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Concerns grow as massive gatherings lead to increased COVID cases

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 21:35:38-04

(WXYZ) — After recent large gatherings in and around metro Detroit, there are growing concerns from Michigan health officials over the potential mass spreading of the coronavirus.

Detroit streets on Monday show tire marks from drivers doing donuts down several blocks. It's the after-effects of a Detroit car party.

Police have tried sanctioned and controlled drifter events. However, police weren't able to shut them down on Grand River, Livernois, and Oakman because they say the crowd was just too big.

And with people standing close, could that also be a COVID super spreader?

We've seen the video of the big private parties around the state, one recently on Diamond Lake in Western Michigan. Another massive party on the Fourth of July weekend was on Torch Lake near Traverse City.

Confirmed cases have now emerged from these events.

In Wayne County, officials are reporting a total of 16 confirmed cases spread across five cities – all traced back to recent large gatherings.

Wayne County officials say none of the cases have required hospitalization, and four of the 16 cases were contracted secondary.

Health officials are now urging people to report new cases to Antrim County if they were at Torch Lake.

Also new is a private house party over the Fourth of July weekend in Saline near Ann Arbor. It's the latest outbreak location in metro Detroit.

The health department is documenting 43 confirmed COVID cases of people mostly between the ages of 15 and 25. And another 66 people were exposed through close contact.

"It can be a very serious illness for younger people, It can also mean you inadvertently expose someone who is more vulnerable to illness," said Susan Ringler Cerniglia with the Washtenaw Health Department.

Health officials say it can take two weeks for COVID-19 to develop, so the increase in numbers may still be ongoing.

“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,” says Jimena Loveluck, MSW, Health Officer with Washtenaw County Health Department. “We cannot hope to accomplish our goal of containing COVID-19 and preventing additional cases, hospitalizations, and deaths without full community support and cooperation.

“We need people of all ages, including young people, to take COVID-19 seriously and follow public health guidelines and instructions. That means avoiding large gatherings without physical distancing or face coverings. It also means cooperating with the Health Department to complete case investigation and contact tracing,” continues Loveluck.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.