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Virus outbreak reported at Ypsilanti Eagles club, health officials say

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Washtenaw County health officials are warning residents about possible COVID-19 exposure at a Fraternal Order of Eagles club in Ypsilanti after more than 30 cases have been linked to the site.

"Multiple events and ongoing operations between Oct. 31 and Nov. 10 are associated with at least 31 confirmed cases and over 40 close contact exposures among staff, members, and guests" at Fraternal Order of Eagles No. 2250, the health department said in a statement Wednesday. "Face coverings and social distance were reportedly inconsistently used or not used at all, contributing to rapid spread of illness and the high number of exposures."

Officials with the club at 2935 Holmes posted a message Friday on its Facebook page saying they had 19 confirmed cases by then and were performing deep cleaning before re-opening.

This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

Anyone who visited between Halloween and Nov. 10 is asked to watch for COVID-19 symptoms, stay home when possible, maintain social distancing and wear a mask when around others for 14 days after their last visit, the health department said.

Free testing is available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the county Health Department, 555 Towner, Ypsilanti. Participants can pre-register.

The health department on Wednesday announced a new drive-through testing site in Ann Arbor offered through LynxDx and the 2|42 Community Center.

Meanwhile, the Eagles club is closed as the health department investigates whether positive cases tied to the outbreak there visited other establishments while infectious, authorities said.

“This situation illustrates how quickly COVID-19 can spread and impact a large number of people, particularly when there are gatherings without good use of prevention measures like face coverings,” said Jimena Loveluck, health officer for Washtenaw County, on Wednesday.

“With our local cases at their highest levels since the pandemic began and hospitalizations increasing, we all must do everything we can to prevent additional spread. It’s up to us to work together to protect each other and our loved ones as well as our health care workers, public health workers and everyone serving and protecting the public.”

Washtenaw County has reported more than 7,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases this year, according to the health department website.

Meanwhile, state officials on Wednesday added 5,772 more coronavirus cases and 62 deaths.

The additions bring the state's total of confirmed cases to 277,806 and 8,190 deaths since the virus was first detected there in March, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services data shows.

In the last seven days, Michigan has ranked sixth among states nationwide for the highest number of cases and fifth in most deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The recent surge in cases prompted state officials this week to order temporarily pausing in-person instruction at high schools and colleges, suspending in-person dining at restaurants and bars, as well as closing bowling alleys, movie theaters and casinos.

Under the rules, effective Wednesday through Dec. 8, indoor residential gatherings are limited to two households at any one time.