At least 117 residents of fraternity houses at the University of Washington have self-reported testing positive for COVID-19, the school’s Interfraternity Council reported, according to the university.
The school said Friday it has confirmed that a total of 93 students, including 89 fraternity residents, tested positive in the outbreak so far, and said that it is working to collect information and verify the other self-reported cases. The residents are scattered across 15 fraternity houses north of the school’s Seattle campus, according to the Council, the student-run body governing the school’s fraternities. Four other students who do not reside in the fraternities, but who had close contact with fraternity residents, also tested positive.
The fraternities’ leaders said that the students who tested positive or who have symptoms that resemble COVID-19 are isolating in their rooms, according to the university. None have been hospitalized or have reported severe symptoms. The university asked all of the students who may have been exposed to remain in their houses.
UW Medicine has opened a COVID-19 testing facility within walking distance of the Greek residences to help students nearby get tested.
The University told TIME that it is not aware of a specific incident, such as a party, that contributed to the cases. At least 800 people connected to the outbreak had been tested as of July 2. The university said that it does not manage the fraternity or sorority houses at the school, which are governed by independent boards and are located off campus.
Geoffrey Gottlieb, chair of the UW advisory committee on communicable diseases, said in a statement that the outbreak at the fraternities “provides lessons” for students as the school approaches the fall semester.
“If everyone does their part to keep each other safe, we can continue to engage with one another and with our studies in the University environment by wearing face coverings and remaining physically distant,” he said. “If we don’t, measures such as what are now required on Greek Row will be inevitable. My sense is all students want to return to some sense of normalcy, so I urge all of us to follow public health guidelines so we can do just that.”
The outbreak will likely stoke fears that reopened U.S. colleges and universities this fall will fuel the spread of COVID-19. Although the University of Washington and other schools are still planning to hold some classes in-person this fall, critics have cast doubt on whether it’s possible to limit the spread of the virus between young students living in close quarters.
The original version of this story misstated the date of a University of Washington press release. It was published on Thursday, not Saturday.