Western Michigan University coronavirus case total nearly at 600

KALAMAZOO — Sindecuse Health Center at Western Michigan University reported 87 new coronavirus cases Friday, Oct. 10, pushing the total number of coronavirus cases since students returned in August to 598.

Across four residence halls, there are currently 23 cases, university spokesperson Paula Davis told MLive on Friday. The university has not provided a breakdown of the amount of cases in each dorm, and it remains unclear exactly how many students living on-campus have been infected.

The cases reported Tuesday stem from positive test results from Oct. 2 through Oct. 7, as the school has been updating its COVID-19 dashboard with data each Tuesday and Friday evening.

Sindecuse reports results from Thursday and Friday of the week prior on Tuesday, and reports results from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the following Friday. The health center is closed on Saturday and Sunday.

So far, about 12% of the 23,363 students enrolled at WMU have been tested for coronavirus.

For now, the amount of testing is trending up, as 372 more tests were performed over the last five days than in the previous five-day stretch leading up to Oct. 1.

Vice President of Student Affairs Diane Anderson sent students an email Wednesday, Oct. 7, reminding them to remain vigilant in their mitigation strategies like hand washing, wearing a mask and properly socially distancing.

“Largely, we are seeing strong compliance across the campus community,” Anderson said. “In-person classes continue to be safe, and we thank those who have been following the rules. But, in recent days, we also have had instances in four residence halls where not all of our community members have been compliant and thus experienced the consequences.”

In the email, Anderson said the university has employed disciplinary sanctions when students have not complied with safety measures. The university said it would be removing furniture in common spaces or locking up lounges in residence halls where coronavirus spikes occur.

“At the earliest sign of any problem, consistent with our response throughout the pandemic, we will and are taking actions to eliminate the potential for exposure and spread,” Anderson said in the email.

Residents who live in a hall that has experienced a rise in cases received a separate message with information specific to their building. Anyone who may have been exposed to the virus has been contacted through the university’s contact tracing protocols, the email said.

Staff and students at Western who would like to be tested can make an appointment by calling Sindecuse Health Center at 269-387-3287, or visit the Sindecuse website to set up an appointment via the health center portal.

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