85 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases now tied to outbreak at East Lansing bar

COVID-19 cases associated with outbreak in East Lansing continue to rise

An update on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak connected to a bar in East Lansing, the hometown of Michigan State University.

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Health officials are now reporting 85 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases linked to an outbreak at an East Lansing bar as of Saturday.

A notice was issued on Tuesday that 14 people who visited the restaurant between June 12-20 contracted the virus. The confirmed cases related to the outbreak site grew to 51 on Thursday and then 65 on Friday.

Ingham County Health officials say they expect the COVID-19 case numbers tied to this outbreak to continue to increase.

Individuals who visited Harper’s restaurant between June 12-20 are being asked to self quarantine for 14 days and monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms -- which can develop for up to 14 days after exposure.

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

As of Friday 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.

Officials say no hospitalizations are associated with this outbreak as of Saturday.

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 Authors:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.

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.