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COVID spikes among teens in South Lyon, Fenton as Mich. adds 664 new cases

South Lyon — The health departments of Oakland, Livingston and Genesee counties report a more than five-fold spike in COVID cases among teenagers in the last two weeks, and they're blaming it on large parties.

The spike comes as Michigan reported eight additional deaths from coronavirus Tuesday and added 664 new cases. In the past five days, the state had 29 deaths from the virus.

The state's overall case tally reached 84,050 and the death count hit 6,220, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

In the South Lyon area in southwest Oakland County, there were 42 COVID cases reported among 15- to 19-year-olds between mid-July and early August. That's up from just three from the start of July to mid-month.

"Some of the cases reported attending large indoor and outdoor gatherings, including graduation parties and prom-like events, during July," said a joint release from the three health departments.

In Livingston County, the numbers jumped to 19 from three cases in early to mid-July. In Genesee County, the numbers jumped to 94 from 19.

Combined, that's 155 cases over the most recent two-week period, compared to 25 in the previous two weeks.

The three health departments are investigating potential exposure to the infected teens, and say they are aware of "at least six large gatherings" from mid- to late July.

Health officials urge anyone who attended one of the gatherings to get tested. Symptoms appear somewhere between two and 14 days after exposure, the statement said. They include fatigue, body aches, sore throats, headaches and nausea.

The three-county statement did not mention any deaths among the teens affected.

When probable cases are included, the state's overall death tally is 6,436 and cases total 92,374.

Of those infected, the statewide fatality rate has dropped from 9.5% in June to 7.5% in August.

Other states are adding new cases at higher rates than Michigan, which once ranked third nationally for cases and deaths. As of Tuesday afternoon, Michigan ranked No. 18 for total cases — confirmed and probable — and ninth for deaths linked to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In recent days, Virginia, Ohio, Alabama and South Carolina surpassed Michigan for total cases, according to the university's tracking.

Deaths and hospitalizations due to the virus remain relatively low statewide. Michigan hospitals reported 694 COVID-19 inpatients Monday, including 229 in critical care and 243 on ventilators. The hospitals are at 70% capacity. 

That's similar to where things stood two weeks ago, when hospitals reported 439 COVID inpatients, 209 in critical care and 88 on ventilators. 

In long-term care facilities, 7,782 residents have confirmed cases, another 6,000 have recovered or are recovering. Since March, 2,022 residents and 22 staff members have died from the virus.

As of Friday, 60,022 Michigan residents were considered "recovered" from the coronavirus, meaning they were still alive 30 days after the onset of their symptoms.