76 coronavirus cases have been linked to one Michigan bar

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People who went to a bar in Michigan at any point during a recent 9-day period have been asked to self-quarantine after dozens who visited the establishment contracted the coronavirus. So far, 76 COVID-19 cases have been linked to the bar, Harper's Restaurant & Brewpub in East Lansing, the Ingham County Health Department said in a tweet on Friday.

The number of cases connected to the bar has rapidly climbed. Thirty-four cases were linked to it on Wednesday — a number that has now more than doubled and is likely to rise again, according to officials. 

On Wednesday, the health department urged anyone who visited the establishment between June 12 and June 20 to self-quarantine for 14 days from the day of their visit. 

All of those who had tested positive as of Wednesday's announcement were between the ages of 18 and 23, the health department said in a statement. None had been hospitalized, and most had mild symptoms, the department said. 

"Given the number of cases in this outbreak, we consider this a higher risk exposure than a typical visit to a restaurant or bar," Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail said in Wednesday's statement. "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."

In a Facebook post earlier this week, the bar said that it reopened at 50% capacity on June 8, in accordance with Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order. It said it implemented signage encouraging patrons to wear face masks and socially distance, but admitted that the policies have been difficult to enforce on public sidewalks outside the property. 

The establishment said it is now temporarily closed in order to do two things: "implement a program to eliminate lines, and to modify our HVAC system to install an air purifying technology while the air is being conditioned and re-circulated."

It thanked its patrons for their support through the pandemic. "The extraordinary exuberant response to our re-opening has been beyond our expectations," the bar wrote on Facebook Monday. "This decision comes after much deliberation within our family."

Michigan now has more than 62,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, a number that is steadily rising. More than 5,800 people have died due to COVID-19 in the state. 

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