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Penn State Athletics Pauses Some Team Activities Following 48 Positive COVID-19 Tests

on September 09, 2020 4:20 PM

Following 48 positive COVID-19 tests among student-athletes between Aug. 31-Sept. 4, Penn State Athletics has paused team activities for several programs and initiated standard isolation and precautionary quarantine 

The department, which administered 920 COVID-19 tests over that same period of time, did not disclose which teams had been placed under quarantine but did state that it did not believe the transmission of COVID-19 occurred during team activities.

"Contact tracing is being performed and there is no evidence to suggest COVID-19 was transmitted during practice or training activities," a department press release reads.

The student-athlete cases have already been included in Penn State's overall COVID-19 dashboard, according to the release. The dashboard was updated on Tuesday and showed a total of 379 new cases among University Park students between Aug. 28 and Sept. 6. Another 460 test results were still pending at the time of the update

Wednesday's release was by far the largest single week of positive test results within the athletic department and also the largest testing total over a week's span as reported by Penn State. Previously Penn State Athletics had reported just 11 positive cases over an extended period of testing this summer. Athletes in high contact sports are required to be tested twice a week according to Big Ten protocols. As of last week's update the department had gathered the results of roughly 1,200 COVID-19 tests among student-athletes since their phased return to campus.

According to the department, a 5.0 percent positivity rate for Penn State Athletics was the trigger for suspended activities.

"The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and the broader community are of the utmost importance," a statement reads. "Therefore, as part of the protocols established in the return to campus plan by the Penn State Athletics medical staff and in consultation with University, local and national officials and guidelines, individuals with a positive test have been assigned to isolation for 14 days and will be retested at that point. In addition to isolation, contact tracing procedures have been implemented, which includes quarantine and testing for those individuals who might have been determined to be close contacts of positive individuals, even if asymptomatic."

The news largely falls in line with an ongoing trend of positive cases in Centre County, which reported 184 new cases on Wednesday, a single-day record since the onset of the pandemic and a reflection of the spike in cases reported by the university a day earlier. Among Wednesday's new cases 180 in the University Park and State College zip code.

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