Multiple People Who Celebrated July 4th at Crowded Michigan Lake Test Positive for Coronavirus

At least several people who attended an annual Fourth of July holiday bash at a crowded Michigan lake have tested positive for coronavirus, leaving the thousands of attendees exposed.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan issued a statement warning the public that “several individuals” tested positive for COVID-19 after partying at the Torch Lake sandbar over the recent holiday weekend.

The statement said that “numerous” people may have been exposed to the virus and that anyone who was there should monitor themselves for coronavirus signs and symptoms.

“The positive cases were not able to offer identifying information for all potential contacts and therefore we want to make the public aware that those who attended could be at risk for exposure and additional cases could be seen in the coming days,” the statement said.

Michigan State Police Torch Lake

Video of the weekend shared to YouTube showed people crowding the waters of the lake in Antrim County, with little to no social distancing in place, and few people wearing face coverings.

Thousands of people were estimated to be in attendance, according to UpNorthLive.

“This situation reminds us of how important it is to take precautions such as avoiding large gatherings whenever possible especially without social distancing and masking,” Health Officer Lisa Peacock said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this is not an isolated event and leaves our community at risk when close contacts are not able to be identified and alerted to quarantine. We can’t stress enough how that it is imperative that we each do our part to stay safe and stay open.”

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Prior to the weekend, Antrim County Sheriff Dan Bean told UpNorthLive he felt as though this year’s festivities would be among the most highly-attended in over a decade.

“I believe because of COVID-10, everybody being at home for the last 3½ months, the heat that’s going to be here and the amount of people that are coming north now to vacation … I think it’s going to be one of our biggest years we’ve had since I’ve taken office in ’09,” he said.

“As far as the general public it’s going to be very difficult for us to handle the social distancing and mask-wearing,” he added.

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recent executive order that mandates masks in public indoor and crowded outdoor spaces went into effect on Monday, according to MLive.

Michigan’s stay-at-home order expired on June 1, though by July 1, bars in most of the state were ordered to re-close indoor dining services, The New York Times reported.

As of Monday afternoon, the state has seen at least 76,936 cases and 6,317 deaths, according to the Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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