‘Significant outbreak’ of COVID-19 seen in UW Greek system

Dozens of cases confirmed among sorority, fraternity organizations

The Associated Press

SEATTLE — Dozens of positive COVID-19 cases have been confirmed among sorority and fraternity organizations at the University of Washington in Seattle, officials said.

University spokesperson Victor Balta said 117 people had tested positive among 11 sororities and fraternities as of Friday morning.

University organizations and Public Health — Seattle & King County are working to ensure Greek residents and others who frequent the houses are engaged in containing the outbreak, he said in a post on the university’s website.

“The UW Greek community is experiencing a significant outbreak of COVID-19 cases spread across multiple fraternity and sorority houses, associated with ‘live-outs’ and individual members,” the University said in a letter to students who participate in the Greek community.

“Case counts have increased rapidly over the last several days.”

University officials said in the letter they are “strongly” encouraging all members of the Greek community currently in Seattle to get tested for COVID-19.

Students who have tested positive or have COVID-like symptoms are being told to isolate in their residences, and none have been hospitalized or reported severe symptoms of the virus, Balta said.

Currently, fewer than 2,000 students live in 42 fraternity and sorority houses in the neighborhood north of the university campus. Additional fraternity and sorority members live in the surrounding area, he said.

Over the summer, an outbreak in the Greek community saw a total of 154 positive COVID-19 cases identified over about a month.

Nursing home

On Friday afternoon, health officials said a Mason County nursing home reported a COVID-19 outbreak with 47 positive cases among residents and employees as well as two deaths, The Seattle Times reported.

Of the cases at Fir Lane Health & Rehabilitation Center in Shelton, 48 are long-term care residents and 19 are employees, according to Mason County Public Health. The first cases connected to the 135-bed facility were reported in late September.

Throughout Washington, there have been more than 7,400 COVID-19 cases, including 1,167 deaths, associated with long-term care facilities, according to the state Department of Health.

State health officials on Friday confirmed 694 new COVID-19 cases throughout Washington and 11 additional deaths.

The update brings the state’s totals to 88,810 cases and 2,143 deaths, meaning 2.4 percent of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the state Department of Health.

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