51 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases now linked to outbreak at East Lansing bar

49 of 51 infected people were customers at Harper's Restaurant and Brew Pub

Harper's Restaurant and Brew Pub in East Lansing

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Health officials have now linked 51 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases to the outbreak at a bar in East Lansing.

UPDATE: 65 cases now linked to outbreak

On Tuesday, a notice was issued that 14 people who went to Harper’s Restaurant and Brew Pub in East Lansing had tested positive for the coronavirus. By the end of the day, the number increased to 18. On Thursday morning, it had ballooned to 43.

READ: 8 possible COVID-19 exposure locations identified in Traverse City after group fails to follow rules

As of Thursday evening, there are now 51 positive coronavirus cases linked to the Harper’s outbreak, including 49 in people who were actually at the bar.

The Ingham County Health Department said two people who did not go to Harper’s have tested positive, and they likely caught the virus from someone who was at the bar.

Of the 51 total cases, 37 are in Ingham County resident, health officials said.

The date range of the 51 positive individuals is 16 to 28 years old. None of them have been hospitalized, and 10 are asymptomatic.

Bars and restaurants in Michigan were allowed to reopen June 8 with regulations designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The patients who tested positive at Harper’s were at the bar between June 12 and June 20. Health officials said anyone who visited the bar during that time period should monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms can develop for up to 14 days after exposure.

Health officials respond

“Anyone could have COVID-19,” Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail said. “You never know because some people with coronavirus are not yet sick, and some people never have signs of the disease. We need people to treat every person they encounter as a potential carrier. That means wearing masks and keeping six feet away from others. I strongly urge everyone to take precautions so that we can keep infections down and keep businesses open.”

Inspectors from the health department said Harper’s followed appropriate safety protocols. The bar voluntarily closed Monday to eliminate lines and modify its HVAC system, officials said.

“We know that the virus can be spread when people are in close proximity to each other and are not wearing face coverings,” MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said. “These positive cases underscore the importance of personal responsibility among our students, faculty and staff, and taking the necessary steps to protect ourselves and others from the unnecessary transmission of COVID-19. This includes wearing a cloth face covering in public spaces and avoiding large gatherings. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of our Spartan community impacted by this virus and we wish them a speedy recovery. We will continue working in partnership with the health department to facilitate any necessary contact tracing and redouble our efforts to educate our community on the importance of the preventative measures we all should be taking.”

Anyone hoping to get tested for the coronavirus can call their doctor or visit a testing site.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.