State reports 74 new COVID-19 school outbreaks in last week

Michigan averaging more than 17,000 daily COVID cases since Friday

By: - January 19, 2022 4:33 pm

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Wednesday that a total of 1,832,716 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 28,980 have died from the virus — an additional 86,009 cases and 501 deaths since Friday.

The new numbers combine Saturday’s, Sunday’s, Monday’s and Tuesday’s recorded cases and deaths, with an average of 17,202 new confirmed cases per day. DHHS publishes COVID-19 data three times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but did not post an update on Monday due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

DHHS also reports that an additional 250,267 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 2,295 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 2,085,983 statewide cases and 31,275 deaths. 

As of Wednesday, there are 4,453 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 and another 194 hospitalized adults with suspected cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. There are also 114 children hospitalized with COVID-19 and 13 with suspected cases. 

The state is also reporting school- and sports-related COVID-19 outbreaks on a weekly basis. As of Wednesday, 242 pre-kindergarten-12 schools are reporting new or ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Of those, 74 are new outbreaks reported Wednesday.

The DHHS issued a school guidance Jan. 10 to strongly recommend a universal mask mandate in schools along with other CDC-developed prevention strategies.

The state stopped reporting COVID-19 outbreaks in colleges and universities 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 121 pre-kindergarten-12 schools with outbreaks of 10 cases or more, including H. H. Dow High School (121 cases), Midland High School (108 cases), Western High School (100 cases), Lenawee Intermediate School District Tech Center  (90 cases), Bullock Creek High School (88 cases), Lapeer High School (83 cases), St. Johns Middle School (82 cases) and Pinconning High School (76 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 Tuesday, it was aware of 2,957 cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff since the week of Aug. 2. University of Michigan reports that last week, 306 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 1.6%.

Michigan’s test positivity rate was 33.7% as of Thursday. Total cases are likely being undercounted due to the fact that at-home test kit results are often not reported to the state.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 99.3% of cases in the region that includes Michigan are of the omicron variant of COVID-19. They estimate that .7% are the delta variant.

As of Friday, the state reports that 1,382,066 people have recovered from COVID-19.

DHHS also reports that 5,489,921 Michigan residents, accounting for 58.3% of the state’s total population, have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, indicating at least two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Another 549,061 residents have been partially vaccinated, indicating they have received the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines but have not yet received the second.

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 335.6 million confirmed cases worldwide and 5.6 million deaths. The United States makes up a significant portion of those, as 68 million confirmed cases and 855,371 deaths have been recorded nationally.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered 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.