Newly reported COVID-19 cases at CMU spike with 112 cases

Isabella County residents wait in line in their cars to get tested for COVID-19 at the Isabella Urgent Care center drive-thru testing, Friday, Nov. 13.

About a week before many students return to their hometowns, Central Michigan University is experiencing its biggest spike in COVID-19 cases yet.

Between Nov. 9 and Nov. 15, there were 112 newly reported cases, according to the Fired Up for Fall webpage. This tops the previous highest number of 63. There have been 582 reported cases among CMU’s population since June 15. Of reported cases, 50 remain active among a campus population of about 15,500.

“The vast majority of COVID-19 cases to date have been tied to off-campus activity in small gathering-type environments,” said the Executive Director of University Communications Heather Smith. “This illustrates the importance of not becoming complacent or getting too comfortable around those outside your immediate household.

“Knowing someone doesn’t mean they can’t carry the virus. It is critical, even in small gatherings, to social distance, wear masks and wash your hands.”

Exams end on Wednesday, Nov. 25 this year, meaning many students will return home or travel to visit family around Thanksgiving, shortly after the biggest case spike during the semester. Smith said students can visit an article on CMU’s website that gives advice on how to stay safe. Some tips include:

- Minimize risk of exposure and infection during the weeks leading up to your departure from campus or Mount Pleasant.

- Individuals should reduce the number of close contacts.

- Check for travel requirements or restrictions for any destination.

- Within a week of traveling, people should get tested if they have symptoms related to COVID-19 or are concerned they may have been exposed.

Smith also said COVID-19 surveillance testing will be available on campus through Nov. 19 and will begin again Jan. 4.

According to CMU's Health and Safety Protocols, students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine themselves for 10 days since symptoms first appeared.

CMU Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer John Veilleux said there may appear to be a discrepancy between active cases and cases reported in the past 10 days since much of the data is out of date. But this is due to the university receiving many positive results after students complete their isolation, he said.

As of Nov. 17, there were 1,662 cases in Isabella County since the start of the pandemic, according to the Central Michigan District Health Department’s website. There have been 808 recoveries and 17 deaths.