Nine more COVID-19 outbreaks at Michigan K-12 schools, universities

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Nine new COVID-19 school outbreaks were reported Monday by state health officials, including an outbreak with 14 cases among students and staff at Howell High School in Livingston County.

Of the nine new outbreaks, seven are at K-12 schools and two are at Northern Michigan University, one among students and one among administration.

Just as many universities and schools open their doors, state health officials have resumed posting weekly data reports on school outbreaks.

The number of new school outbreaks reported by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services grew from one last week to nine on Monday.

Other outbreaks reported Monday include two cases among Tecumseh High School's freshman football team and a separate outbreak of three cases at its girls cross country team. 

Negaunee High School has two cases, Fulton High School in Middleton had four cases and Troy Athens High has two cases, according to the state. Hunt Elementary in Jackson reported two cases.

The state also has four ongoing school outbreaks, including one at the University of Michigan which had 86 cases among its undergraduates. Lapeer High School has five cases.

In Kalamazoo, a kindergarten class has four ongoing cases and a fourth-grade class has two.

Several counties, including Wayne and Oakland, have implemented mask orders for K-12 schools. 

Macomb County health officials and school superintendents, meanwhile, are still contemplating possible strategies as Executive Mark Hackel said the county doesn't believe "there is one side or one-size-fits-all" approach.

Several Macomb districts have mask mandates, such as Warren Consolidated Schools, while others do not, including Utica Community Schools, the county's largest school district.

Other counties have issued mask mandates, including Genesee, Kalamazoo, Allegan, Kent and Ottawa, although some, like Genesee, only require masks for students in grades K-6.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has defended her decision to forgo a statewide student mask mandate.

Eastern Michigan University has a classroom mask mandate for students regardless of vaccination status. More than half the state’s 15 public universities are not requiring a vaccine.

Michigan added 5,020 COVID-19 cases and 26 deaths from the virus on Monday, including totals from Saturday and Sunday. 

Amid concerns about the more contagious delta variant, the tallies from the state Department of Health and Human Services pushed overall totals to 946,698 cases and 20,256 deaths since the virus was first detected in the state in March 2020.

Michigan's COVID-19 infection numbers have been trending upward for a month.

The weekly record of 50,892 cases was set Nov. 15-21. The second highest weekly total was 47,316 Nov. 22-28.