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Virginia Athletics reports two new cases of COVID-19 over the past week

As the University begins to loosen restrictions, cases continue to drop among students and athletes alike

<p>The men's basketball team received news of a positive test in the midst of the ACC Tournament last week and subsequently quarantined until the day before their Saturday matchup —&nbsp;a game they would lose.</p>

The men's basketball team received news of a positive test in the midst of the ACC Tournament last week and subsequently quarantined until the day before their Saturday matchup — a game they would lose.

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Following the administration of 1,454 COVID-19 tests over the past seven days to Virginia student-athletes and staff, the University reports just two positive results. This week’s positivity percentage of 0.14 brings the total rate since student-athletes returned to Grounds on July 5 to 0.7 percent.

Positive test results are “reported to the Blue Ridge Health District [formerly known as the Thomas Jefferson Health District] of the Virginia Department of Health,” the press release said. 

The recipients of the positive results were “notified according to local health guidelines as a means to trace contacts. Those individuals will self-isolate for at least 10 days, or until symptoms are resolving plus 24-hours fever free — whichever is longer — and be medically evaluated before they will be cleared to resume daily sports participation.” 

Known contacts of the individuals who tested positive will be required to self-quarantine and will be released from isolation “after day 10 without testing, or after day seven with a negative diagnostic or rapid test performed on or after the fifth day following exposure.”

Virginia athletics follows the ACC protocol, meaning “high risk” sports — including field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and wrestling — are tested three times per week. “Low risk” sports such as track and field, golf and tennis receive testing just once per week.

After a harrowing experience to safely get the team to Indianapolis and compete in the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, Virginia’s men’s basketball team exited the March Madness bubble after spending hardly 24 hours there due to an upset loss against Ohio. The Cavaliers received news of a positive test in the midst of the ACC Tournament last week and subsequently quarantined until the day before their Saturday matchup. 

“It was a windy road,” Coach Tony Bennett said of the circumstances leading up to the tournament. “Unique.”

Other universities faced their own troubles as the tournament got underway as well. VCU forfeited their spot in the Round of 64 as their game against Oregon was declared a “no-contest.” There were reportedly multiple positives throughout the Rams program. 

"With potential risks to all involved in the game, we could not guarantee or be comfortable that five or more players would be available without risk,'' NCAA spokesperson David Worlock wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

As both tournaments kicked off over the weekend, there is significant controversy about the inferior treatment that the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament participants receive. Not only has the NCAA been scorned for its lesser weight room provisions and apparel given to the female athletes compared to what the males receive, but its COVID-19 testing methods for women are also somewhat less reliable. The men’s tournament employs the use of PCR testing while the women are provided antigen testing. The antigen tests have reportedly yielded a few false positives that have been confirmed through the use of a follow-up PCR test. The NCAA maintains that PCR and antigen testing are “equally effective models for basketball championships.”

Cases within the University community continue to remain relatively dormant, so much so that Dean of Students Allen Groves announced Tuesday that the outdoor gathering limit for students was being increased from 10 people to 25. The indoor maximum remains six people, however. This news comes as there are currently 38 active cases throughout the University community. Quarantine housing for contact traced students is one percent full, while isolation housing for students who have contracted the virus is also operating at one percent capacity. These numbers as well as daily updates can be found on the University COVID-19 tracker, which is updated Monday through Friday by 4 p.m.

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