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The University of Michigan is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 activity since classes began Aug. 30. 

As of Wednesday, U-M-affiliated cases make up 25% of the current COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County. Also, the University has identified the first publicly reported University-affiliated cluster of the semester, a group of 15 related cases associated with an off-campus residence. 

Preliminary data on the campus blueprint COVID-19 dashboard shows there were 166 new positive COVID-19 cases last week. This number increased from 77 new positive cases during the previous week of Aug. 22. In the last 14 days, there have been 64 cases found among students living in residence halls.

According to an update released Wednesday on the COVID-19 dashboard, quarantine and isolation housing occupancy has reached 34%. In July, campus quarantine and isolation housing capacity decreased from 456 rooms to 288. 

On Wednesday, the dashboard showed an incorrect COVID-19 positivity rate of 38% for the week of Sep. 5. University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald wrote in an email to The Michigan Daily that this was the result of an error in testing reporting and the dashboard team was alerted to the error. 

“The team is investigating this further and working on a fix,” Fitzgerald wrote. “This error is acknowledged in the dashboard narrative as well as the dashboard chart itself with the note the data is being repaired.”

Fitzgerald also wrote that the University does not have more details on the cluster noted in the dashboard update. 

Last Monday, the University updated their metrics used in monitoring COVID-19 on campus. According to the updated metrics, a doubling of COVID-19 cases involving students, faculty, and staff within a week triggers a review of University policies and procedures by the Campus Health Response Committee. 

In response to a question from The Daily about whether the doubling of cases between the week of Aug. 22 and the week of Aug. 29 would trigger a review of operations, Fitzgerald wrote that “U-M officials are reviewing data against the established Campus Response Metrics and may recommend adjustments to the university’s COVID-19 mitigations measures, as needed.”

A review of mitigation strategies can also be triggered if projections indicate that isolation and quarantine housing will reach 80% capacity within a two-week period, or there are two or more campus clusters identified. 

On Wednesday, the University reported the number of currently admitted COVID-19 patients at Michigan Medicine as 35, an uptick from the single digits in July but still much lower than the 100-plus in previous waves. 

While 93% of the students on campus, 78% of staff and 92% of faculty have reported their vaccination, the number of new positive COVID-19 cases on campus has been increasing every week since Aug. 8. 


Daily News Editors Calder Lewis and Hannah Mackay can be reached at calderll@umich.edu and mackayh@umich.edu. Daily Staff Reporter Nirali Patel can be reached at nirpat@umich.edu.