University of Washington virus outbreak continues to grow

SEATTLE (AP) — A COVID-19 outbreak involving students at the University of Washington’s fraternities and sororities continues to grow with 238 positive cases as of Monday morning.

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University spokesperson Victor Balta said Monday the cases were spread among 16 sororities and fraternities in the 45-chapter system, which is north of the university campus in Seattle.

The numbers are up from 179 cases as of Tuesday last week, and 227 cases on Friday.

Students who have tested positive or have COVID-like symptoms are being told to isolate in their current place of residence, according to the university. At a press conference Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee expressed frustration about the behavior on Greek Row “that is exposing all of us to great risk.”

“They’ve got to step up and take responsibility for this because these things can just blow up, and frankly they are,” he said last week.

Inslee said his office planned to make it clear that there needs to be leadership from the sororities and fraternities on this issue. On Monday, Inslee spokesperson Mike Faulk told The Associated Press in an email that the governor’s policy staff has been working on recommendations related to higher education to further mitigate COVID spread. The recommendations are still being developed for the governor’s review, he wrote.

An outbreak in June infected 154 students in 15 fraternity houses at the university.

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