There were 83 new COVID-19 outbreaks linked to schools last week, resulting in the infection of at least 477 students and staff, according to the state health department’s latest weekly report.
Michigan’s health officials are also tracking 321 ongoing school outbreaks from previous weeks, which have affected at least 3,050 Michiganders. Ongoing outbreaks include clusters identified in previous weeks that had at least one additional case in the past 28 days.
In total, there were 404 active outbreaks affecting 3,527 students and staff as of Monday, Oct. 11. That’s an increase of 8.3% total active outbreaks from the Oct. 4 report.
Until recently, an outbreak was defined by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as two or more cases with a link by place and time indicating a shared exposure outside of a household. However, on Monday, Sept. 27, MDHHS announced it would increase the minimum outbreak threshold to three people, “in order to promote consistent reporting among states.” The change will inevitably result in fewer reported outbreaks, and make it difficult to compare new weekly outbreak reports to those from earlier in the pandemic.
Schools continue to be the most common setting for reported COVID-19 outbreaks, and individuals 5 to 18 years old represent the largest increase in cases since Sept. 1. Part of that is because children younger than 12 aren’t eligible for a vaccine, and less than 50% of the eligible teens have gotten a shot.
Additionally, only 222 school districts have a mask policy, compared to 311 that have no mask policy. The CDC recommends a layer approach to prevention strategies, including promoting vaccinations, correctly wearing masks, allowing for physical distancing and promoting screening and testing for illness.
Among the 83 new school outbreaks, seven involved 10 or more students and staff. The largest outbreak reported was at Pennfield High School in Battle Creek, where 46 students were infected. At Alma College, 32 students were infected, while 17 students and staff tested positive for COVID at Owosso Middle School.
While K-12 schools make up the majority of outbreaks, college outbreaks are typically responsible for the majority of individuals affected by the outbreak. The University of Michigan has the largest ongoing outbreak, with 342 affected students and staff.
Below is an online database that allows readers to search outbreak data by school name or by city or county. The number of those infected is a cumulative total since the original outbreak. (Note: Washtenaw County only reports cumulative totals for the past 28 days.)
Can’t see the database above? Click here.
Below is an interactive map showing both new and ongoing outbreaks listed in Monday’s report. You can put your cursor over a dot to see the underlying data.
Can’t see the map? Click here.
Outbreak data for K-12 schools includes only cases in which the student or staff was infected at school or at a school-related function. Those who caught the virus outside of school are not included.
The state includes this disclaimer with the data: “This information does not provide a complete picture of school-related outbreaks in Michigan and the absence of identified outbreaks in an educational institution in no way provides evidence that, in fact, that school is not experiencing an outbreak.”
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, send an email to COVID19@michigan.gov, or call 888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.
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477 infected across 83 new COVID outbreaks at Michigan schools – MLive.com