The University of Wisconsin marching band has cancelled rehearsals for two days after several band members tested positive for COVID-19, UW spokesperson Meredith McGlone said.

Several members of the UW–Madison marching band recently tested positive for COVID-19, and because many members live together in off-campus housing, the band’s leadership decided to suspend practices Tuesday and Wednesday.

“The band’s leadership has taken the following actions out of an abundance of caution — they have canceled rehearsal for two days, reminded students that they can get tested on campus at no charge if they are having symptoms or if they’re a close contact (such as a roommate) of someone who has tested positive,” McGlone said.

McGlone said leadership reminded students if they are experiencing COVID symptoms, they should stay home from practice as well as other in-person activities.

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UW contact tracing is currently working to identify any students who are close contacts of individuals who have tested positive, McGlone said.

The positive cases come as the Delta variant continues to ravage the state, resulting in overcrowded hospitals with little to no ICU beds available. As of Sept. 14, a total of 687,101 cases have been confirmed in Wisconsin.

McGlone said 71 out of 72 counties in Wisconsin are experiencing high transmission as the delta variant continues to spread — UW is no exception.

“Not surprisingly, campus is also seeing a rise in cases. Our testing recommendations and specific requirements for unvaccinated people aim to identify as many cases as possible, as quickly as possible to limit this spread,” she said.

The campus has a strong 91.5% vaccination rate which means most campus cases will be mild, McGlone said. Adding to Dane County’s strong vaccination rate, COVID cases have been kept lower locally than elsewhere in the state.

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The outbreak of cases in the band serves as a reminder to students at UW to continue taking precautions, such as masking indoors and staying home if sick. McGlone stressed a need to continue taking precautions — such as masking indoors and staying home if sick to limit the spread, as well as to protect more vulnerable members of the community who are unable to be vaccinated.