University of Michigan Athletics On Hold

Tanya Simon
January 26, 2021

At least five cases now are tied to several U-M sports teams.

U-M Athletics South Complex opened in 2017 as a training gym for student teams. All 5 are in isolation and are experiencing no symptoms or mild symptoms. At approximately 8:30 p.m., University of MI head coaches were called for a meeting. This was possibly the last dual meet between Michigan and Michigan State after MSU announced its decision to cut the swimming and diving program in October.

Warde Manuel, athletic director: "we must do everything we can to minimize the spread".

Also on Saturday, the University of MI announced that five people associated with the Ann Arbor campus, located in Washentaw County, had tested positive for the variant. Among them was the first of two meetings with in-state rival Michigan State, set for February 6 in Ann Arbor.

Everyone within MI athletics is impacted. It's also believed that the existing COVID-19 vaccines still work against it. MacNeil received some reprieve when this week she was nominated as one of 6 pre-selected athletes for Canada's Tokyo2020 Olympic Team. MI basketball was scheduled to play a rescheduled game with Penn State on Jan 27. The men are ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press poll after opening 13-1, including lopsided wins over three ranked Big Ten teams since New Year's Day.

The 11th-ranked women's basketball team was supposed to play at home against Purdue on Sunday. Brief, public exposures are not normally a COVID-19 exposure concern but the B117 variant is more easily transmitted and could lead to more cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

The variant had reached at least 24 states in the United States as of Monday night, per the CDC, and there are now 13 new cases in Washtenaw County, according to the Detroit Free Press. 2,523 new cases were reported on January 22nd in relation to the average of cases reported daily in the past week (2,205).

The Michigan athletics department's most recent COVID testing update, through January 22 (Friday), saw 22 new positive tests among student-athletes, and none among staff, in a week where they conducted 2,240 tests.

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No coaches or staff tested positive, according to student sportswriter Ethan Sears. Those numbers are from around 1000 total student-athletes for the Wolverines, though it's unclear how many of those are now on campus.

All University of MI athletics will be paused for two weeks starting Sunday, in accordance with an order from the state health department.

The university is working closely with state and local public health officials to carefully consider proactive and additional mitigation measures to address the emergence of this more contagious B.1.1.7 strain here on campus as we continue to learn more about this version of the virus.

According to the university, the mandate comes following several positive tests for COVID-19's B.1.1.7 variant within the Athletic Department. That means that U of M will have no athletic activities, including practice, for at least 14 days. Team members (student-athletes, coaches, and team staff) must immediately isolate/quarantine effective January 23 until further notice and up to 14 days (Feb. 7).

University of MI athletic facilities will be closed as well.

The first MI case of the coronavirus mutation, known as B.1.1.7., was detected on Saturday in a Washtenaw County woman who had recently traveled to the U.K. On Thursday, officials announced that the mutation had been detected in two additional women who were in close contact with the first.

While the variant is believed to be more contagious, state health officials have said there is no indication that it "affects the clinical outcomes or disease severity" compared to the SARS-CoV-2 virus which has been around for nearly a year.

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