Seven Gophers athletes have tested positive for COVID-19

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The Gophers athletic department announced Tuesday night that seven student-athletes from multiple sports have tested positive for COVID-19, putting Minnesota in line with the testing numbers recently reported by other Big Ten schools.

With Gophers student-athletes returning to their facilities for voluntary workouts this month, the department administered 170 tests, per a release. Most of the football team is back on campus, anticipating beginning official activities July 13. Men’s basketball, women’s basketball, soccer and volleyball are also all in various states of their return.

Around the conference, Nebraska has tested about 250 student-athletes and found eight positive. Iowa has administered 408 tests with 17 positive results. Maryland reported no positive tests after testing 105 student-athletes. Five Michigan State student-athletes have tested positive.

Some programs, such as Houston, Kansas State and Arizona, halted their voluntary workouts and campus returns because of either a surge in positive tests or increased cases in their states.

Clemson has the most positive tests in college athletics, from 37 football players and 43 total student-athletes after 290 tests. Twenty-five of those athletes have since recovered. Texas Tech has determined 23 positive results from 197 tests within its football program, with 21 of those affected now recovered and none hospitalized.

The Gophers plan to release testing updates at the end of every month, a department spokesman confirmed, though they do not plan to break those numbers down by sport because of privacy concerns. Some schools, including Ohio State and Georgia, have declined to share the results of their testing.

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The Gophers’ release did not state if any student-athletes had tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, though the athletics department did previously announce it would also administer those tests.

In addition to testing, student-athletes also completed a symptom and exposure questionnaire upon their return to campus.

Those cleared for workouts after two negative tests undergo daily screening measures, such as temperature and symptom checks, and are asked to use good hygiene, sanitation and social-distancing. The athletic department limits two-way movement in its facilities and encourages wearing face masks as well.

Those who tested positive “entered into protocol and are asked to self-isolate,” the Gophers’ release stated.

“During this time, they will have access to all necessary resources and food and will be in daily communication with members of Minnesota’s athletic medicine staff,” the release read. “Student-athletes will undergo additional testing and screening before they may physically participate in team activities.

“A team physician must also clear the student-athlete before they are permitted to return to athletic activity.”

The department also plans to conduct contact-tracing on those who have tested positive and will ask anyone potentially exposed to self-quarantine in order to prevent more spread of the virus.

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