43 coronavirus cases tied to party in Ann Arbor area

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LANSING — The Washtenaw County Health Department on Monday reported 43 coronavirus cases associated with a large house party held outside Ann Arbor nearly two weeks ago, with most of those infected being between the ages of 15 and 25.

Tracers identified 66 “exposed close contacts” outside family members in the people’s immediate households — defined as someone who had face-to-face contact with a COVID-19-positive individual for at least 15 minutes. The party was held in the Saline area.

People who attended the July 2-3 party or know they were exposed should self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

“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,” said Jimena Loveluck, the county’s health officer. She urged residents to avoid large gatherings without physical distancing or masks.

As of Friday, people must wear face coverings in crowded outdoor settings — not just enclosed public spaces — or risk a $500 fine under an order from Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. On Monday, businesses had to start refusing entry or service to customers who refuse to wear masks.

The state reported 384 new confirmed cases and seven additional deaths. There have been at least 6,321 confirmed or probable deaths in Michigan — seventh-most in the country and the eighth-highest rate per capita.

There were 68.3 new cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks, a lower rate than all but eight states. The state’s seven-day case average, roughly 548, is up from about 319 on June 28, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

The rolling daily average of deaths is about 13.6, up from 9.7 two weeks ago — but still well below the heights hit in April.

The Ingham County Health Department recommended that people who recently traveled to 10 states voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days. The states are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

“Approximately one-third of positive cases in Ingham County have recent travel in their history,” said health officer Linda Vail, who has capped restaurant capacity at 75 people following an outbreak of at least 174 cases linked to an East Lansing bar. “Travel can be a very risky activity right now. Many people are used to being able to get away in the summer, but this is not a typical summer. We urge caution and the avoidance of nonessential travel, especially to high-risk areas.”

Whitmer again extended, through Aug. 10, an order related to the care of infected nursing home residents and a measure requiring grocery stores and pharmacies to reserve at least two hours of shopping time a week for customers over age 60 and other vulnerable people.

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