Wednesday, September 30, 2020

About 550 of Ingham County's September COVID-19 cases connected to MSU

September 16, 2020
Sparty statue with a mask in the MSU Union on September 15, 2020.
Sparty statue with a mask in the MSU Union on September 15, 2020. —

Approximately 550 COVID-19 cases in Ingham County for the month of September can be attributed to Michigan State University, according to Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail in a media briefing Tuesday.

With 2,709 COVID-19 cases in Ingham County since March, Vail said about 40% — or 980 — come from the first two weeks of September alone. About 700 or more of them, she said, are likely related to MSU, though more data analysis will be required to make a final determination.

On Monday, Vail issued an emergency order placing 30 large East Lansing properties — including 23 fraternity and sorority houses — under a mandatory two-week quarantine. All local MSU students have likewise been recommended to self-quarantine, per a release from the Ingham County Health Department (ICHD) Saturday.

This comes following a recent surge of cases in the county since Aug. 24. from individuals affiliated with the university. While a mandatory quarantine order has yet to be imposed on the city thus far, a failure to comply now may result in more restrictions in the future, Vail said in the release Saturday.

Two properties listed under quarantine restrictions (243 Burcham and 229 Burcham) have since been removed from the list, Vail said.

Vail said she has since received a list of properties from East Lansing licensed to have ten or more people living in the same place.

“We will probably be adding some additional places to that quarantine list as soon as we can verify some information,” Vail said.

ICHD released a set of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) Monday outlining concerns with the mandatory quarantine order. In this, ICHD stated that an individual who tested positive or first became symptomatic for COVID-19 on or after June 14 would not need to quarantine if he/she had been cleared from isolation by the health department who oversaw the individual’s case.

Those under quarantine are still permitted to exercise outdoors with a mask on when six-feet of social distancing cannot be maintained, the FAQ states. Quarantined residents may also be allowed to visit the grocery store for necessary purchases, though home delivery is preferred. 

As of Tuesday, the East Lansing area accounted for 981-990 of the total COVID-19 cases – more than double that of any other city. 39% of total cases come from young adults aged 20-29 – an 8% increase from data reported Sept. 2. 

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