State reports 47 new school outbreaks in the last week

By: - December 13, 2021 4:25 pm

Tony Webster/States Newsroom

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Monday that a total of 1,396,467 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 25,240 have died from the virus — an additional 16,143 cases and 160 deaths since Friday.

The new numbers combine Saturday’s, Sunday’s and Monday’s recorded cases and deaths, with an average of 5,381 new confirmed cases per day. DHHS publishes COVID-19 data three times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The deaths announced include 36 deaths identified during a vital records review. DHHS conducts this review process two times per week.

DHHS also reports that an additional 188,830 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 1,840 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 1,585,297 statewide cases and 27,080 deaths.

The state is also reporting school- and sports-related COVID-19 outbreaks on a weekly basis. As of Monday, 523 pre-kindergarten-12 schools are reporting new or ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Of those, 47 are new outbreaks reported Monday.

The state stopped reporting COVID-19 outbreaks in colleges and universities on Nov. 30 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 221 pre-kindergarten-12 schools with outbreaks of 10 cases or more, including Western High School (98 cases), Bullock Creek High School (83 cases), St. Johns Middle School (77 cases), Pinconning High School (75 cases), Handy Middle School (72 cases), Ovid Elsie High School (72 cases), Garber High School (71 cases) and Lapeer High School (69 cases). 

Michigan’s case numbers — 569 per 100,000 people — are the highest the state has seen throughout the pandemic, health officials reported during a Dec. 10, 2021 press conference. | Screen shot

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 1,210 cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff since the week of Aug. 2. University of Michigan’s COVID-19 dashboard was down at the time of publication. Last week the university reported 283 staff and students had tested positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period. . 

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 1,146,495 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 270.5 million confirmed cases worldwide and 5.3 million deaths. The United States makes up a significant portion of those, as 50 million confirmed cases and 797,916 deaths have been recorded nationally.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

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.

MORE FROM AUTHOR