COVID Outbreaks in Michigan Schools Rise 47% in 2 Weeks; some come back from a distance

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April 23 update: in Ypsilanti, the COVID case of a bus driver closes the school of 2,000 students

April 9 update: No new restrictions, but Michigan needs help amid COVID outbreak, says Whitmer

COVID cases continue to rise in Michigan classrooms, with school outbreaks surging 23% over the past week in a state that has been hardest hit in the country by the wave of the pandemic .

In the face of the latest wave, some Michigan schools are falling back to fully online learning the week before or after spring break, hoping the break will slow the spread of the virus.

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The number of outbreaks linked to Michigan preschools and preschools rose to 296, from 241 the week before, according to data released Monday. Epidemics increased 23% in one week and 47% in two weeks.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus linked to these epidemics jumped 17% in one week, from 1,859 to 2,175.

Health officials define an outbreak as two or more cases linked to the same event or location, outside the family home.

According to the report, there have been new outbreaks in 28 counties over the past week, including an outbreak involving 22 new cases of COVID-19 among students and staff reported at high schools in Bay City public schools.

“Looking at our percentage of positivity, the number of cases and hospitalizations, I am deeply concerned,” Linda Vail, Ingham County health officer, said in a statement. “Having said that, looking at our vaccination rates, I’m really hopeful. We are at a crossroads in the pandemic. ”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered middle and high schools to close in November due to the increase in COVID cases, at a time when cases were lower than they are now.

A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said last week that the state has no plans to close schools again, at least in part because most teachers are now fully vaccinated.

However, some school districts are making the decision to revert to fully distance learning on their own.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District, the state’s largest school district, will revert to fully distance learning for two weeks after spring break, with students scheduled to return to class on April 19.

Students at Ypsilanti community schools were due to return to class this week after spring break, but classes will be entirely remote until April 12 due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County .

In Oakland County, schools in the Troy School District and Hazel Park School District will both remain out of classrooms for an additional week.

On Monday, the Ingham County Health Department recommended, but did not require, county schools that include Lansing to keep grades 6 to 12 students out of classrooms until April 19. . Most schools in Ingham are on spring break this week.

The weeklong hiatus from in-person learning for middle and high school students should be paired with rapid tests for students who traveled during spring break, the health department said in its statement.

It was not immediately clear how many school districts in Ingham would follow the Department of Health’s recommendation.

The overall COVID-19 test positivity rate for the past week in Ingham County was 15.2% – the highest rate since April 2020.

Even as state health officials rush to get vaccines up to guns, Michigan is hit by a third wave of the pandemic. Michigan currently has the highest test positivity rate and the highest number of new cases per 100,000 people in the country.

On Monday, the statewide test positivity rate over the past week was 15.9%.

The state’s goal during the pandemic is to keep the positivity rate at 3% or less, which it has sometimes achieved. A higher positivity rate indicates greater community spread of the virus.

Despite school safety precautions such as mandatory masks and, in many districts, hybrid models in which students are only in classrooms a few days a week, schools have faced the same push. than the communities in which they are located.

Last week, several Metro Detroit superintendents held an online press conference to warn that if COVID cases continued to rise, schools would find it difficult to stay open for the remainder of the school year, which ends. in June.

The Kent Intermediate School District has set up several rapid and remote testing sites in the county, following the advice of state health officials who have encouraged schools to offer rapid tests to any student who wants them on their own. back from spring break, similar to rapid tests. schools were required to donate to athletes who compete against other schools.

Said Vail of the Ingham Health Department, “by keeping students home from school for an extra week and using rapid tests to screen travelers, we could turn the tide in our favor.”


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