As parents and educators and students struggled with the start of a new school year during the pandemic, the number of COVID-19 cases among Livingston County’s youngest residents nearly tripled.
Keep in mind that while all age groups in Livingston County experienced an uptick in numbers in August, not a one comes anywhere near the dramatic rise in numbers as for those 0-19. The 215 kids who have tested positive for COVID-19 would fill nearly nine elementary school classrooms of 25 students.
The increase of nearly 200 percent — from 72 cases on Aug. 1 to 215 on Aug. 31 — is concerning; a spike among students after just a week of a hybrid of remote and in-person learning had Hartland High School revert to online-only classes until at least Sept. 9, when it will review its numbers and take guidance from the Livingston County Health Department.
Hartland Superintendent Chuck Hughes wrote that the “Hartland area teenage population is experiencing increased positive case activity that has spiked and is not settling down,” in a letter sent home to parents last week.
Livingston’s increases are seen “specifically in high school-aged individuals,” according to epidemiologist Emma Harman of the Livingston County Health Department.
“This increase in cases in older teenagers is predominately associated with high school sports and graduation parties,” Harman said in a LivPo story posted on Aug. 25, 2020.
Graduation parties in the South Lyon and Fenton areas led to a joint statement in July from the Livingston, Oakland and Genesee county health departments, warning about the possibility of increasing numbers among older teens. That was when Livingston County’s numbers spiked from 38 on July 1 to 72 on July 31, an increase of nearly 90 percent; while that increase seemed huge at the time, it is only half the increase in cases that came in August.
Michigan breaks out its numbers for ages 0-19 into two groups — 0-9, and 10-19 — with the older group the ONLY one in Livingston County with cases per million higher than the state’s.
Even with all the increases in cases, the number of COVID-19 deaths in Livingston County remains at 29.
Cases keep rising
(You can click here for more information from the Livingston County Health Department.)