Ypsilanti fraternal organization listed as potential coronavirus exposure site

At least 31 COVID cases linked to events, 40 close contacts exposed so far

YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Washtenaw County Health Department has listed a local fraternal organization as a potential coronavirus exposure site after a number of individuals who attended recent events tested positive for the virus.

Several events at the Ypsilanti Fraternal Order of Eagles #2250 have been associated with at least 31 confirmed COVID cases and over 40 close contact exposures among staff, members and guests, officials announced Wednesday. The events reportedly had little-to-no social distancing or face coverings worn during the events.

Anyone who visited the Ypsilanti Fraternal Order of Eagles #2250 between October 31 and November 10 should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, which can develop up to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Individuals who exhibit symptoms should get tested for COVID-19 and self-quarantine while awaiting results to prevent the spread of the virus.

The facility is closed and is cooperating with the Washtenaw County Health Department, officials said. The department also says it is “investigating the possibility that positive cases tied to the Eagles outbreak visited other local and regional establishments while infectious.”

“This situation illustrates how quickly COVID-19 can spread and impact a large number of people, particularly when there are gatherings without good use of prevention measures like face coverings,” says Jimena Loveluck, health officer for Washtenaw County. “With our local cases at their highest levels since the pandemic began and hospitalizations increasing, we all must do everything we can to prevent additional spread. It’s up to us to work together to protect each other and our loved ones as well as our health care workers, public health workers and everyone serving and protecting the public.”

As of Tuesday, officials say over 7,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Washtenaw County since the pandemic struck earlier this year. On Wednesday, the state of Michigan reported a total of 277,806 COVID cases confirmed statewide and 8,190 total deaths. Wednesday’s update represents 5,772 new cases and 62 new deaths in Michigan since Tuesday.

With COVID-19 cases rising rapidly throughout the state, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued new restrictive measures for restaurants, bars, high schools, colleges and more to prevent further spread of the virus. Those restrictions go into effect on Wednesday.

Read more: Michigan’s ‘3-week pause’ COVID restrictions go into effect Wednesday: What to know

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about COVID-19 here.

About the Author:

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