Students at Michigan State are being asked to quarantine within their student residences due to an “alarming” surge in coronavirus cases among the campus community and surrounding area, according to local health officials.
A statement from Ingham County health officials on Saturday cited cases in 30 residences defined as “large” centers of student housing on and around the campus in an order requiring those affected to “quarantine immediately for the next two weeks.”
The university added in its own statement that the order applied to “all local Michigan State University students,” while the county’s statement specifically referred to Greek life housing as well as other student residences.
“This is an urgent situation,” said county health officer Linda Vail in a statement. “The exponential growth of COVID-19 cases must stop. I am concerned about the health and safety of the MSU community, and importantly, I am seriously concerned that unchecked transmission locally will affect the health and safety of all Ingham County residents. If we do not slow the spread immediately, we will be dealing with the consequences across the county for months to come.”
Nearly 350 people on Michigan State’s campus have now tested positive for the coronavirus, according to university officials, with just under two dozen being reported before students returned to campus in recent days.
“Student self-quarantine should last for 14 days, continuing until 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Remember, any member of our community exhibiting signs of COVID-19 must seek immediate medical attention,” said the university in a letter to students.
“At least a third of the new cases are associated with parties and social gatherings off campus, and some of those have been linked to fraternities and sororities. The health department plans to evaluate houses licensed for more than 10 unrelated people to determine if additional measures are warranted,” it continued.
Michigan State’s surge of cases mirrors situations encountered by college officials around the country as students have returned for on-campus instruction in recent weeks, with many forced to live in close quarters either through housing agreements with their schools or fellow students.
Officials at UNC-Chapel Hill moved earlier this semester to suspend in-person classes after the university experienced its own surge of cases among students returning for class.
This content was originally published here.