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

119 of 138 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 138 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) to an outbreak at a bar in East Lansing.

On June 23, officials said more than a dozen people who visited Harper’s Restaurant and Brew Pub has tested positive for COVID-19. In just eight days, that number has ballooned by more than 100 confirmed cases.

The Harper’s coronavirus outbreak has greatly contributed to the entire Lansing Region -- which includes Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham and Shiawassee counties -- being moved to the “high risk” category of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Safe Start Map.

The seven-day average of cases per million population rose from 4.9 on June 13 to over 50 last weekend.

Of the 138 people who have tested positive, 119 of them visited Harper’s, officials said. The age range of those customers is 18 to 28 years old.

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

Health officials have identified 19 secondary cases, or people who got infected by someone who went to Harper’s. The age range of those cases is 16 to 63 years old.

None of the 138 patients have been hospitalized, and 36 are asymptomatic, according to officials.

Breakdown of the confirmed case increases:

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.