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Quarantine ordered at 30 East Lansing houses with COVID-19 exposure


Kim Kozlowski   | The Detroit News

The Ingham County Health Department has mandated a two-week quarantine of people living in 30 large houses in East Lansing with known exposure to COVID-19.

The houses include 23 fraternity and sorority houses and seven rental houses.

New and ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks are centered on college campuses across Michigan, with a much smaller number at K-12 buildings, according to data released Monday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

MSU has the most new cases in the state, with 203, the department said.

Ferris State University in Big Rapids and Michigan Technological University each have 28 new cases. FSU has 28 cases involving students, while Michigan Technological University has 25 cases centered at Greek housing and three units elsewhere on campus.

Saginaw Valley State University has two, Aquinas College in East Grand Rapids has three and Davenport University in Grand Rapids has six.

As for ongoing outbreaks, state health officials reported Grand Valley State University has 438 cases among students. Central Michigan University has 271 cases among students and Adrian College has 229 cases among students and school staff. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has 77 cases among students.

At MSU, the Greek system has 62 chapters of fraternities and sororities that are part of four governing councils that include African American, Latinx, Asian, Progressive and Multicultural/Multiethnic Greek-letter organizations. Of those, 27 fraternities and four sororities have houses off campus, according to MSU spokeswoman Emily Guerrant.

The health department's mandated quarantines did not include any fraternities and sororities from Black or ethnic Greek-letter organizations. 

The quarantine comes after the health department reported a COVID-19 outbreak over the weekend and suggested that all students quarantine themselves for two weeks.

MSU also said last week that the university is processing 26 incident reports related to potential violations of MSU’s Community Compact and the Ingham County Health Department’s emergency order on gatherings. 

Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail said she did not take the move lightly, "but there is an outbreak centered on Michigan State University (MSU) and it is quickly becoming a crisis.”

 “The surge in cases we have seen over the past few weeks is alarming," Vail said in a statement. "I am disheartened to add that this outbreak is being fueled in part by a lack of cooperation and compliance from some MSU students, many residing in the properties now under mandatory quarantine.

"We must contain COVID-19 cases; however, within the MSU community we have been unable to do so with comprehensive contact tracing so other means of disease containment are necessary.”

Guerrant concurred.

"We share in the concern of our public health experts and will hold students accountable for complying with all local health orders as outlined in our community compact — even if they are off campus," Guerrant said. "We all share in the responsibility of protecting ourselves and each other. This mandatory quarantine for specific off-campus houses is another helpful tool to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Ingham County has experienced a 52% increase in total case count since Aug. 24 and has shifted from a positivity rate of 2% to 5%, according to the statement.

But officials noted the comparison of the county to the MSU community. There, the positivity rate has ranged from 11% to 15% since Sept. 5 and more than 50% of all new cases countywide are in the city of East Lansing, and the majority of all new cases are MSU students.

Residents of the quarantined properties cannot leave except for medical care or to obtain items that cannot be delivered. 

Violation of the order is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment up to six months, a fine of up to $200, or both.

Here is a full list of the addresses covered by the order:

453 Abbott Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823 Fraternity Theta Chi  

532 Abbott Rd. East Lansing, MI 48823 Rental NA

544 Abbott Rd. East Lansing, MI 48823 Rental NA

505 Albert Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Rental NA

403 Ann St. East Lansing, MI 48823 Rental NA

532 Ann St. East Lansing, MI 48823 Rental NA

217 Burcham Dr. East Lansing, MI 48823 Rental NA

229 Burcham Dr. East Lansing, MI 48823 Sorority Chi Omega

243 Burcham Dr. East Lansing, MI 48823 Sorority Alpha Chi Omega

220 Cedar St. East Lansing, MI 48823 Fraternity Beta Theta Pi (1/2)

230 Cedar St. East Lansing, MI 48823 Fraternity Beta Theta Pi (2/2)

301 Charles St. East Lansing, MI 48823 Fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha

128 Collingwood Dr. East Lansing, MI 48823 Fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi

626 Cowley Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Fraternity Phi Delta Theta

729 E. Grand River. Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Fraternity Phi Gamma Delta

1148 E. Grand River Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon

1218 E. Grand River Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Fraternity Delta Sigma Phi

810 W. Grand River Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Fraternity Psi Upsilon

342 N. Harrison Rd. East Lansing, MI 48823 Fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon

365 N. Harrison Rd. East Lansing, MI 48823 Sorority Delta Gamma

332 M.A.C. Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Rental NA

427 M.A.C. Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Sorority Sigma Delta Tau

518 M.A.C. Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Sorority Sigma Kappa

605 M.A.C. Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma

616 M.A.C. Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Sorority Alpha Phi

639 M.A.C. Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Sorority Zeta Tau Alpha

258 Michigan Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Sorority Gamma Phi Beta

110 Oakhill Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Fraternity Sigma Nu

303 Oakhill Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Sorority Kappa Alpha Theta

101 Woodmere Ave. East Lansing, MI 48823 Fraternity Phi Kappa Psi