State reports 117 new COVID-19 school outbreaks in last week

By: - January 24, 2022 4:15 pm

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Monday that a total of 2,905,639 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 29,226 have died from the virus — an additional 29,226 and 36 deaths since Friday.

The new numbers combine Saturday’s, Sunday’s and Monday’s recorded cases and deaths, with an average of 13,124 new confirmed cases per day. DHHS publishes COVID-19 data three times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The DHHS also reported Monday that 4,145 people are hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases. Of those individuals, 747 are in intensive care units and 467 are on ventilators. There are 107 children hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.

DHHS reported that an additional 262,728 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 2,313 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 2,168,367 statewide cases and 31,539 deaths.

The state is also reporting school- and sports-related COVID-19 outbreaks on a weekly basis. As of Wednesday, 309 pre-kindergarten-12 schools are reporting new or ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Of those, 117 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 132 pre-kindergarten-12 schools with outbreaks of 10 cases or more, including Lapeer High School (108 cases), Western High School (100 cases), Lenawee Intermediate School District Tech Center (90 cases), Grayling High School (87 cases), Croswell Lexington High School (83 cases), Pinconning High School (78 cases), Caro High School (78 cases) and Garber High School (75 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, 1,200 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 1.5%.

As of Thursday, the state reports that 1,421,905 people have recovered from COVID-19.

However, this is the final update the state will do on recovery data, according to the DHHS. The state said the case fatality rates and proportion of persons who do die and recover are “no longer a useful metric to estimate the true number of recovered persons.”

“The surveillance definition described above simplified the number of recovered cases to essentially include those who did not die of COVID-19 within the 30 day timeframe. Included in the recovered data would be persons who died without COVID-19 noted on their death certificate (potentially not recovered) and persons who do not expire but experience long COVID – which cannot be identified from current case surveillance methods,” the DHHS noted on the site. 

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 354 million confirmed cases worldwide and 5.6 million deaths. The United States makes up a significant portion of those, as 71.2 million confirmed cases and 867,708 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.

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