Coronavirus Outbreak Among University of Washington's Greek Life, While Texas Party of 300 Exposed to COVID-19

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Coronavirus cases along Greek Row at University of Washington have tripled since the weekend as at least 105 people living across 15 different fraternity houses have tested positive for the virus. The students infected have reported their cases to the Interfraternity Council and the results were then handed over to school officials Thursday.

The university said it has so far independently verified 62 of those cases, and another four were confirmed in students who had close contacts but did not live at the properties.

The university said that as of Saturday, they knew of three fraternity members who had began showing symptoms of COVID-19 and prompted officials to setup a testing center on campus.

On Tuesday, the school said 38 students tested positive for COVID-19. The number has now exceeded 100 cases.

The school says that 800 of the 1,000 students living on Greek Row have been tested.

The school has taken measures to reduce the number of risk by cutting half of the residency capacity in half and urged all to wear protective clothing and gear.

“Those measures are not sufficient without vigilant, daily preventive measures, such as wearing face coverings, physical distancing and hand hygiene,” Dr. Geoffrey Gottlieb, chair of the UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases said in a press release.

University of Washington is hoping to reopen in the fall but Dr. Gottlieb says they must remain vigilant if they want to do so.

“What is occurring north of campus provides lessons for students as they consider their return to campus this fall. If everyone does their part to keep each other safe, we can continue to engage with one another and with our studies in the University environment by wearing face coverings and remaining physically distant,” Gottlieb added.

“If we don’t, measures such as what are now required on Greek Row will be inevitable. My sense is all students want to return to some sense of normalcy, so I urge all of us to follow public health guidelines so we can do just that.”

Separately in Texas, hundreds of teenagers were exposed to COVID-19 after attending a party June 20. Several have now tested positive, officials said.

Some of the nearly 300 attendees at the party were waiting on test results when they attended the gathering and have now learned their tests were positive, the Austin Public Health Department said in a statement.  e.

"The virus often hides in the healthy and is given to those who are at grave risk of being hospitalized or dying," the department's statement said. "While younger people have less risk for complications, they are not immune to severe illness and death from COVID-19."

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