(WWJ) Eleven more households tied to Michigan State University have been ordered to begin quarantining immediately because of COVID-19 exposure.
The quarantined properties include 25 fraternity and sorority houses, and 14 large rental houses.
The Ingham County Health Department says all students and others within these homes must remain inside their house for at least two weeks, except to get groceries, medical care or other essentials that cannot be delivered. Visitors are not allowed unless they are "providing an essential service deemed nessecary for the immediate health and safety of residents."
One fraternity and four sororities were ordered to quarantine for an additional three days beyond the two-week period, because of further COVID-19 exposure.
Ingham County Health Officer, Linda Vail, called the situation "deeply concerning" for both East Lansing and the college community.
“Our inability to contain this extremely high level of transmission will adversely impact other communities, services and businesses in the county. Ingham County has the highest COVID-19 risk in the entire state of Michigan.”
Even though Michigan State University is offering remote instruction only, thousands of students returned to East Lansing to complete their online courses in off-campus housing.
Vail said Ingham County had a 315% increase in total case count since September 1. Ingham County is at 252 cases of COVID-19 per million; according to the Health Department. “Very High Risk,” under the MI Safe Start Map, is defined as 70 cases per million.
Health officials say at least one third of the cases among students are tied to parties or other social gatherings.
“The source of these gatherings tends not to be going to work, or activities like that,” Vail told WWJ. “It is the social gatherings. It is the best we can do right now to see if we can stop this ongoing transmission that is skyrocketing out of control."
Vail said it is likely more homes will be added to the mandatory quarantine.
Vail has not disclosed any information about how severe the cases among the campus community are. However, The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services reports 20 people with a confirmed case of COVID-19 are hospitalized in Region 1 (which includes Ingham County). Of those patients in the hospital, 2 are on ventilators and 3 are in the ICU.
Region 1 also includes Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston and Shiawassee counties.
Violating quarantine is classified as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail or an up to $200 fine.