COVID cases linked to social gatherings rise on U-M’s Ann Arbor campus

In this June 23, 2020 photo provided by UC Berkeley, a student provides saliva for an experimental COVID-19 coronavirus test for asymptomatic people. Scientists at the university are collecting samples from volunteers in hopes of finding asymptomatic people to stop them from unknowingly spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Irene Yi/UC Berkeley via AP) (Irene Yi, Irene Yi/UC Berkeley)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan has reported an uptick in COVID cases among students as the school year gets underway.

The number of cases on the Ann Arbor campus more than doubled from 73 to 174 from Aug. 22 to Aug. 29, according to the school’s COVID data dashboard. The past week’s numbers have yet to be posted due to a technical issue with one of its testing data sources, said U-M.

“COVID-19 activity has increased among U-M students since last week and has primarily been linked to social gatherings without masks,” read a school statement. “U-M officials report a cluster of 15 cases involved with an off-campus residence. Those who tested positive are now in isolation.”

Additional resources have been allocated for the University Health Service, which has been addressing a demand for COVID testing.

The student cases represent a quarter of COVID cases in Washtenaw County. The school’s quarantine and isolation housing is at 36.1% occupancy as of Thursday, with 92 students isolating and 12 in quarantine.

U-M has a vaccine mandate for all of its students, faculty and staff across its three campuses, including Michigan Medicine.

As of Thursday, 93% of students, 92% of faculty and 78% of staff self-reported they are fully vaccinated. The university provides exemptions for religious and medical reasons.

U-M posts regular updates on its COVID dashboard on Tuesdays.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.