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New Greek Row outbreak infects 11 students with coronavirus

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After an outbreak that saw more than 150 fraternity residents test positive for the novel coronavirus in June, another spate of cases has struck Greek Row, with 11 students testing positive as of Saturday afternoon.

After further investigation from county health officials following the original publication of this article, the number of cases was updated down to 11 from 13. The other two cases are not related to this outbreak.

Interfraternity Council President Erik Johnson said these cases are considered to be isolated because all of these cases are within one chapter between the fraternity house and live-out facilities.

As students begin moving back on campus this week, the university is recommending that all on-campus residents and those living in Greek housing get tested within 72 hours before coming back to campus. 

When COVID-19 hit fraternities this summer, it spread quickly, racing from 38 cases June 30 to 151 across 15 houses just one week later. This outbreak appears to be spreading slower, as the first two cases were first announced Sept. 11. 

When the June outbreak sprouted, the university moved quickly to get all of the 1,100 or so fraternity residents across 25 houses tested for coronavirus, setting up a pop-up testing site at Madrona Hall, a dorm on the UW’s north campus. The site administered almost 1,300 tests in just days.

Greek community members are being urged to get tested at the UW Club, where students can insert the swab themselves into each of their nostrils. Results are supposed to come in 24-48 hours.

The university is currently preparing to launch the Husky Coronavirus Testing program, through which students will be able to get tested regularly. Residents of the Greek community are being encouraged to enroll. Testing will also be available on campus at Hall Health.

As of Saturday, there have been 340 cases of COVID-19 in the UW community dating back to early June, according to the university’s environmental health & safety department. More than half of those cases now have been seen in fraternity and sorority residents, and the vast majority are students on the Seattle campus. On the Bothell campus, there have been six cases; in Tacoma, 12.

In Seattle, there have been 322 cases, with 260 students, 53 staff members, and nine faculty and other academic personnel testing positive for coronavirus.

Reporter Martina Povolo contributed to this report.

Reach News Editors Jake Goldstein-Street and Ash Shah at Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet @itsashshah

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