More than 40 test positive for COVID-19 after Saline house party

More than 40 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County have been traced to an early July house party in Saline, according to the county’s health department on Monday. 

The health department said a large uptick in the area’s overall cases includes a majority of people between 15 and 25 and is believed to be associated with the July 2-3 house party in the Saline area. 

So far, health department officials have traced 43 cases and 66 exposed close contacts outside the family members of those who tested positive.

The health department believes at least 50 people were in attendance at the house party, said Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, a spokeswoman for the health department. Ringler-Cerniglia declined to disclose the location of the house party since it was a private residence. 

The health department is defining a close contact as an individual who had face-to-face contact for at least 15 minutes with someone who later tested positive. The department is attempting to reach all those believed to have had close contact. 

“This is a very clear example of how quickly this virus spreads and how many people can be impacted in a very short amount of time,” Washtenaw County health officer Jimena Loveluck said.

“We cannot hope to accomplish our goal of containing COVID-19 and preventing additional cases, hospitalizations and deaths without full community support and cooperation.” 

The health department has seen a steady increase in confirmed cases last week, reaching a peak of 28 new cases on Wednesday, according to county data. The last time a higher number of new daily cases were recorded in Washtenaw County was May 5, when the county reported 30 cases.

Overall, the county has reported a total of 1,647 confirmed cases, 1,348 of which, or about 82%, are considered recovered. The county has reported 107 deaths linked to the virus. 

Related: Several test positive for virus after Torch Lake Fourth of July celebration

Among those exposed after the event by people who attended the party are employees or clients at area restaurants, clubs, camps, sports teams, retail stores, canoe liveries and a retirement community, according to the health department. People from the party have exposed others in other counties and one other state. 

People who attended the party are being encouraged to quarantine and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. 

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