ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — On Tuesday, the University of Michigan reported a “significant rise” in COVID-19 cases in a published memo on its Campus Maize and Blueprint dashboard.
The statement reads, in part: "U-M officials report a significant rise in COVID-19 cases last week in the student community compared to the previous week while employee cases remained stable at an elevated plateau. Social gatherings without masks continue to be the primary identified route of transmission among students."
Students 7 Action News spoke with say, by and large, their peers have been following COVID-19 safety protocols set forth by the university on campus. However, they said the news of an uptick in cases comes as no surprise with so many opportunities to gather.
"I know a bunch of my friends are getting the booster shots. So, I think we're doing as much as we can. But also, it's hard to draw the line because campus is (basically) back to normalcy," Mariam Kahn said.
"Definitely at the beginning of school, I saw more people wearing their masks, but as people got to know the campus and know the people around them, they started being a little more lenient," Jake Sazgari said.
"I think most of my friends are still masking up in public spaces indoors," Lilly Kujawski said.
She added that her friends are vaccinated.
Susan Ringler Cerniglia, spokesperson for the Washtenaw County Health Department, says transmission has been high and has remained high for the entire county since school started.
"So, we're coming off of a big weekend with Halloween and games and activities. It's my understanding the University of Michigan also recently had a break. So, many people may have traveled," Cerniglia explained.
"So, all of those things — when we have transmission high in the community are very likely to lead to an increase in cases," she continued.
She said it's unfair to place all the attention on the university, adding that there's COVID-19 transmission in the general community and in K-12 schools. To counter a rise in cases, Cerniglia said people are advised to follow safety protocols.
"Whether you're vaccinated or not, if you're in an indoor enclosed space, definitely wear that mask, keep that distance (and) hand washing is always important. Vaccination is one of our best tools for both protecting individuals as well as reducing overall spread."
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