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COVID-19 outbreaks dip another 42% in Michigan in June 21 report

MLive Ann Arbor logo MLive Ann Arbor 6/22/2021 Justin P. Hicks, mlive.com
a sign on a pole: Hackley Community Care COVID-19 curbside testing site at 2700 Baker Street in Muskegon Heights on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. © Cory Morse/Cory Morse | MLive.com Hackley Community Care COVID-19 curbside testing site at 2700 Baker Street in Muskegon Heights on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020.

Michigan health officials are tracking 197 known COVID-19 outbreaks, including six new clusters discovered within the last week.

The latest count of new and ongoing outbreaks marks a week-over-week decline of 42% from last week’s 340 total clusters. The week prior there were 494 active outbreaks, and a month ago there were 892.

Outbreak reports continue to plummet as case, hospitalization and positive test rates have dropped since mid-April. Health officials chalk the drop in outbreak reports up to less coronavirus in the community and increased vaccination rates.

“I think vaccinations are really making us a lot safer,” said Dr. Dennis Cunningham, medical director of infection prevention for Henry Ford Health System. “The magic number is still 70% or higher, so I really hope we can get there as a state but I’m feeling a lot more optimistic than I have in a while.”

Linda Vail, health officer for Ingham County, said her office is closing out outbreaks ‘fairly quickly’ these days. She did note that there’s been “an increasing reluctance to cooperate with cases investigation and contact tracing, which makes it harder to identify outbreaks,” but added that the decline is still more attributable to case counts dropping and vaccinations rising.

An outbreak is generally defined as an instance in which two or more cases are linked by a place and time, indicating a shared exposure outside of a household. Clusters being tracked by local health departments are included in the state’s online outbreak tracker, which is updated weekly on Mondays with data up to the previous Thursday.

Among the six new outbreaks were three associated with K-12 schools, and one each linked to nursing homes, manufacturing/construction, and health care settings, according to the report published Monday, June 21.

Long-term care facilities remain the most-common setting for ongoing outbreaks (55), though they also come with more clarity due to mandatory testing requirements. K-12 schools follow with 47, though school outbreaks dipped at the start of summer vacation.

Outside of K-12 schools and colleges, MDHHS is not identifying specific locations or the number of coronavirus cases. However, it is listing the information by the state’s eight health district regions. (Note those regions have different numbers than the MI Safe Start Plan.)

By region, the breakdown of the clusters:

  • Region 1 (Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston and Shiawassee counties): 25 clusters, all of which are ongoing outbreaks.
  • Region 2N (Macomb, Oakland and St. Clair counties): 14 clusters, with two new and 12 ongoing outbreaks.
  • Region 2S (city of Detroit and Monroe, Washtenaw and Wayne counties): 13 clusters, with one new and 12 ongoing outbreaks.
  • Region 3 (Saginaw, Alcona, Iosco, Ogemaw, Arenac, Gladwin, Midland, Bay, Genesee, Tuscola, Lapeer, Sanilac and Huron counties): 83 clusters, with two new and 81 ongoing outbreaks.
  • Region 5 (Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Branch, St. Joseph, Cass, Berrien, Van Buren and Kalamazoo counties): 21 clusters, all of which are ongoing outbreaks.
  • Region 6 (Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola and Ottawa counties): 18 clusters, with one new and 17 ongoing outbreaks.
  • Region 7 (Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Oscoda, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Ilse, Cheboygan, Emmet and Charlevoix counties): 12 clusters, all of which are ongoing outbreaks.
  • Region 8 (Upper Peninsula): 11 clusters, all of which are ongoing outbreaks.

By category, the outbreaks totaled:

  • 56 clusters (one new and 55 ongoing) at long-term care facilities, which include skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, adult day cares and group homes.
  • 56 clusters (three new and 53 ongoing) at K-12 school or colleges. A total of 47 outbreaks involved K-12 schools, and the remainder were on or around college campuses.
  • 38 clusters (one new and 37 ongoing) were linked to manufacturing or construction sites.
  • 10 clusters (all ongoing) in jails and prisons.
  • Seven clusters (all ongoing) occurred at child-care centers or youth programs not associated with a school.
  • Five clusters (all ongoing) involved retail businesses.
  • Four clusters (all ongoing) at homeless or other shelters.
  • Three clusters (all ongoing) associated with religious services.
  • Three clusters (all ongoing) were linked to bars or restaurants.
  • Three clusters (all ongoing) in office settings.
  • Three clusters (all ongoing) at migrant camps or other agriculture workplaces, such as food-processing plants.
  • Two clusters (all ongoing) linked to private social gatherings, such as a wedding, funeral or party.
  • Two clusters (one new and one ongoing,) were at health-care sites, which would include hospitals, medical and dental offices, dialysis centers and other facilities providing health-care services.
  • Two clusters (all ongoing) linked to personal services, such as a hair and/or nail salon, or a gym or spa.
  • One ongoing cluster linked to an indoor community exposure such as a concert, meeting, etc.

Outbreaks will be removed from the database if there are no additional cases through a 14-day period, state MDHHS officials have said.

State officials note that the chart does not provide a complete picture of outbreaks in Michigan, and an absence of identified outbreak in a particular setting is not evidence that the setting is not having outbreaks.

“Many factors, including the lack of ability to conduct effective contact tracing in certain settings, may result in significant under-reporting of outbreaks,” the state’s website reads.

For more statewide data, visit MLive’s coronavirus data page, here. To find a testing site near you, check out the state’s online test finder, here, send an email to COVID19@michigan.gov, or call 888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Read more on MLive:

Doctors ‘push the limit’ with organ transplants as COVID-19 extends wait lists

Michigan coronavirus data for Monday, June 21: Vaccinations slowing to a trickle

24% of Michiganders have acquired natural immunity to COVID. Why doctors say vaccination is better.

Vaccinations, low COVID-19 rates have Mackinac Island ‘cautiously optimistic’ for 2021 season

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