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At MSU, 124 Students, Two Employees Test Positive For COVID-19

Two separate photos edited together of Mike Balow standing outside next to the MSU campus Sparty statue and Travis Menge at the Lansing Center for the GOP nominating convention.
Travis Menge and Mike Balow
Mike Balow (left) and Travis Menge (right) are the state Republican party nominees to serve on the MSU Board of Trustees.

UPDATED AT 1:22 P.M. - MSU now says nearly all students live off campus, not all of them.

Michigan State University reports that 124 students and two employees have tested positive for COVID-19. All the students who have tested positive live off campus, according to a news release from MSU.

The cases don’t appear to be linked to a single gathering, but rather to multiple large gatherings of students since mid-August. Ingham County Health Director Linda Vail ties the cases to gatherings that exceeded capacity.

The numbers come from symptomatic students tested at the university, and others who reported an off-campus positive test themselves. Those students have been directed to self-isolate, and tracing procedures are underway.

MSU President Samuel Stanley Jr., an expert in infectious diseases, refers to the report as “disappointing, but not unexpected.” He urges avoiding large gatherings, physical distancing, masks and frequent hand washing.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail says she had “higher hopes than that,” adding that "it’s disappointing, but we anticipated it could happen. We certainly expected that maybe it would be a bit better in control, so it’s very disappointing.”

Much of the cause, Vail says, is that people have been doing exactly what they’ve been told not to do, such as not wearing masks and going to large social gatherings.

University Physician Dr. David Weismantel says it appears the cases are not linked to a single large gathering, but to multiple smaller gatherings where people were not wearing masks or social distancing.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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