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Ingham Co. Health Officials Watch COVID Cases Rise As MSU Students Return To Campus

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Michigan State University is requiring all students coming to campus for the fall to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Michigan State University has put in place some measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the start of the fall semester on September 1.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail says COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen significantly throughout August.

As of Tuesday, Vail says there are 54 confirmed or suspected COVID cases at Sparrow and McLaren hospitals with seven patients in intensive care.

She says that’s an 86% increase from where that statistic was two weeks ago.

Now, as Michigan State University begins a new semester on September 1, Vail says it’s imperative to watch for more jumps in case rates.

“Some 50,000 students in a county that has a population of 290,000 is huge," Vail said.

"I think this community needs to know what’s going on with that very large student population that’s living here."

Vail is commending MSU for implementing several measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

That includes requiring all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated by the end of August, though religious and medical exemptions are available.

Masks will also be required inside buildings on campus.

But Vail says it’s important to continue to monitor for any coronavirus outbreaks.

“We are going to be watching that situation very carefully, but the fact that Michigan State University is requiring masks for their students should be really remarkably helpful."

Vail adds the county will continue talking with the university to ensure it is gathering accurate student vaccination data.

Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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