COVID outbreaks in schools quadruple, total number of clusters climbs 18% in Michigan

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Michigan health officials identified 356 active outbreaks of COVID-19 last week, an 18% increase from the previous week.

The latest weekly outbreak report included 106 new clusters, including 30 linked to K-12 schools, 19 to long-term care facilities and 13 linked to retail establishments.

In addition, there have been 250 active and ongoing outbreaks that have been carried over from previous outbreak reports. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services publishes an updated list online every week.

An outbreak is generally defined as an instance in which two or more cases are linked by location and time, indicating shared exposure outside of a household.

Some settings, such as nursing homes and youth programs, are easier to track outbreaks because of the testing requirements. Others, like social gatherings, bars and restaurants, are more difficult. Thus, the state warns that its number of epidemics is probably lower than the reality.

Schools have seen one of the largest increases in known active outbreaks, from 11 clusters a week ago to 45. School outbreaks have been reported in 23 counties including Berrien, Delta, Gladwin, Genesee, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ionia, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Marquette, Mason, Midland, Monroe, Oakland, Osceola, Ottawa, Shiawassee, St. Joseph, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

The largest groups involved 172 University of Michigan students and staff, 23 Adams Elementary School students and staff, 16 Eastern Michigan University students, and 14 University of Michigan students and staff. Gladwin Elementary School.

Below is an interactive map of the active COVID outbreaks noted in the September 7 School Outbreak Report. Hover over a colored dot to see the school and how many cases were linked to the given outbreak.

Can’t see the map? Click here

Outside of K-12 schools and colleges, the MDHHS does not identify specific locations or the number of coronavirus cases. However, it lists information by eight health district regions in the state. (Note that these regions have different numbers than the MI Safe Start plan.)

By region, the distribution of clusters:

  • Region 1 (Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston and Shiawassee counties): 54 clusters, with 23 new outbreaks and 31 ongoing.
  • Region 2N (Macomb, Oakland and St. Clair counties): 47 clusters, with 12 new outbreaks and 35 ongoing.
  • Region 2S (City of Detroit and Monroe, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties): 49 groups, with 10 new outbreaks and 39 ongoing epidemics.
  • Region 3 (Saginaw, Alcona, Iosco, Ogemaw, Arenac, Gladwin, Midland, Bay, Genesee, Tuscola, Lapeer, Sanilac and Huron counties): 51 clusters, with 20 new outbreaks and 31 ongoing.
  • Region 5 (Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Branch, St. Joseph, Cass, Berrien, Van Buren and Kalamazoo counties): 23 clusters, with seven new outbreaks and 16 ongoing.
  • Region 6 (Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola and Ottawa counties): 73 clusters, with 16 new outbreaks and 57 ongoing.
  • Region 7 (Counties of Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Oscoda, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Ilse, Cheboygan, Emmet and Charlevoix): 25 groups, including six new and 19 ongoing epidemics.
  • Region 8 (Upper Peninsula): 34 clusters, with 12 new outbreaks and 22 ongoing outbreaks.

By category, the households totaled:

  • 82 clusters (19 new and 63 ongoing) in long-term care facilities, which include skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, adult daycares and group homes.
  • 51 clusters (12 new and 39 in progress) were linked to manufacturing or construction sites.
  • 45 clusters (32 new and 13 ongoing) in K-12 schools or colleges. A total of 41 outbreaks involved K-12 schools, the remaining four outbreaks on or around college campuses.
  • 43 clusters (10 new and 33 ongoing) occurred in daycares or non-school youth programs.
  • 31 clusters (13 new and 18 ongoing) involved retail businesses.
  • 25 clusters (three new and 22 ongoing) related to private social gatherings, such as a wedding, funeral or party.
  • 15 clusters (three new and 12 ongoing) were linked to bars or restaurants.
  • 10 groups (one new and nine ongoing) were at health care sites, which would include hospitals, medical and dental offices, dialysis centers and other facilities providing health care services.
  • Nine clusters (two new and seven ongoing) related to an outdoor community exhibit such as a concert, rally, demonstration, parade, etc.
  • Seven clusters (four new and three ongoing) in offices.
  • Six groups (all ongoing) associated with religious services.
  • Five clusters (one new and four ongoing) related to personal services, such as a hair and / or manicure salon, or a gym or spa.
  • Five clusters (three new and two ongoing) in prisons and prisons.
  • Four clusters (all ongoing) in shelters for the homeless and others.
  • Four groups (all ongoing) in migrant camps or other agricultural workplaces, such as food processing factories.
  • Three clusters (one new and two ongoing) linked to an indoor community exhibition such as a concert, a meeting, etc.

Outbreaks will be removed from the database if there are no additional cases within a 14-day period, state officials from the MDHHS said.

State officials note that the graph does not provide a complete picture of outbreaks in Michigan, and the absence of an outbreak identified in a particular frame does not prove that the frame does not have outbreaks.

“Many factors, including the lack of the ability to perform effective contact tracing in certain settings, can lead to significant underreporting of outbreaks,” the state’s website read.

For more statewide data, visit MLive’s coronavirus data page, here. To find a testing site near you, check out the state’s online test finder, here, email [email protected], or call 888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Learn more about MLive:

What we know at this stage about natural immunity to COVID-19

442,000 unemployed Michiganders lose benefits this week: answers to common questions

Fauci says COVID vaccine booster approval for all adults likely in weeks

Safety concerns and confidence in the immune system among the reasons for COVID vaccine failure


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