COVID-19 outbreak growing within off-campus UW Greek Community

The Greek community at the University of Washington is experiencing another COVID-19 outbreak.

As of Saturday afternoon, a university spokesperson said 144 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed among 11 fraternities and sororities.

“I’m not really that nervous because this has happened before here and it stayed pretty contained,” said student Julian Churchill. “UW’s I think one of the best about containing areas that have had outbreaks.”

Active containment is underway with surge testing available on campus just a short walk away from “Greek Row,” which is north of the UW Campus.

Students testing positive are being told to isolate at their current residence.

Individuals displaying symptoms, or those who live with people testing positive or shared close contact with a positive case are also being told to isolate.

Students said they, the Greek community and others host large gatherings off-campus.

“I’m not surprised, unfortunately. The houses close by to us, they were hosting parties. There was a house that was having a party at 10 a.m. God knows why you would do that,” said student Bryce.

A university spokesperson said beyond the “congregant living situation,” it would be speculation.

In a statement, the university wrote: "The student-run Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association, and the UW’s Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life, are coordinating with UW Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) and local public health officials to ensure Greek residents and others who frequent the houses are engaged in active containment of the outbreak.

“We are at a higher learning institution so we should know better, but at the same time look out for each other,” said Bryce.

The outbreak over the summer lasted about a month and infected more than 150 individuals in the Greek Community off-campus.

There are fewer than 2-thousand students living in 42 fraternity and sorority houses off-campus, according to UW.

Check back on Q13FOX for updates on this outbreak.