The Washtenaw County Health Department’s stay-in-place order for University of Michigan undergraduate students ends at 7 a.m. Nov. 3 and will not be extended, following a decrease in the proportion of county COVID-19 cases associated with U-M.
In a Nov. 2 press release, the health department said U-M student cases now represent 33 percent of the county’s total number, compared with 60 percent when the order was issued Oct. 20.
The reduction in new university-associated cases has allowed case investigators and contact tracers to catch up, which allows the investigation and tracing process, and recommended isolation or quarantine instructions, to be effective.
Overall, the number of cases in Washtenaw County remains high, the county said. Washtenaw County reported more than 6,000 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 as of Nov. 2. Its weekly test positivity rate increased to 3.8 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,” said Jimena Loveluck, health officer for Washtenaw County. “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.”
The county said that 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.
Under existing state health orders, everyone must continue to separate themselves from others not already in their household by at least 6 feet and wear a face covering when out in public or in common areas.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services continues to limit residential gatherings to 10 persons indoors and 100 persons outdoors. A local order further limiting residential outdoor gatherings to 25 or fewer people in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti remains in effect.
The county health department encouraged limiting gatherings as much as possible over the holidays, along with continued use of COVID-19 precautions.
Individuals or students planning to return home or visit family or friends should consider staying away from others as much as possible for two weeks prior, wearing a mask in public, and getting tested for COVID-19. The university requires students living in university housing to be tested for COVID before leaving for the Thanksgiving and strongly recommends testing for students living off campus.