University of Michigan: More than 200 students in dorm with first COVID-19 cluster test negative

A cluster of COVID-19 cases were reported at the South Quad residence hall on Sept. 18. (University of Michigan)

ANN ARBOR – Approximately 220 students who reside in University of Michigan’s South Quad residence hall tested negative for COVID-19 after a cluster of cases was identified in the building on Sept. 18.

After 19 positive cases were confirmed in the dorm, the University Health Service set up a pop-up testing site with the guidance of the Washtenaw County Health Department and in coordination with the School of Public Health and U-M Housing. Students residing in the two floors identified as the source of the cluster were tested within 36 hours.

Although none were experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and had no close contact with those who tested positive, the university conducted the tests out of an abundance of caution. U-M is awaiting further results.

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“This was something we have not done before, and we really wanted to bring the testing to the students rather than have them leave the dorm to come to the UHS or our satellite location,” Lindsey Mortenson, acting executive director of UHS, said in a statement.

“Aside from the incredible effort of the volunteers, the team who put together the testing site and the lab staff who ran the tests quickly, one of the most impressive things about this process was that the students themselves were incredibly responsive. So I just want to say thank you to the students for their dedication to keeping themselves and others safe this semester."

Starting in early October, U-M will introduce a widespread, voluntary testing program for asymptomatic students, faculty and staff on campus using samples of saliva.