GENESEE COUNTY, MI — Cases of coronavirus have spiked sharply in the county among teens 15-19 years old, part of a broader geographic outbreak in that age group that extends to Oakland and Livingston counties.
Health departments from the three counties announced on Tuesday, Aug. 3, a “steep increase in the South Lyon and Fenton areas since mid-July among (that age group). Some of the cases reported attending large indoor and outdoor gatherings, including graduation parties and prom like events, during July,” the counties said in a joint news release.
In Genesee County, cases increased from 19 during late-June to mid-July to 94 from mid-July to early August. In Oakland County, COVID-19 cases among 15 to 19-year-olds in the South Lyon area increased from three during late-June to mid-July to 42 from mid-July to early August, the health officials said, and in Livingston County, cases increased from three to 19 during the same time period.
“The numbers are clearly ticking upward,” Genesee County Health Officer John McKellar said. “I think it’s inevitable that we tick up” as state restrictions have eased.
Overall in Genesee County, health officials are seeing daily case counts increasing to levels that had not been reported since April, with a peak so far of 43 new cases on July 30.
In Saginaw County, cases have also been on the rise, reaching the highest number of daily COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. In late July, 49 cases were reported in one day. The county said in a daily news advisory that health officials plan to discuss the sharp increases in a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 5.
“We need parents and young people in our community to recognize the risk they take to their own health and that of their family and friends when attending gatherings without taking precautions,” Leigh-Anne Stafford, Oakland County health officer, said of the increasing number of teen cases in Oakland, Genesee and Livingston counties. “We can work together across our communities to contain the spread and I urge parents to be aware of activities your kids attend.”
McKellar has been a strong advocate of social distancing and wearing masks, and said Tuesday that the advice applies especially when gathering in larger groups.
The health officer said when those who are diagnosed with coronavirus cooperate to complete contract tracing and case investigations, “it goes a long way to stopping the spread of COVID-19.”
“No one wants to be the one who spreads COVID-19 to someone who becomes very ill or dies,” McKellar said in the joint news release.
The health departments warned that a further significant increase in cases among high school-age students could emerge as case investigation continues in the three counties and said contact tracers have already identified at least six large gatherings that occurred in the three counties recently.
There have been a total of 2,834 cases and 269 deaths due to coronavirus in Genesee County through Monday, Aug. 3.