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Virginia Athletics reports five new positive COVID-19 test results as Virginia fall sports resume this weekend

Four of the five positive cases were for student-athletes who recently returned to Grounds

<p>At this point, all 27 varsity teams are back on Grounds, bringing the total number of student-athletes in Virginia’s testing program to 768. &nbsp;</p>

At this point, all 27 varsity teams are back on Grounds, bringing the total number of student-athletes in Virginia’s testing program to 768.  

Since the last testing update Sept. 4, there have been five new positive COVID-19 tests among student-athletes, Virginia Athletics announced Friday. Four of the five new cases involved athletes who recently returned to Grounds and none have required hospitalization thus far.

This report marks the second-straight week Virginia Athletics reported five new COVID-19 cases. Including the latest results, there have been a total of 14 positive tests since student-athletes started to return to Charlottesville for practice and conditioning July 5.

Virginia Athletics added that the department has followed local health guidelines in regards to the new cases. This includes notification, self-isolation and medical evaluation for those who tested positive and self-quarantining for known close contacts. These student-athletes will not be permitted to rejoin daily practices until they have completed the mandated self-isolation period and been medically cleared to return to practice. 

At this point, all 27 varsity teams are back on Grounds — an increase of two teams since the last testing round — bringing the total number of student-athletes in Virginia’s testing program to 768. 

“Since July 5, the U.Va. athletics department has conducted a total of 2,164 tests of student-athletes,” the press release said. “The percentage of positive tests was below one percent.”

None of the athletes who tested positive were members of the football team. The Cavaliers are currently preparing for their season opener against Duke Sept. 26 after the Virginia Tech game originally scheduled for Sept. 19 was postponed early Saturday. 

“There have been no positive test results for the football program, which has tested 118 student-athletes, since the July 24 report,” the press release said. “The football program has had a total of three positive tests since student-athletes reported back for summer conditioning on July 5.”

Virginia football’s situation contrasts with that of Virginia Tech’s football program. Earlier this week, Virginia Tech Coach Justin Fuente said that he was “glad” the Hokies were not competing this weekend after the roster was impacted by contact tracing.

"I don't know if we could [play], to be honest with you,” Fuente said. “I don't know if we would have made it."

Although Virginia Tech is conducting, at minimum, weekly COVID-19 testing as required by the ACC, the Hokies have not publicly disclosed the number of student-athletes that have tested positive for COVID-19. The spread of COVID-19 among football players was a major factor in the postponement of the game and Virginia Tech is pausing all football practices for the next four days. The two schools are attempting to reschedule the game later in the season.

Although Virginia Tech is conducting, at minimum, weekly COVID-19 testing as required by the ACC, the Hokies have not publicly disclosed the number of student-athletes that have tested positive for COVID-19. 

At Friday’s Board of Visitors’ meeting, Athletics Director Carla Williams provided details about the number of Virginia student-athletes in quarantine.

“In July, we only had three student-athletes that were quarantined because of contact tracing, Williams said. “In August, we had eight, and the first nine days of September, we had 17.”

Williams also said that, among other initiatives, Virginia’s coaching staff has helped ensure student-athletes understand expectations and follow guidelines. She emphasized that the coaches — along with parents, team doctors and the University Health System — have all contributed to creating a safe environment for Virginia’s student-athletes.

“We have weekly meetings with our head coaches, and I just can't say enough about the head coaches,” Williams said. “They have been phenomenal. They have been heavily engaged in making sure that they understand the safety protocols and then conveying the importance of following those safety protocols to their student athletes.”

Virginia Athletics’ press release added that this seventh round of COVID-19 testing results would be the last report issued as Virginia’s teams begin in-season competition. The men’s soccer’s team was slated to play Friday but its exhibition against Clemson was canceled due to two Clemson players testing positive. As a result, Virginia women’s soccer will be the first team to play this fall when it hosts Virginia Tech at Klockner Stadium Saturday.

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