State reports 56 new COVID-19 school outbreaks in last week

By: - February 14, 2022 4:39 pm

Susan J. Demas

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Monday that a total of 2,037,742 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 30,959 have died from the virus — an additional 5,380 cases and 60 deaths since Friday.

The new numbers combine Saturday’s, Sunday’s and Monday’s recorded cases and deaths, with an average of 1,793 new confirmed cases per day. DHHS publishes COVID-19 data three times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The DHHS also reported Monday that 2,236 people are hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases. Of those individuals, 370 are in intensive care units and 217 are on ventilators. There are 70 children hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.

DHHS reported that an additional 293,360 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 2,559 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 2,331,102 statewide cases and 33,518 deaths.

The state is also reporting school- and sports-related COVID-19 outbreaks on a weekly basis. As of Monday, there are 449 new or ongoing COVID-19 clusters or outbreaks in pre-kindergarten-12 schools. 

Of those, 56 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 207 pre-kindergarten-12 schools with outbreaks of 10 cases or more, including Lapeer High School (149 cases), Caro High School (122), Grayling High School (114 cases), Croswell Lexington High School (104 cases), and Bay City Central High School (81). 

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 Jan. 31, it was aware of 3,847 cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff since the week of Aug. 2. University of Michigan reports that, as of the seven-day period ending Feb. 5, 333 staff and students 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 412.6 million confirmed cases worldwide and 5.8 million deaths. The United States makes up a significant portion of those, as 77.8 million confirmed cases and 920,621 deaths have been recorded nationally.

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Anna Gustafson
Anna Gustafson

Anna Gustafson is the assistant editor at Michigan Advance, where her beats include economic justice, health care and immigration. Previously the founder of the Muskegon Times and the editor at Rapid Growth Media in Grand Rapids, Anna has worked as an editor and reporter for news outlets across the country. She began her journalism career reporting on state politics in Wisconsin and has gone on to cover government, racial justice and immigration reform in New York City, education in Connecticut, the environment in Wyoming, and more. Previously, Anna lived in Argentina and Morocco, and, when she’s not working, she’s often trying to perfect the empanada and couscous recipes she fell in love with in these countries. You’ll likely also find her working on her century-old home in downtown Lansing, writing that ever-elusive novel and hiking throughout Michigan.