WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI — The Washtenaw County Health Department is lifting the two-week stay-in-place order for University of Michigan undergraduate students, the department announced Monday.
The order will expire at 7 a.m. Tuesday. The proportion of local COVID-19 cases associated with U-M has decreased, and the reduction in new, university-associated cases has allowed case investigators and contact tracers to catch up, the department said in a news release. Overall, the number of cases in Washtenaw County remains high and weekly test positivity has increased to nearly 4 percent.
“We are grateful for the cooperation of the university and its students on this order. We know this is incredibly difficult for all of us,” Jimena Loveluck, MSW, health officer for Washtenaw County, said. “We’re thankful for this small bit of good news, but we all must continue to do everything we can to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on each of us and on our community.
“Recent weeks have left no doubt that the virus continues to circulate and have also confirmed that we can minimize its negative impacts by continuing to use face coverings and distance and cooperating fully with all public health guidance.”
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Prompt case investigation and contact tracing decreases the spread of COVID-19 once positive cases are identified, according to the health department. Since most COVID-19 cases continue to be related to social gatherings and events without preventative measures, limiting social gatherings is critical to keeping new cases lower, officials added.
When the local stay-in-place order was issued Oct. 20, the health department said more than 60 percent of Washtenaw County’s COVID-19 cases were associated with U-M students, and case investigators and contact tracers were unable to keep up with the sharp increase in these cases.
U-M student cases now represent about a third of local COVID-19 cases, officials said, althoughand resources for investigating and tracing cases are still stretched.
Washtenaw County has reported over 6,000 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 as of Monday. Nearly 185,000 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Michigan as of Monday.
This article originally appeared on the Detroit Patch