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Dashboard Shows 100 New Cases of COVID-19 at U of Michigan in Two Weeks

UM posted an update on its COVID-19 dashboard Thursday, Sept. 24, saying the university is aware of the increase in positive cases and that the Washtenaw County Health Department is managing the off-campus cases and providing contact tracing.

by Steve Marowski, MLive.com, Walker, Mich. / September 24, 2020
Students walk on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan. TNS
(TNS) - The University of Michigan has updated its COVID-19 dashboard to reflect testing that occurred outside the university, and the results show there were more than 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases between Sept. 13-19.
 
UM posted an update on its COVID-19 dashboard Thursday, Sept. 24, saying the university is aware of the increase in positive cases and that the Washtenaw County Health Department is managing the off-campus cases and providing contact tracing.
 
The WCHD is now reporting confirmed cases and suspected probable cases, the update states, and UM launched its enhanced COVID-19 dashboard to reflect new datasets, including testing from outside the county.
 
This is what caused the jump in cases, with a majority stemming from clusters involving students living in off-campus housing, according to the update.
 
The university has been working to add off-campus testing to the dashboard, and the positive cases are mostly students who are going somewhere else in the county to be tested, UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said. If they test positive, it’s reported to the county health department, and from there, contact tracers and case managers can determine that the person is a UM student.
 
“Much like the pandemic and our approach to the pandemic is evolving, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that our COVID-19 dashboard has been evolving,” Fitzgerald said. “I would say our efforts have always sort of been grounded in trying to provide the information accurately and as quickly as we can.”
 
Positivity rates for the university community will not change with the addition of community testing data because only positive test results are reported into the state database of reportable disease, UM said in a Thursday news release. It’s not possible to calculate the positivity rate of cases without knowing how many total tests were administered off campus for UM community members, according to the release.
 
UM released information on the dashboard Wednesday, Sept. 23 saying it’s aware of positive cases involving students at three separate off-campus group living residences. UM’s Department of Environment, Health and Safety is working with the WCHD to offer isolation housing for known and suspected cases, as well as contact tracing and asymptomatic testing for residents who have been directed to quarantine, officials said.
 
Since Aug. 30, there have been 257 confirmed cases among members of the campus community, and more than half of those cases were confirmed by outside testing, according to the dashboard. There have been 149 cases since Sept. 13 with 91 of those positive tests coming outside the university, the dashboard states.
 
A majority of those cases were students, the dashboard states, and since Sept. 20, 40 students have tested positive with 32 being tested outside of University Health Services.
 
Almost all cases in non-students, which includes faculty, staff and alumni, were tested through the University Health System or Occupational Health Services, according to the dashboard.
 
As of Sept. 19, there are 14 residence halls with confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 23 at South Quad, eight at both Mosher-Jordan and West Quad, six at Mary Markley and five at Alice Lloyd. Baits and Barbour/Newberry are the only dormitories listed on the dashboard without cases.
 
UM identified a cluster of cases at South Quad, but as of Monday, Sept. 21, the university has received 221 negative COVID-19 results using a “pop-up site” to test residents on the sixth and eighth floors, where a majority of cases were located.
 
221 University of Michigan students test negative for coronavirus after ‘cluster’ at South Quad
 
According to the Thursday update, there are no new clusters within residence halls, and all known positive cases and close contacts have been moved into quarantine and isolation.
 
The dashboard shows there are 17 people in isolation housing and 63 in quarantine housing, and 13.3% of quarantine and isolation housing is occupied.
 
 
 
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