U-M: COVID cases on Ann Arbor campus ‘decrease significantly’

University of Michigan asks students to test for COVID-19 before going home for holidays

ANN ARBOR – Officials at the University of Michigan have announced a significant decrease in cases of COVID-19 on campus.

In the school’s bi-weekly COVID update, officials reported on Tuesday that school-related cases now represent 27% of the total cases in Washtenaw County. Just two weeks ago, U-M cases -- the majority of which were linked to students -- accounted for 62% of the total cases in the county.

The news is a positive development following a turbulent winter on campus, which was marked by Michigan’s first COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant case when a student athlete returned from the UK, subsequent outbreaks of the variant which caused all athletic activities to pause for two weeks and a recommended stay-at-home order for students as cases rose.

Soon after, the school implemented mandatory weekly testing for graduate and professional students after outbreaks emerged in circles of older students and in off campus houses. Undergraduates on campus have been tested regularly for the virus since the start of the semester.

“U-M has lifted the ‘pause’ previously put in place regarding the ability of students who are close contacts to reduce their quarantine timeline through testing and meeting other specific criteria,” read Tuesday’s announcement.

The update came the same day Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a loosening of COVID restrictions across the state. In the press conference, Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said that case rates have plateaued.