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Virginia Athletics reports eight positive COVID-19 test results over the past week

The University’s athletic department sees a slight increase in cases as the spring season progresses

<p>As Virginia football resumes spring practices, the team is remaining vigilant in its efforts to reduce the risk of COVID-19.&nbsp;</p>

As Virginia football resumes spring practices, the team is remaining vigilant in its efforts to reduce the risk of COVID-19. 

After the administration of 1,018 COVID-19 tests to University student-athletes and athletic staff between March 29 and April 4, eight yielded a positive result. The athletic department’s weekly positivity rate slightly increased to 0.8 percent, contributing to the overall positivity rate since testing began in July of 0.7 percent. While still relatively low, this week marks a moderate uptick in cases for Virginia Athletics, doubling its four total cases over the previous two weeks.

The positive test results “were reported to the Blue Ridge Health District (formerly known as the Thomas Jefferson Health District),” the press release stated. These individuals are to “self-isolate for at least 10 days, or until symptoms are resolving plus 24-hours fever free,” whichever is the longer of the two. After isolating, individuals will be medically evaluated before the return to daily sport participation.

Close contacts of those who tested positive will also be required to quarantine. If they remain asymptomatic, the individual can “end quarantine 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.”

The University adheres to the ACC COVID-19 testing protocol, which requires “high risk” sports — including field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and wrestling — to be tested three times per week. Alternatively, “low risk” sports — track and field, golf and tennis — are tested once per week. 

While Virginia handles a slight increase in cases, COVID-19 continues to impact the NCAA as a whole. A fan attending the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament passed away this weekend due to complications from the virus. The Marion County Health Department is currently investigating the situation and potential exposures. 

With Virginia’s football program firing on all cylinders with their spring practices, Coach Bronco Mendenhall spoke about the importance of remaining vigilant against the virus while resuming practice activity. He said he views himself as a bit of a “gatekeeper,” forcing his players to adhere to protocols. 

“They’re so anxious to be back together and they’re so anxious for normal,” Mendenhall said. “It’s just this magnetic thing, for lack of a better word, that’s just sucking them back together.”

Regardless of their excitement, Mendenhall knows that safety must remain a priority while overseeing practice, and he has to lead by example.

“Structure has to drive behavior,” he said last Monday.

There are currently 69 active COVID-19 cases in the University community — 61 of which are students. Quarantine rooms for individuals that have been exposed to someone that tested positive for COVID-19 are at two percent capacity, while isolation rooms for individuals that test positive for COVID-19 are at one percent capacity. This information is displayed in the University’s COVID-19 tracker which is updated Monday through Friday by 4 p.m.