(WWJ) The Ingham County Health Department is asking all Michigan State University students living in East Lansing to self-quarantine after hundreds of people affiliated with the school (mostly students) tested positive for COVID-19.
In a post on Twitter, the Health Department said 342 people connected to the school have been diagnosed with the virus since August 24.
An article posted on the Ingham County official website says this is not an emergency order, but a “strong recommendation.”
“However more stringent and mandatory restrictions will be imposed if students do not comply and break the transmission cycle,” the website reads.
Only 23 people associated with the campus tested positive for the virus prior to the surge in cases, according to the website.
“This is an urgent situation,” Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail says in the release. “The exponential growth of COVID-19 cases must stop. I am concerned about the health and safety of the MSU community, and importantly, I am seriously concerned that unchecked transmission locally will affect the health and safety of all Ingham County residents. If we do not slow the spread immediately, we will be dealing with the consequences across the county for months to come.”
Officials say students will be permitted to leave their homes only to attend in-person classes, labs or intercollegiate athletic training. They may also leave to get food, medicine, medical care or other “supplies that are needed to sustain or protect life” that cannot be acquired through delivery. Otherwise, they are asked to stay home.
Michigan State University is remote only and students were asked to stay home; however, thousands of students living off campus were locked into leases or made the decision to return to the university community for a variety of reasons.
The Ingham Health Department said at least one third of the cases are tied to social gatherings, and one third of those gatherings were a part of a sorority or fraternity.
Health officials tell WWJ quarantine should begin today and end Saturday, September 26 at 11:59 p.m.