Messages & News

January 17, 2021

COVID-19 variant in Washtenaw County

Dear U-M community member,

The first known Michigan case of a new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7. was identified by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Laboratories today in an individual living in Washtenaw County.

Data suggest this variant spreads more easily and quickly, so it is important to maintain vigilance and follow public health best practices. These include:

  • Avoid large social gatherings (Reminder: Current public health orders restrict indoors gatherings to no more than 10 people).
  • Wear a mask on campus and when around anyone outside your immediate household.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 regularly.
  • Watch for symptoms, and isolate and seek medical care immediately if symptoms develop.
  • Use the ResponsiBLUE app daily.

The science about new COVID-19 variants is emerging, but the actions above are currently thought to reduce their spread. These variants are considered more contagious but do not necessarily cause more severe illness.

Based on available evidence, current tests and vaccines for COVID-19 work for this new variant.

University and public health officials continue to recommend that all undergraduate and graduate students in the Ann Arbor area (even if all classes are remote) be tested regularly. This is especially important for individuals living in group living environments (e.g., residence halls, co-ops, fraternities/sororities, other group houses) and for those who have traveled recently. All students returning to campus and the Ann Arbor area are asked to schedule COVID-19 testing within 72 hours of arrival.

Testing appointments are available to all members of the U-M community throughout the winter term, including this weekend. Sign up for testing through two simple steps:

  1. Register/or update your information, and
  2. Select test time/date.

We will continue to provide updates and guidance as we learn more. Please visit the Campus Blueprint for the latest information. Thank you for your continued efforts to keep our campus community safe.

Sincerely,

Robert D. Ernst, M.D. Associate Vice President of Student Life for Health and Wellness Executive Director of University Health Service

Preeti Malani, M.D. Professor of Medicine Chief Health Officer