University of Michigan students ordered to stay home amid coronavirus outbreak

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 2:33 PM EDT
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WJRT) - Students at the main University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor are ordered to stay home for two weeks amid a significant increase in coronavirus cases.

The Washtenaw County Health Department issued a public health emergency stay in place order for all undergraduate students on Tuesday. The order will remain in effect until 7 a.m. Nov. 3.

Washtenaw County has reported 4,229 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, including 600 confirmed and probable cases since Oct. 12. More than 60% of the new cases have been linked to U of M students.

“The situation locally has become critical, and this order is necessary to reverse the current increase in cases,” says Jimena Loveluck, health officer for Washtenaw County. “We must continue to do what we can to minimize the impact on the broader community and to ensure we have the public health capacity to fully investigate cases and prevent additional spread of illness.”

Students are ordered to stay in their residence except to attend class, obtain food or complete work that cannot be done remotely. Any students out in public are required to wear a face covering and practice 6 feet of social distancing.

In response, U of M is holding more classes remotely for the remainder of the fall semester.

“This action is intended to reduce the strain on our capacities for contact tracing and quarantine and isolation housing‚" says Robert Ernst, executive director of U-M’s University Health Service and associate vice president for Student Life. "Many individuals and off-campus residences are cooperating fully, and we hope this additional guidance on limiting social activities reverses the trend of increased cases related to social gatherings.”

The university also has special quarantine and isolation housing units available for any students who test positive for coronavirus.

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