On Friday, the University of Michigan COVID-19 dashboard reported a record high of 815 positive cases so far for the week of Jan. 2. This number has increased since the University reported 676 positive cases for the previous week ending on Jan. 1.
Most cases are linked to household and social gathering exposures, according to the dashboard update, and the majority of cases reported mild symptoms of sore throat and runny nose. The positive COVID-19 cases were collected from the Community Sampling and Tracking Program and the University Health Services, the latter of which reached a 26.9% positivity rate on Friday. Complete data for this week will be released on the COVID-19 dashboard on Jan. 12.
Quarantine and isolation housing was at 35.1% capacity on Thursday before dropping to 33.3% as of Friday at 8:30 a.m.
The University has received 22,000 submissions of booster information from students, faculty and staff from all three U-M campuses, University President Mark Schlissel wrote in an email to the campus community Friday. Submissions are currently being verified, and individuals may submit vaccine information here.
Schlissel also announced that N95 masks will be available while supplies last at some on-campus COVID-19 testing locations. The masks will be available for anyone in the U-M community and can be found at any of the seven CSTP sites on campus in the coming days. Individuals do not need to be getting a COVID-19 test to receive an N95 mask.
In addition, Schlissel called on U-M instructors to offer flexibility in accommodating students who are ill or quarantining this semester, including not penalizing students who may not have documentation of illness.
“In addition, accommodation for illness can include activating video or zoom in equipped classrooms so that students who are out sick can see and hear the class…” Schlissel wrote. “Provost Susan M. Collins and I also recognize that in some cases, absences of instructors or large numbers of students due to illness and quarantine and isolation may temporarily warrant remote teaching.”
Martino Harmon, vice president for student life, and Robert D. Ernst, associate vice president of student life for health and wellness, sent an email out to students on Thursday detailing information on what to do if students test positive.
In the email, Harmon and Ernst reported that quarantine and isolation housing was at 11.5% capacity, which was 23.6% lower than what was later reported for the same day on the University’s COVID-19 dashboard.
“With the start of the term, many students moving back into the residence halls and anticipated increased need for isolation for on-campus residents, Q&I space is being prioritized for on-campus residents,” the email read. “If your permanent residence is local, you are encouraged to isolate there, if feasible.”
Quarantine housing and isolation is being prioritized for students living on campus, which according to University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald, has always been the policy.
“With the start of the term and many students moving back into the residence halls, and anticipated increased need for isolation for on-campus residents, Q&I space is being prioritized for on-campus residents and not available to off-campus students at this time,” Fitzgerald wrote Thursday in an email to The Michigan Daily. “That approach has not changed from the fall term.”
Harmon and Ernst also offered protocols for students who test positive while living on or off campus. Students living in residence halls who test positive must report their results to the University if they were tested at a non-university facility or took a self-administered test.
The University is reporting delays in responding to reports of positive test results, which may require students to stay in their residence halls overnight after testing positive, Harmon and Ernst wrote.
“Given your roommate may have already been exposed to you, we ask that you both mask and that you limit your interactions with others as much as possible,” the email reads. “Roommates should plan to get tested again on the fifth day following exposure to you.”
Broekhuizen wrote in an email to The Daily that students are counted in the University’s quarantine and isolation occupancy statistics when they move in to dedicated quarantine housing.
If students living in residence halls are in need of a meal while isolating, they must fill out a form before 6 p.m. to ensure their request is accommodated.
Students living off-campus must also report positive test results to the University and are encouraged to isolate in their rooms and wear masks if there is a need to be around others.
Harmon said some students in off-campus housing may remain isolated in their residence depending on the living arrangement. According to the guidelines, students are safe to isolate in their residence if they have access to an individual closed-door room or a shared bathroom with 0-2 others, among other qualifications.
The University also recommends students consider relocating to their permanent residence to quarantine and isolate if they can drive there in under one day without using public transportation, with one other person in the car, and will have access to a closed-door bedroom and bathroom.
All students must isolate for five days from their test date and communicate with their professors if they are going to miss an in-person class. Following the five-day isolation, students must continue to wear masks for an additional five days afterward.
Update: This article has been updated with details from a Friday afternoon email to the campus community from University President Mark Schlissel.
Daily News Editor Kate Weiland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily Staff Reporter Anna Fifelski contributed reporting.