By Sara Powers

COVID-19 cases are on the rise, and state data shows the number of infections is surging again.

The daily case rate has risen every day for eight straight days.

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In Kalamazoo County, state data shows 80 news daily cases were detected – the highest single-day total since February.

County health officer Jim Rutherford says the BA.2 variant is a cause for the increase.

The highly contagious variant is tied to more than one in three new COVID-19 cases in the United States last week.

Since last Monday, more than 100 Kalamazoo Public School students have tested positive for COVID-19.

The district superintendent says a high school prom held off-campus with no mask mandate turned into a super spreader event.

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“Unfortunately it ended up being a super spreader event, causing multiple seniors to get sick, miss school, impacting academics, this close to the finish line,” said Superintendent Rita Raichourdhuri.

Minutes later, the board voted to make masks optional outdoors next Monday and inside Kalamazoo Public School buildings starting May 30.

State data shows current outbreaks at schools in Allegan, Calhoun, Kent, and Kalamazoo counties last week.

Statewide the seven-day average of new cases went up more than 30% last week.

Right now, community transmission levels are still considered low in every county across west Michigan.

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