Oakland County health officials say three people who were at a crowded sports bar in downtown Royal Oak two weekends ago have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The three individuals did not not each other and the only commonality is they all were at the Fifth Avenue on the evening of Friday, June 19, the county health division’s medical director told the Free Press.
Anyone who was at Fifth Avenue that day should monitor themselves for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 because of potential exposure to the virus, the health department said in a news release.
The three people who tested positive reported being at the the catering and sports bar the evening of June 19, according to a news release. They told health officials they had no symptoms prior to June 19.
Health officials identified the potential exposure through case investigation done by the Oakland Country Health Division. All three who tested positive told health officials that the bar at 215 W 5th St. was crowded that night.
The health division also said they received calls from individuals reporting that Fifth Avenue was overcrowded.
The owner of the bar could not be immediately reached for comment.
“We are urging all of our businesses, especially the bars which are attracting crowds, to follow the governor’s orders and take the necessary steps to protect their workers and customers,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said in a statement. “We have made good progress in managing what is a highly contagious virus and we can’t backslide now. Social distancing and facial coverings work and they are critical to our safe re-opening strategies.”
The three who tested positive were at the bar the bar separately on June 19, according to Dr. Russell Faust, medical director for the Oakland County Health Division.
“We didn’t find any other common connections between these 3 individuals. That they were not at any house party, they didn’t shop at the same grocery store, etcetera, etcetera.”
No details were given on individuals’ ages or gender.
The warning was issued because, Faust said, because there is no easy way to track who was at the bar that night, unlike a house party or a workplace.
“Something like this in a crowded club or restaurant or bar there is not a list of names to contact,” Faust said. “We felt that there were three positives who had the only commonality that we could determine was their presence at Fifth Avenue in Royal Oak on June the evening of June 19 and literally hundreds of potential exposure for that date and that location. We thought it best to notify people and that they should monitor for symptoms. “
Faust said anyone who has symptoms or concerns should get tested. While there are no same day appointments, you can call ahead and make an appointment and get tested the following day through the health department. You don’t have to have symptoms or need a prescription. The tests are free and test sites are open Monday-Friday, he said. The exception is this Friday because of the July fourth holiday.
Faust’ concerns is especially with the younger generation who many, he said, view COVID-19 as an older person’s disease or risk.
“We’ve been imprisoned for months,” he said. “Everyone has cabin fever and this is their opportunity to get out and see their friends. The problem is, especially with the younger generations, many of them tend to be complacent.”
Faust emphasized that this disease can kill anybody and that there have been fatalities among people in their 20s and even infant deaths.
“This is not a time for complacency as things reopen, this is a time to be vigilant,” he said. “This is not rocket science. We can stop this with two simple behaviors, social distancing and a face cover — a mask.”
Faust stressed that wearing a face mask and social distancing are easy things to do.
“These are cheap to do and they don’t require expensive technology,” he said.
Frequent hand washing, not touching your face, disinfecting and decontaminating surface are all good things, Faust said.
“At least 90% of prevention of the spread of COVID-19 is those two simple behaviours. With face masks and social distancing we can put a stop to this,” Faust said.
Overcrowded restaurants, no social distancing among patrons waiting to enter establishments, and at times inside, and patrons who eschew face masks have been a concern since bars and restaurants were permitted to reopen on June 8.
More than a hundred COVID-19 cases have now been connected to Harper’s Restaurant & Brew Pub in East Lansing, the Lansing State Journal reports. Among those 107 cases at least 30 are tied to the Grosse Pointes. Health officials there have limited restaurant capacity to a maximum of 75 people.
The Free Press reported last week that restaurant owners in metro Detroit say they are finding it difficult to police face mask wearing and social distancing rules as they try to keep customers and their staffs safe. The wearing of face masks in public — meant to stem the spread of the virus — has become a contentious and somewhat political issue across the country. President Donald Trump, notably, has refused to wear one.
Over the weekend, a Dearborn Height Mexican restaurant decided to close its dining room after battling customers spewing verbal insults at staffers and pushing back on mask wearing requirements. The restaurant’s dining room closed Monday, but they still are offering carryout and curbside.
The recent COVID-19 cases reported at restaurants and bars now open at limited capacity has the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association (MRLA) nervous.
“I am worried that the industry will assume all responsibility for any transmission of which it might bear a small level of responsibility,” said Justin Winslow, MRLA president and CEO. “I am not sure you can pinpoint a single place (tied to exposure), especially with most restaurants doing what’s asked of them and some are going above and beyond.”
Symptoms of COVID-19 may start anywhere from 2-14 days after being exposed to the novel coronavirus. Those with symptoms should contact their physician or the Oakland County Health Division. For COVID-19 information, go to www.oakgov.com/covid. You can also call the nurse on Call at 800-848-5533, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, if you have health-related questions.
You can also contact the COVID-19 Help Hotline at 248-858-1000 or email [email protected]
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Contact Susan Selasky at: 313-222-6872 or [email protected] Following @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.
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