Torch Lake in northern Michigan over July 4 weekend.

Michigan State Police

Hundreds of people gathered for a boat party on Torch Lake in northwest Michigan over July 4 weekend, and some have tested positive for COVID-19, health officials said in a press release on Friday. 

Many people who tested positive were not able to identify people they had come in contact with while on the lake’s sand bar, near Rapid City, Michigan. 

It remains unclear how many people have tested positive, but health officials have asked everyone who attended to monitor their health for any COVID-19 symptoms. 

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Hundreds of people partied together over July 4 weekend on a lake in Northern Michigan, and now health officials say several people that attended the event have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan said in a press release on Friday that “several individuals” tested positive for COVID-19 after attending boat parties on Torch Lake’s sand bar over the July 4 weekend.

It remains unclear exactly how many people have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the party on the popular lake’s southwestern sand bar, near Rapid City, but photos and video of the July 4 weekend shared by the Traverse City Record Eagle show people gathering in close quarters while partying in the water and standing in close proximity while on the sandbar. 

Michigan’s Torch Lake over July 4 weekend.

Michigan State Police

The health department said that some people who tested positive for COVID-19 haven’t been able to identify everyone they came in contact with, making contact tracing more difficult.

“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 health department said. “If you were at the Torch Lake Sandbar party over 4th of July weekend, you should monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and seek testing if symptoms should develop or if you were at high risk for exposure due to being in close proximity with others or not wearing a cloth facial covering.”

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The outbreak at Torch Lake comes weeks after a college bar in East Lansing, Michigan, was linked to at least 185 COVID-19 cases that spanned 15 of the state’s 83 counties.

Lisa Peacock, health officer for the Northwest Michigan Department of Health, told the Traverse City Record-Eagle that people should take precautions when in large groups by social distancing and wearing face masks.

“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,” Peacock said.

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