Wednesday, September 30, 2020

ICHD issues mandatory quarantine for 30 large properties in East Lansing

September 14, 2020
<p>Sigma Nu fraternity house on Oakhill Avenue photographed on Sept. 9, 2020. </p>

Sigma Nu fraternity house on Oakhill Avenue photographed on Sept. 9, 2020.

Photo by Hannah Brock | The State News

Thirty large houses in East Lansing with known exposure to COVID-19 have been issued a mandatory quarantine for the next two weeks, according to a release from the Ingham County Health Department (ICHD) Monday. 

The quarantined properties include 23 fraternity and sorority houses and seven large rental houses. Residents of these properties must remain in their residence except for needed medical care or necessities that cannot be delivered, the release states. Those who do not reside in the residence are prohibited from entering the premise unless they are providing an essential service for the immediate health and safety of the resident. 

“I do not take this lightly, but there is an outbreak centered on Michigan State University (MSU) and it is quickly becoming a crisis,” Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said in the release. “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.”

ICHD is continuing to monitor the situation and additional properties identified with cases or exposures will also be placed under quarantine, the release states. 

Ingham County has experienced a 52 percent increase in total case count since Aug. 24 and has since shifted from a percent positivity rate of 2 percent to 5 percent, according to the release.

More than half of the new county-wide cases reside in East Lansing and the majority of all new cases are MSU students. The percent positivity rate for the MSU community has ranged from 11 percent to 15 percent since Sept. 5, the release states. 

According to the emergency order, residents under quarantine must wear face coverings in any common areas of the residence at all times and must maintain six-feet distance from other residents. Temperatures must be taken twice daily and residents must inform the ICHD if they become ill, including cooperating with all questions asked by ICHD staff or the university physician’s office to ensure contract tracing can occur, the order states.

Health department staff may be allowed on their premises for random checks of compliance if deemed necessary.

A willful failure to comply with the quarantine order constitutes a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $200 or up to six-months imprisonment. An individual may be arrested if the violation occurs in the presence of a police officer or if the officer has reasonable cause to believe an individual violated the order, the order states. 

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