Coronavirus cases linked to crowds who visited a Michigan bar after it reopened have risen to 85, according to health officials.
The Ingham County Health Department is asking anyone who visited Harper’s Restaurant & Brewpub, outside of Michigan State University in East Lansing, between June 12 and 20, to self-quarantine for two weeks.
As of Saturday, 85 people who visited the bar between those dates or have come in contact with people who did have tested positive for coronavirus.
When the Ingham County Health Department announced the outbreak on June 23, 14 people who visited the bar had tested positive. The next day, 34 people had tested positive, the department said.
At that point, all of the people who tested positive were between the ages of 18 and 23. None had been hospitalized, and most had mild symptoms. Four were asymptomatic.
The health department asked everyone who had visited the bar, even those who have tested negative, to self-quarantine for 14 days, “self-monitor for symptoms and distance themselves from other household contacts like family and roommates.”
“Given the number of cases in this outbreak, we consider this a higher risk exposure than a typical visit to a restaurant or bar,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “There are likely more people infected with COVID-19 not yet identified. We need help from people who went to Harper’s during the exposure dates so that we can contain the outbreak. We need everyone exposed to stay home.”
Harper’s Restaurant & Brew Pub saw large crowds after reopening on June 8, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The bar closed voluntarily on June 22 to add air purifying to its HVAC system and figure out how to keep people properly socially distanced, according to Harper’s and the Ingham County Health Department. Inspectors from the health department had found found Harper’s was “following appropriate safety procedures related to employees, restaurant capacity and table spacing.”
A statement from Harper’s said that it had reopened at 50 percent capacity, but the “extraordinary exuberant response to our re-opening has been beyond our expectations,” leading to lines inside and outside.
“Our oversight of the line on our stairs has been successful, but trying to get customers to follow our recommendations on the public sidewalk has been challenging,” the statement said.
A current demographic breakdown of the 85 people who have tested positive for coronavirus was not immediately available from the Ingham County Health Department. When the outbreak was first reported, half of the cases were connected to Michigan State University.
The governors of Florida and Texas closed down their bars Friday to slow down the rapid spread of the coronavirus cases those states, and on Sunday, seven counties in California were ordered to shutter bars as cases surged there.