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LIVE UPDATES: UW-Madison students in two dorms begin quarantine

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Students enter Witte Hall on the UW-Madison campus

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Dane County reports largest increase in COVID-19 cases, more than double previous high

MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane reported its largest single-day increase in new COVID-19 cases, more than doubling its previous high, according to new numbers from Public Health Madison & Dane County. READ MORE

Students head home after learning of UW dorm quarantines

MADISON (WKOW) -- By 7 a.m. Thursday morning, several UW-Madison students had already packed up their belongings and hit the road with their families rather than stay quarantined in Sellery Hall. READ MORE

UW-Madison students scramble for supplies as two-week quarantine begins

MADISON (WKOW) -- A stream of students with bags full of snacks and packs of water filed out of the Fresh Madison Market Wednesday night. As of 10 p.m., residents of Witte and Sellery Halls were to quarantine in place for the next two weeks per an order from Chancellor Rebecca Blank. READ MORE

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Badgers pause football and men’s hockey workouts

MADISON (WKOW) -- The University of Wisconsin has announced a two-week pause in workouts for the football and men's hockey teams. Read Athletic Director Barry Alvarez's statement HERE.

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UW-Madison students in two dorms begin quarantine

MADISON (WKOW) -- UW-Madison officials announced Wednesday night they are pausing all in-person classed through Sunday; they'll resume Monday on an entirely virtual basis for at least the next two weeks.

UPDATE (WKOW) -- UW-Madison is not sending undergrads home from the dorms, however late Wednesday they announced students in Sellery and Witte halls would be in quarantine and the university would move to virtual instruction two week. READ THE LATEST HERE.

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Dane County asks UW Madison to send students in dorms home

MADISON (WKOW) -- Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases on the UW-Madison campus, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi asked university officials on Wed. Sept. 9 to require undergraduates living in residence halls to move back home for the rest of this semester.

However university officials declined, and instead put two dorms on quarantine and move to virtual learning for two weeks.

Since Sept. 1, at least 74 percent of Dane County’s new COVID-19 positive cases were from the UW, Parisi said in his letter.

According to initial contact tracing from Public Health Madison & Dane County, as of Wednesday there are at least 46 separate outbreaks affiliated with UW-Madison Parisi said.

In a written response, UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, said she shared Parisi's concern but pointed to her recent request that students avoid in-person contact as a reason to be patient.

"The university recently entered a two-week period of reduced activity for undergraduates, but recognizes that cases will continue to rise among students in the short term," Blank said. "We will continue to evaluate our operations in light of this changing situation."

After the release of Parisi's letter, UW-Madison says it received a number of questions about whether students living in campus residence halls will be sent home. The university says it does not believe asking students to leave the residence halls is warranted at this time. It says it has taken a number of actions to slow the spread of the virus and additional actions will be announced soon.

(App users click to download Parisi's letter)

Here's what Dane County is requesting:

  1. Require undergraduates living in residence halls to move back home for the rest of this semester. Undergrads could return to their respective communities and quarantine there for 14 days to minimize new spread in their hometowns. The University could offer online learning for these students to participate in from their private homes. Given the nature of how Covid-19 spreads in group settings, reducing numbers in residence halls will help lower the risk of additional spread. If the UW decides against this, Parisi encourages the university to increase university staffing to support student compliance with local public health and UW directives on and off campus.
  1. Establish more on-campus quarantine facilities. As positive cases continue, sending people with COVID-19 back into group living situations off campus only perpetuates the spread of illness. UW needs to support additional quarantine centers especially for students living in off-campus housing.
  1. Triple the number of UW Madison contact tracers within the next 30 days. While Parisi says he appreciates the commitment and promise of UW Madison to support contact tracing for UW Madison students, the recent surge of positive cases already far overwhelmed capacity the UW had put in place to follow up on cases. Timely and effective contact tracing is critical for isolation. Dane County will soon have over 100 contact tracers to support what they anticipate could be a challenging fall season for COVID-19. Public Health has continued to add staff as this pandemic has evolved. It’s clear the University needs to increase its capacity to support contact tracing for students as soon as practically possible
  1. Increase testing capacity on the UW campus. For example, on Sept. 8 a quarter of AEC tests were from students – the vast majority from UW. Most reported that they couldn’t get an appointment for a test at UW because University Health Services was “booked up.” If this pattern is sustained, this equates to at least $300,000 in daily test kit costs alone. The UW needs to bolster its ability to conduct tests immediately.
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