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Mandatory quarantine issued for people living in 30 large houses linked to COVID-19 in East Lansing

Violation of two-week quarantine could result in jail time, fines

A Michigan State University face coverings sign.
A Michigan State University face coverings sign. (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Health officials have ordered a mandatory two-week quarantine for people living in 30 large houses -- including 23 fraternities and sororities -- linked to coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks in East Lansing. Violating the quarantine can result in jail time and/or fines, officials said.

Officials with the Ingham County Health Department identified 23 fraternities and sororities and seven other large rental houses as having links to COVID-19.

“I do not take this lightly, but there is an outbreak centered on Michigan State University and it is quickly becoming a crisis,” Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail said. “The surge in cases we have seen over the past few weeks is alarming. I am disheartened to add that this outbreak is being fueled in part by a lack of cooperation and compliance from some MSU students, many residing in the properties now under mandatory quarantine. We must contain COVID-19 cases; however, within the MSU community we have been unable to do so with comprehensive contact tracing so other means of disease containment are necessary.”

Any other properties linked to cases will join the list of houses under mandatory quarantine, health officials said.

Residents of the quarantined properties must remain in their residence for two weeks unless they need medical care or necessities that cannot be delivered, according to authorities.

Anyone who doesn’t live in the houses is prohibited from entering unless they are providing an essential service deemed necessary for the immediate health and safety of the residents, officials said.

Violating the order is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail, a fine of up to $200 or both, authorities said. Police officers can arrest someone if they witness a violation or have reasonable cause to believe a violation has occurred.

Ingham County has experienced a 52% increase in total case count since Aug. 24 and has shifted from a percent positivity rate of 2% to 5%. In comparison, the MSU community percent positivity has ranged from 11% to 15% since Sept. 5. More than half of all new cases countywide reside in the city of East Lansing, and the majority of all new cases are MSU students, according to health experts.


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