Public health department responding to coronavirus outbreak in UW’s Greek system

Chopper 7 flew over the University of Washington quad as tourists and locals took in the cherry blossoms

SEATTLE — The University of Washington and Public Health - Seattle & King County are responding to one of the latest coronavirus outbreaks in the area, this time in the school’s Greek system.

As of Tuesday, officials say at least 128 fraternity house residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Nine additional students who have also tested positive are close contacts of the fraternity residents but do not live in the houses, officials said.

The at least 137 total confirmed cases is an increase of 71 since last Thursday when officials said 62 fraternity house residents and four students in close contact had tested positive.

As of June 30, at least 38 students in nine fraternity houses had tested positive.

>> Related: UW announces new face covering requirements for all three campuses

The residents are being asked to quarantine or self-isolate. UW says there are currently about 1,000 students living in 25 fraternity houses.

The Interfraternity Council, a student-led governing board for UW fraternities, reported  that at least 146 residents living in 15 fraternity houses had self-reported positive tests as of Monday.

School officials said they are continuing the conduct their own testing and verification of cases, which accounts for the discrepancy in reported cases.

Click here to see the official, confirmed COVID-19 cases.

UW Medicine set up a pop-up testing site last week near Greek Row. As of the weekend, officials said nearly 1,300 tests had been conducted

“What is occurring north of campus provides lessons for students as they consider their return to campus this fall,” Dr. Geoffrey Gottlieb, chair of the UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, said last week. “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.”