U-M: COVID cases increase, now account for more than 60% of cases in Washtenaw County

The Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Sarah M. Parlette / WDIV)

ANN ARBOR – Although COVID activity in Michigan and across the U.S. has been trending downward, cases at the University of Michigan continue to rise.

The majority of cases are associated with students, said university officials in their Tuesday COVID update, and U-M cases now make up for 62% of all cases in Washtenaw County.

“University officials report the only Campus Response Metric currently being met is the local community metric for Washtenaw County of more than 70 new cases per million,” read the update.

A rise in cases means that campus case investigators are “significantly strained.”

Since Sunday, U-M has confirmed 26 new COVID cases on campus. During the week starting Feb. 7, U-M reported 352 new cases -- it’s highest weekly case rate since the week starting October 11, when new cases stood at 409.

Several residence halls have reported six or more cases over the past 14 days. East Quad reported the most with 14 cases.

Quarantine and isolation housing numbers have been growing, and the occupancy rate now stands at 25%.

School officials continue to urge the U-M community to continue to get tested, even if no symptoms are present. All undergraduate, graduate and professional students are now required to undergo weekly COVID testing after an uptick in cases in older student circles.

On Jan. 24, all Michigan Athletics activities were put on hold for two weeks due to an outbreak of the COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant in the department.

On Jan. 27, U-M students were asked to stay home to curb the spread of the virus at the recommendation of the Washtenaw County Health Department. A few days later, COVID outbreaks were reported in off-campus houses.

As cases continue to rise within student circles, it is unclear at this time whether or not school officials will reintroduce lockdown measures.