Forty-three new coronavirus cases have been linked to a large house party from early July in Washtenaw County, Michigan, according to health officials.
Most of the new cases are young people between the ages of 15 and 25, the Washtenaw County Health Department said in a press release Monday.
It is believed that the party took place between July 2 and 3, and health officials are now asking anyone who attended the party to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms of the virus for 14 days.
There were an additional 66 people who are believed to have had face-to-face contact with a confirmed case. That number does not include family members who are immediate household contacts of the newly identified cases, the release said.
With a recent surge in cases, more parties have been identified as the source of Covid-19 clusters. Cases, sometimes fatal, have been linked to gatherings in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Missouri, California, Texas and New Jersey.
Over the weekend, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said may new cases had been linked to casual gatherings in people’s backyards. The governor issued a restriction mandating gatherings be under 50 people.
Local health officials said this cluster in Michigan highlights how easily and rapidly the virus can infect people.
“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” Jimena Loveluck, a health officer with Washtenaw County Health Department, said in the release. “We cannot hope to accomplish our goal of containing COVID-19 and preventing additional cases, hospitalizations and deaths without full community support and cooperation.”
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Spread from the party has impacted people outside the county and even the state, according to the release.
The party and subsequent events have led to additional exposures at retail stores, restaurants, businesses, canoe rentals, clubs, camps, athletic teams and a retirement community, the release said.
“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,” Loveluck said.
“None of us wants to be the reason someone in our community or county becomes seriously ill or dies,” says Brian Marl, mayor of the city of Saline. “We have the opportunity to work together and with our local health department to contain this as quickly as possible. We know what we need to do, and we can certainly do it.”