14 People Test Positive For COVID-19 After Visiting East Lansing Bar

A draft beer pouring from a tap

(WWJ) A coronavirus outbreak in Michigan has been linked to a bar.

The Ingham County Health Department says 14 people have tested positive for COVID-19 after patronizing Harper's Restaurant & Brewpub in downtown East Lansing.

Health officials are urging anyone who was at that bar from June 12 to 20 to watch for symptoms of the respiratory disease.

People with symptoms, which may develop up to 14 days after exposure, are told to seek immediate testing for COVID-19. And if you went to Harpers recently and don't have symptoms, officials say it's not a bad idea to get tested anyway. 

“Anyone could have COVID-19. You never know because some people with coronavirus are not yet sick, and some people never have signs of the disease,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “We need people to treat every person they encounter as a potential carrier. That means wearing masks and keeping 6 feet away from others. I strongly urge everyone to take precautions so that we can keep infections down and keep businesses open.”

All of the people with cases linked to Harper’s are between the ages of 19 and 23, officials said. Just about half are connected to Michigan State University, and some have permanent residences in other Michigan counties.

Restaurants and bars in Michigan were allowed to open on June 8, with limited capacities and other safety protocols in place. 

Inspectors from the Ingham County Health Department found Harper’s was following appropriate safety procedures related to employees, restaurant capacity and table spacing.

Harper’s voluntarily opted to close temporarily late Monday to implement a program to eliminate lines and to modify its HVAC system, the health department said. 

While cases have declines overall in Michigan, the health department says increase in Ingham County COVID-19 cases reported for June 22 was the largest the county has seen since May 27.

“We know that the virus can be spread when people are in close proximity to each other and are not wearing face coverings.  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,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “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."

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, people are asked to maintain a distance of 6 feet away from others, wear a mask or face covering, wash their hands, and stay home if they feel sick.  Many options are available for coronavirus testing in the community. People can contact their primary care physician or visit a no-cost testing site. Find one at THIS LINK.