State reports 99 new COVID-19 school outbreaks in last week

By: - February 7, 2022 6:17 pm

Dave Cummings/States Newsroom

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Monday that a total of 2,019,119 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 30,417 have died from the virus — an additional 9,898 cases and 38 deaths since Friday.

The new numbers combine Saturday’s, Sunday’s and Monday’s recorded cases and deaths, with an average of 3,299 new confirmed cases per day. DHHS publishes COVID-19 data three times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The DHHS also reported Monday that 2,639 people are hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases. Of those individuals, 521 are in intensive care units and 334 are on ventilators. There are 69 children hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.

DHHS reported that an additional 287,034 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 2,494 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 2,306,153 statewide cases and 32,911 deaths.

The state is also reporting school- and sports-related COVID-19 outbreaks on a weekly basis. As of Monday, there are 490 new or ongoing COVID-19 clusters or outbreaks in pre-kindergarten-12 schools. 

Of those, 99 are new outbreaks reported Monday.

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 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 was aware of 3,695 cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff since the week of Aug. 2. MSU went back to in-person learning this week. University of Michigan reports that, as of the week of Jan. 29, 570 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%.

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 396.7 million confirmed cases worldwide and 5.7 million deaths. The United States makes up a significant portion of those, as 76.7 million confirmed cases and 904,718 deaths have been recorded nationally.

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Julia Forrest
Julia Forrest

Julia Forrest is a contributor to the Michigan Advance. She has been covering Michigan and national politics for two years at the Michigan Daily and OpenSecrets. She studies public policy at the University of Michigan.