Michigan reports spike of 610 new COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths

Levin calls East Lansing outbreak a ‘cautionary tale’

Susan J. Demas

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports Wednesday that 67,237 Michiganders have tested positive for COVID-19 and 6,015 have died from the virus — a jump of 610 cases and 10 deaths since Tuesday.

DHHS also notes that an additional 7,314 Michiganders have been identified as “probable” cases for COVID-19, as well as 247 probable deaths. The department began tracking probable cases on April 5. Combining the state’s confirmed positive cases with probable cases brings the total up to 74,551 statewide cases and 6,262 deaths.

It’s the highest number of daily cases reported since late May. In recent days, both the Lansing and Grand Rapids regions have been categorized by the state as “high risk” for more outbreaks.  

Andy Levin sporting an Elizabeth Warren pin after the first debate | Andrew Roth

U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.) this week noted an outbreak tied to Harper’s Restaurant and Brew Pub near Michigan State University in East Lansing in calling for more educational institutions to center reopening plans around the need to test students, faculty and staff. The Ingham County Health Department reports 170 cases — of which 27 are secondary, meaning a person contracted the virus from someone who had it first  — stem from that bar alone.

Levin, speaking at a Tuesday House committee hearing on how COVID-19 impacts higher education, said the situation at Harper’s serves as a “cautionary tale.”

“What happened in Lansing is a cautionary tale of the risk involved in reopening college campuses this fall,” said Levin, who vice chairs the House Committee on Education and Labor. “We can’t just think about classrooms and dorms. Colleges anchor entire communities — restaurants, bars, stores and so on.”

After being just one of three states categorized as “on track to contain COVID” in mid-June, Michigan is now at high-risk of a COVID-19 outbreak, according to the data model COVID Act Now.

While Michigan’s positive test rate (2.3%) and intensive care unit (ICU) headroom used (12%) remain low — indicating widespread testing and a case rate unlikely to overwhelm hospitals —  the state’s infection rate is at 1.1 and there is insufficient contact tracing to effectively prevent new outbreaks. An infection rate of 1.1 means that every person carrying the virus is infecting an average of 1.1 other people. 

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The virus has now been detected in all of Michigan’s 83 counties. Ontonagon County in the western U.P. had been the last county not to report any cases, but now has a single case.

The state’s COVID-19 fatality rate is at 9%.

The first two cases of COVID-19 were reported in the state on March 10. Whitmer declared a state of emergency that day.

Johns Hopkins University reports that there are a little more than 11.9 million confirmed cases worldwide and 545,728 deaths. In the United States, there are now more than three million confirmed cases and 131,857 deaths have been recorded.