Southeast Michigan Health Officials Report Rise In COVID Cases Among Young People

“Socializing responsibly could help quickly turn things around"

WWJ News
August 04, 2020 - 6:34 pm
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(WWJ) Several Southeast Michigan counties are reporting an uptick in COVID-19 cases among teens and young adults. 

The Oakland County Health Division, Livingston County Health Department and Genesee County Health Department particularly want people to know about a spike in the South Lyon and Fenton areas since mid-July, among people betweem 15 amnd 19 years old.

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Some of the infected people reported attending large indoor and outdoor gatherings, including graduation parties and prom-like events, during July.

“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,” said Oakland County Health Office Leigh-Anne Stafford, in a statement. “We can work together across our communities to contain the spread and I urge parents to be aware of activities your kids attend.”

“When attending both indoor and outdoor gatherings, it is important to stay six feet from others and wear a mask,” added Livingston Courtney Health Officer Dianne McCormick. “Socializing responsibly could help quickly turn things around.”

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Preliminary information indicates a significant increase in cases among high school age students and those numbers could change as case investigation continues in the three counties. In Oakland County, COVID-19 cases among 15 – 19-year-olds in the South Lyon area increased from three cases during late-June to mid-July to 42 from mid-July to early August. Similar trends for this age group have been observed Countywide in Livingston and Genesee counties. For Livingston County, cases increased from three cases during late-June to mid-July to 19 from mid-July to early August and in Genesee County, cases increased from 19 during late-June to mid-July to 94 from mid-July to early August.

The three health departments are conducting case investigations to identify individuals who have potentially been exposed. Initial information has determined that 15 – 19-year-olds from Oakland Livingston and Genesee attended at least six large gatherings.

While some may argue that fewer young people are hospitalized or die from the virus, health officials note that anyone can carry and spread the virus. 

“When individuals cooperate with Health Departments to complete contract tracing and case investigations, it goes a long way to stopping the spread of COVID-19,” Genesee County Health Officer John McKellar said. “No one wants to be the one who spreads COVID-19 to someone who becomes very ill or dies.”

If you attended a large gathering in the South Lyon and/or Fenton area during mid to late July and you think you are developing any of the symptoms of COVID-19 described below, call your physician or local health department. People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms from mild to severe. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you are considering attending an indoor or outdoor event, take precautions by:

  • Maintaining six feet social distance from those outside your household
  • Wearing a face covering when you cannot stay six feet from others
  • Washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Staying home when sick

On Tuesday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced hundreds of more confirmed cases of COVID-19, as the number of those hospitalized with the disease is again beginning to increase/ 

There were 664 new confirmed cases and 8 news deaths reported across the state today. Health officials also said there are now 460 people hospitalized with COVID-19, which is up from 434 on Friday. The percent positive remains just above 3%.

The health departments note that, since there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced with cloth face coverings, social distancing, and staying home when sick, except to get medical care. If you have symptoms, call you doctor to determine next steps.