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Penn State halts activities for several teams after COVID rise; football workouts continue

JOE JULIANO
The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)
Penn State

Penn State’s athletic department said Wednesday it has suspended team activities for several programs after it reported 48 positive results out of 920 COVID-19 tests performed on athletes between Aug. 31 and Sept. 4.

A department spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday night that the Nittany Lions' football program will continue its activities as scheduled, with lifting and practice Thursday and Friday.

The 5.2% positivity rate from the recent tests prompted the activation of established protocols, according to a department statement.

“Based on these results and an abundance of caution, Penn State Athletics has paused team activities for several programs and initiated standard isolation and precautionary quarantine,” the statement said. “Contact tracing is being performed and there is no evidence to suggest COVID-19 was transmitted during practice or training activities.”

The statement did not say when team activities could be resumed.

The positivity rate was up sharply from the previous week’s report, which showed one positive test out of 222 athletes tested during the period from Aug. 24-28, plus 46 tests carried over from the previous week that were all negative.

As part of departmental protocols, individuals with a positive test for the coronavirus must quarantine for 14 days and will be retested at that time. Contact tracing procedures also are implemented.

“We expect our student-athletes and staff to follow university requirements and guidelines for limiting the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks, practicing social distancing, washing their hands regularly, and not gathering in large groups,” the athletic department statement said.

The university reported Tuesday that the number of cases had doubled on its campuses since last Friday, to 433.