Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press
Published 2:15 p.m. ET June 18, 2020 | Updated 2:51 p.m. ET June 18, 2020
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Detroit Free Press
Two University of Michigan student-athletes tested positive for the novel coronavirus since returning to campus Monday for voluntary workouts.
The athletic department has performed 221 COVID-19 tests, finding two positive cases, head physician Dr. Sami Rifat said Thursday. Both were asymptomatic.
“We’ve performed 221 tests, and we’ve had two positive results on student-athletes,” Rifat said. “Both of those individuals were completely asymptomatic at the time of the testing. None of our staff has tested positive to date.”
Athletes with positive tests were not identified, and it’s not clear which sports they play. To this point, all staff members have tested negative.
On Monday, U-M began allowing football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball players to return to campus with protocols.
In order to return to workouts, players need to clear a COVID-19 test and complete a six-day “resocialization” period. Once they’re able to continue strength and conditioning programs, they will completely daily risk assessments as well as temperature checks.
Rifat said the athletic department will complete weekly “batch testing” of players throughout the season, or as long as it’s necessary.
“The essence of the testing is really two parts,” Rifat said. “One is for random sampling of the student-athlete population to see what the prevalence of COVID is among asymptomatic individuals within our community.
“The other is more of a targeted approach, where we’d identify sports that operate in closer proximity to one another as a higher-risk sport and target those individuals throughout the year to monitor and see if there are any spikes.”
Two weeks ago, Michigan State athletic reported one player who tested positive for the coronavirus in a three-month span. Many schools have reported positive COVID-19 tests since bringing players back to campus.
On Thursday, the Texas athletic department announced 13 new football players tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to 15 diagnosed.
When a Michigan player tests positive, U-M chief health and welfare officer Darryl Conway said the athletic department has set guidelines to complete contact tracing while the athlete is immediately isolated.
The team’s athletic trainer will notify the student-athlete and the coach. Once Conway hears of the positive test, he’ll reach out to athletic director Warde Manuel, campus officials and U-M’s environment, health and safety department, which works in partnership with the Washtenaw County Health Department.
Close friends of the infected player will be quarantined until further notice from the health department.
“We’ll collaborate with student life for isolation housing on campus for the person who is infected,” Conway said, “and we’ll work with both students –– the infected person and quarantined person or persons –– with regards to the parameters around their isolation or quarantine and helping them out to make sure they have the necessary things to go through that quarantine.
“We will monitor their symptoms twice a day.”