COVID-19 outbreaks in Michigan's schools grow for fourth straight week

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Michigan health officials reported 106 new COVID-19 outbreaks at K-12 schools across the state on Monday, with the majority of new cases at elementary and high schools.

Outbreaks have grown each week for four straight weeks since classes resumed.

The largest new outbreak was at Meridian Early College High School in Midland where 23 student cases were reported. In St. Clair County, Palms Elementary School had 20 cases among students and staff.

Across the state, there were 44 outbreaks at elementary schools, 33 at high schools, 27 at middle schools or junior highs and one in an administration building.

Saginaw Valley State University reported an outbreak among four members of its swim team.

Midland County has the largest number of K-12 schools with outbreaks followed by Ionia County and Kent County. Last week, the state reported 98 new outbreaks at K-12 schools and universities.

Last week, in its weekly report, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported ongoing outbreaks at nine colleges including Alma College (2 cases); Central Michigan University (8); Adrian College (12); Northern Michigan University (6); Grand Valley State University (6) and Saginaw Valley State University (4).

The largest ongoing outbreak in higher education is at the University of Michigan, with 506 cases involving students and staff. 

Michigan State University is aware of 381 cases of COVID-19 cases since the week of Aug. 2, according to the university's COVID-19 dashboard. That data is not reported by the state health department. 

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail told The Detroit News earlier this month she has not reported MSU's case numbers to the state health department because she has not received information from the university about where infected students contracted the disease. To be considered a school-related outbreak, she'd have to determine that the transmission happened on school grounds among members of different households. 

Some transmission is likely happening on campus, but "finding linked cases in essentially a city of almost 50,000 people broadly is really challenging," Vail said.

On Monday, Michigan added 7,733 cases and 35 deaths from COVID-19, including cases from Saturday and Sunday.

The latest tallies from the state Department of Health and Human Services push the overall totals to 1,015,802 cases and 20,898 deaths since the virus was first detected in the state in March 2020.

Michigan's COVID-19 infection numbers have been trending upward for 12 weeks amid concerns over the highly contagious delta variant.