By Associated Press - Thursday, September 17, 2020

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Ingham County health officials have identified 11 more large houses near Michigan State University’s campus where there are known exposures to the COVID-19 virus.

The health department has ordered residents in those houses to quarantine for the next two weeks.

Mandatory quarantines now have been ordered for 25 fraternity and sorority houses and 14 large rental houses in East Lansing. The houses have known cases or exposure to COVID-19.

The quarantine, which is mandatory, means students or others living in the buildings cannot leave except for medical care or necessities that cannot be delivered.

East Lansing has experienced a 315% increase in confirmed virus cases since Sept. 1 and that nearly entirely is driven by an outbreak among Michigan State students that directly accounts for 80% of all new cases, according to the health department.

On Saturday, the health department said at least a third of the 342 people affiliated with the university testing positive for the virus since Aug. 24 attended parties or social gatherings. At least one third of the gatherings were associated with fraternities or sororities.

In the three weeks before the surge, only 23 people affiliated with the university had tested positive.

“I do not take this lightly, but there is an outbreak centered on Michigan State University and it is quickly becoming a crisis,” Health Officer Linda Vail said earlier this week in a statement. “The surge in cases we have seen over the past few weeks is alarming.”

The school is offering online-only instruction after encouraging students to not live in dorms and instead stay home.

The state of Michigan on Thursday reported nearly 114,700 confirmed virus cases and 6,632 deaths.

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