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Kent County has Michigan's largest school COVID outbreak

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported Monday that 30 COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported in Michigan pre-kindergarten schools and universities as of last week, with many on the west side of the state, the Upper Peninsula and Macomb County.

The data come from COVID-19 outbreaks reported by local health departments each week to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as of the previous Thursday. An outbreak is defined as two or more COVID-19 cases among people who are from different households but may have shared exposure.

The largest outbreak occurred in Kent County, on the west side of the state, with 16 cases impacting three schools: Forest Hills Central High School in Grand Rapids reported four cases involving students; Forest Hills Northern High School in Grand Rapids reported six cases impacting students and staff and South Christian High School reported six cases involving students.

The second-largest outbreak occurred in Allegan County, also on the west side of the state, with seven cases involving students at Plainwell High School in Plainwell, and six cases involving students and staff at Martin High School in Martin.

Ottawa County, on the west side of Michigan, also reported three schools with seven collective cases: Lakeshore Middle School in Grand Haven, with three cases involving students; Libertas Christian School in Hudsonville, with two cases involving staff; and Zeeland West High School in Zeeland, with two cases involving students.

Meanwhile, 10 cases involving students and staff, occurred at Breitung Township Schools in Kingsford, a community in the Upper Peninsula.

A.D. Johnston High School in Bessemer in the U.P., recorded five cases among students and staff, while Finlandia University, a private Lutheran university in the Upper Peninsula, had two cases.

Macomb County also reported cases in four schools including: Iroquois Middle School in Macomb, with two cases impacting students; Mount Clemens Middle School in Mount Clemens with two cases involving students and staff; Lakeview High School in St. Clair Shores, with two cases involving students and Sugarbush Elementary School in Chesterfield, with three cases involving students and staff.

While it was widely reported over the weekend that three students recently tested positive for COVID-19 at Woodhaven High School, and 51 students and a staff member are in quarantine, Woodhaven High School was not on the state's list this week.

That's because the data unveiled publicly on Monday reflect local health department reports through Thursday, Oct. 22, health department spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin said.

"It’s possible (Woodhaven) learned of the outbreak after that date," Sutfin said. "Schools must report this information on their website within 24 hours of notification per this Emergency Order, so public notification would have already occurred and members of the school community have been notified."

A separate chart reports ongoing outbreaks at  pre-kindergarten-through-grade 12 schools and 34 colleges and universities across the state.

Topping the list is Michigan State University, off campus, with 1,664 cumulative cases involving students and staff since Sept. 14.

The University of Michigan had the second-highest number of cumulative cases, 1,092 involving students and staff, since Sept. 14.

Western Michigan University came in with the third-highest number of cumulative cases, 783 involving students and staff since Sept. 28. 

Grand Valley State University, which had the second-highest cumulative number of cases in last week's report, dropped off the state list of ongoing outbreaks this week. Sutfin said Ottawa County reported that the GVSU outbreak has passed two incubation periods without a new case connected to the outbreak and has closed.

All of the outbreaks are listed here.

kkozlowski@detroitnews.com