Rise in U-M Covid cases is 'largely due to social gatherings,' president warns

February 15, 2021, 4:54 PM

(Photo: Instagram/David Dennis)

Climbing Covid diagnoses show it's too soon for safe socializing, the University of Michigan president warns students. 

"It remains critical, especially with the presence of more transmissible virus strains in our community, that everyone rigorously adheres to the simple measures that prevent spread – face coverings, social distancing, avoiding congregating in groups," Mark Schlissel says in his latest weekly update for the Ann Arbor campus.

We are seeing increases in student Covid-19 cases, spread across all levels of students and largely due to social gatherings. New cases amongst faculty and staff are at a low level and are not increasing. 

Positive Covid tests for students, faculty and staff since Jan. 3. Darker bars show university results and top sections show Washtenaw County tests. (Graphic: U-M Information and Technology Services)

A U-M pandemic dashboard shows at least 317 new cases last week among students, faculty and staff. That's 30 more cases than the previous week, and more than all weeks in January except one -- as shown at right.

The rise came a week after the end of a 14-day halt to all athletic activity at the university.

Separate data posted Monday shows 91 positive Covid tests among students living in residence halls since the winter term began Jan. 19, four weeks ago. Dorms with the most cases are East Quad (16), South Quad (14), plus Couzens and West Quad (11 each).

When this month began, 120 students were segregated in isolation housing because of Covid diagnoses and possible symptoms.

"We are tracking these cases back to off-campus social activity," says Dr. Robert Ernst, director of University Health Services, according to The Michigan Daily. "When we see bunches of cases come in after a party or something like that, it really is disruptive to the system."

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