Dozens of people infected with COVID-19 after Fourth of July parties in Michigan

click to enlarge Torch Lake sandbar party on the Fourth of July weekend. - Michigan State Police
Michigan State Police
Torch Lake sandbar party on the Fourth of July weekend.

Unsurprisingly, dozens of people are now infected with the coronavirus after attending packed parties during the Fourth of July weekend.

The Washtenaw County Health Department has traced more than 43 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 66 exposed contacts to a house party in Saline on July 2-3. The health department is urging everyone who attended the party to self-quarantine for 14 days.

As a result of the gathering, people have been exposed at restaurants, retail stores, clubs, camps, sports teams, canoe liveries, and a retirement community.

“This is a very clear example of how quickly this virus spreads and how many people can be impacted in a very short amount of time,” Jimena Loveluck, health officer with Washtenaw County Health Department, said in a news release. “We cannot hope to accomplish our goal of containing COVID-19 and preventing additional cases, hospitalizations and deaths without full community support and cooperation.”

Additionally, the Health Department of Northwest Michigan is warning that several people have tested positive "after attending the festivities at the Torch Lake sandbar over the Fourth of July holiday.” The health department says “numerous individuals may have been exposed to COVID-19.”

“This situation reminds us of how important it is to take precautions such as avoiding large gatherings whenever possible especially without social distancing and masking,” Health Officer Lisa Peacock says in a statement. “Unfortunately, this is not an isolated event and leaves our community at risk when close contacts are not able to be identified and alerted to quarantine. We can’t stress enough how that it is imperative that we each do our part to stay safe and stay open.”

Health officials are worried about a potential outbreak at Diamond Lake in West Michigan, where hundreds of people without masks packed onto a sandbar on the Fourth of July. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office has agreed to review the case after the investigation is wrapped up by the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan is on the rise after the state appeared to be controlling the virus with stringent social-distancing measures. In mid-June, Michigan was one of three states where cases were steadily declining.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted the state’s stay-at-home order on June 8, far later than most states, permitting bars and restaurants to reopen at 50% capacity. Beginning on June 15, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, and tattoo parlors were allowed to reopen. Gyms are still closed.

At least 107 coronavirus cases have been traced to Harper’s Restaurant and Brew Pub in East Lansing, prompting the governor on July 1 to temporarily ban indoor bar service in much of Michigan.

On July 10, Whitmer strengthened the state's mask-wearing requirements, making mask-wearing mandatory at indoor businesses under penalty of a $500 fine.

"COVID-19 is still very present in Michigan, and this is not a time for Michiganders to let their guards down," Whitmer said Monday. "We must continue to do everything in our power to flatten the curve and prevent more spread."

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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