Quarantine, isolation housing occupancy nearing 50% at University of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, MI — Occupancy in the University of Michigan’s quarantine and isolation housing for COVID-19 cases now tops 46%, according to university data.

a large brick building with a clock on the side of a road: Buildings at the Northwood III complex on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.

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Buildings at the Northwood III complex on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.

As of 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 16, occupancy of quarantine and isolation housing is at 46.2%, according to UM’s COVID-19 dashboard. There are 135 students who have received a positive test and are in isolation housing, and another 142 have been exposed or are waiting for test results, the data shows.


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On Friday, Oct. 9, just a week ago, only 17.2% of quarantine and isolation housing was occupied, according to the dashboard.

If there is an 80% projected capacity for isolation and quarantine housing within 14 days, UM health leaders and public health experts would evaluate the use of enhanced mitigation strategies, according to published guidelines.

These strategies could include restricting in-person activities, a pause of in-person classes and switching to remote classes for the remainder of the semester,

University of Michigan publishes guidelines for responses, strategies in case of COVID-19 outbreak

Since Oct. 11, there have been 73 confirmed cases in the UM community, the dashboard shows. Most of those tests came within the university, but in weeks prior, the majority of positive tests were conducted outside University Health Services or Occupational Health Services, according to the dashboard.

A number of cases were identified in the past week and previous weekend, including cases involving residence halls, UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said. Follow-up, targeted testing identified additional asymptomatic cases, and students of specific floors in three residence halls have been asked to maintain enhanced social distancing for two weeks, Fitzgerald said.

High numbers of cases in residence halls include 60 at South Quad, 51 at West Quad and 34 at Mary Markley Hall, which recently identified a cluster on the third floor.

Coronavirus cluster identified on 3rd floor of University of Michigan’s Mary Markley Hall

There have been 824 COVID-19 cases connected to campus since Sept. 13, including 279 for the week of Sept. 20, dashboard data shows. There has been an increase in COVID-19 activity across the region, with new cases often attributed to social gatherings, both indoors and outdoors, Fitzgerald said.

Some students who tested positive also had a number of close contacts, which caused an increase in the number of students who moved to quarantine housing because of higher risk exposures, Fitzgerald said.

UM is accommodating students in need of quarantine or isolation in units on North Campus as part of the university’s overall inventory of quarantine and isolating housing spaces, Fitzgerald said. UM has capacity for 600 students in quarantine or isolation, Fitzgerald said.

UM has shifted to using saliva-based testing through university startup LynxDx Inc. The university’s Community Sampling and Tracking Program conducted 415 saliva-based tests at Palmer Commons last week, with all tests coming back negative, an Oct. 13 dashboard update shows. UM