The outbreak of cases nearly tripled from when a cluster was first announced early this week

By Georgia Slater
July 03, 2020 10:51 AM
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Over 100 students in the University of Washington's Greek system have reported testing positive for the coronavirus this week, amplifying concern about the reopening of colleges and universities this fall.

According to CBS News, 105 students living in 15 fraternity houses near campus this summer reported testing positive for the virus on Thursday. The county health department has verified 62 of those cases, as well as four other students who were in close contact with the residents but do not live there.

As the university continues to confirm these cases, residents are being asked to quarantine or self-isolate for the time being. None of the residents have been hospitalized.

The first cluster was reported Tuesday, with the university sharing that at least 38 students across 10 fraternity houses were infected with the virus. The number of cases nearly tripled by the end of the week.

According to the school, there are approximately 1,000 students living in 25 fraternity homes north of the UW Seattle campus.

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Michelle Ma, a spokeswoman for the university, told CBS News that more than 800 students have been tested in response to the uptick in cases. Updated results are expected to be announced next week.

"Within 24 hours, we set up a site nearby the Greek houses and apartments for students to come and be tested," Lisa Brandenburg, president of UW Medicine Hospitals and Clinics, told the Seattle Patch. "Within the first day, we tested 430 students."

The Interfraternity Council, the student-led board which governs the UW fraternities, is no longer allowing fraternity houses to hold social events at this time.

These outbreaks of cases point to how difficult it will be to contain the spread of coronavirus at colleges this fall.

"The outbreak at UW is very concerning, and it does make us concerned about what might happen this fall," Dr. Jeff Duchin, public health officer for King County told Patch. "When you don't take precautions, you get a lot of COVID in return."

The tally of coronavirus cases is continuing to rise in the United States leading into the Fourth of July weekend.

Based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. had more than 52,000 new confirmed infections on Thursday, a new daily high, according to CNN. The spike in cases topped Wednesday's daily record of 51,174.

The outlet also reported that numbers are rising in 36 states across the country, including California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina. As of Friday, there have been more than 2,758,800 cases of COVID-19 and at least 128,800 deaths in the U.S., according to data compiled by The New York Times.

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