to focus on congregate settings where patients and staff might be more at risk for infection and/or experience severe outcomes from infection” during the current surge in cases.

There are 227 pre-kindergarten-12 schools with outbreaks of 10 cases or more, including Western High School (92 cases), Bullock Creek High School (78 cases), Pinconning High School (72 cases), Handy Middle School (71 cases), Ovid Elsie High School (71 cases), St. Johns Middle School (71 cases), Garber High School (70 cases) and Lapeer High School (66 cases).

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.

Michigan’s two largest universities, University of Michigan and Michigan State University, are reporting significant outbreaks. 

Michigan State University reported that as of Monday, it is aware of 1,089 cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff since the week of Aug. 2. University of Michigan reports that within the last 14 days, 283 staff and students have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The virus has been detected in all of Michigan’s 83 counties. The state’s COVID-19 fatality rate is currently at 1.8%.

As of Friday, the state reports that 1,126,184 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 266.2 million confirmed cases worldwide and 5.3 million deaths. The United States makes up a significant portion of those, as 49.2 million confirmed cases and 788,921 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.