COVID-19 Update: Michigan College Bar Outbreak Infects 85

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An outbreak at a college bar in Michigan has, so far, led to 80 people being infected with COVID-19. Those who went to the bar are being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

It was earlier in June when Harper’s Restaurant and Brew Pub near Michigan State University opened its doors once again after being closed due to the coronavirus. However, the pub reportedly struggled to enforce social distancing and mask wearing, particularly in the queue outside, something the business admitted on its Facebook page.

“We have attempted to instruct customers waiting in line to wear face coverings and practice social distancing through signage on the public sidewalk and with a banner on our railing,” Harper’s wrote. “Our oversight of the line on our stairs has been successful, but trying to get customers to follow our recommendations on the public sidewalk has been challenging.”

Now, just weeks after the reopening, 85 coronavirus cases have been linked to Harper’s. The majority of those who tested positive actually went to the bar while five were merely exposed to people who went. 

As of June 28, none of those who tested positive for COVID-19 were hospitalized, with most having mild symptoms while a few were asymptomatic. That said, everyone who went to Harper’s between June 12 to 20 are being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days since their visit, even those who test negative for COVID-19 in case it was a false negative result.

“Given the number of cases in this outbreak, we consider this a higher risk exposure than a typical visit to a restaurant or bar,” Health Officer Linda Vail said in a June 24 press release from Ingham County. “There are likely more people infected with COVID-19 not yet identified. We need help from people who went to Harper’s during the exposure dates so that we can contain the outbreak. We need everyone exposed to stay home.”

On June 22, Harper’s announced it was closing its doors again to “implement a program to eliminate lines” and to install air purifying technology. According to Harper’s, closing once again will be difficult, especially for the employees who were unable to work for three months, but it was the “right thing to do.”

As of June 28, the state of Michigan has recorded 63,261 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5,911 deaths. Worldwide, there are now over 10 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, with the United States still leading in both case count and deaths. 

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