Michigan’s sports department is shutting down for two weeks due to confirmed cases of variant B.1.1.7 COVID-19, a department spokesperson confirmed to the Free Press on Saturday evening.
The closure will affect all sports, including sports that are currently in season such as men’s and women’s basketball and ice hockey. The break will begin immediately.
Michigan Daily student reporters were the first to report.
There are now five confirmed cases with B.1.1.7, the highly contagious variant of COVID-19, in Washtenaw County. The outbreak dates back to a female student athlete, sources say.
“Canceling competitions is never something we want to do, but with so many unknowns about this variant of COVID-19, we need to do all we can to minimize the spread among student-athletes, coaches, staff and student-athletes from other schools, ”said Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel.
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The university’s public health officials are working closely with the Washtenaw County Department of Health and Michigan Department of Human Health Services on additional mitigation strategies, the sports department said in a report. Press release.
“The university will carefully consider additional mitigation measures. Many unknowns remain under investigation by UM, local officials and state public health,” the school statement said. “No decision has been made on the impact of the break on games scheduled beyond February 7.
The new variant of the coronavirus is spread more easily and may lead to more positive cases, the health ministry said.
“We are monitoring this situation as closely as possible,” said Dr Juan Luis Marquez, medical director of the Washtenaw County Department of Health. “And we ask everyone to continue doing everything possible to prevent transmission – mask, distance, avoid crowds or gatherings, wash your hands frequently, and carefully follow isolation or quarantine advice.”
The county is urging people who visited Meijer from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and Briarwood Shopping Center from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. last Sunday to get tested for the virus immediately.
State Patient Zero tested negative for the coronavirus two days before traveling Jan.3 from the UK to the United States, said Susan Ringler Cerniglia, spokesperson for the Washtenaw County Department of Health.
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The woman also tested negative for the virus on January 4 and January 6. She tested positive for the coronavirus on January 8 and began isolation on that date.
Most of the other seven people who have contracted the virus since their close contact with the woman live in connected households, Ringler Cerniglia said, and are also in quarantine.
The B.1.1.7 variant is not deadlier or likely to make people more seriously ill than other variants of the coronavirus. But it’s 1.5 times more transmissible, which means it spreads about 50% faster than other strains of the virus circulating in Michigan.
As of Friday evening, the sports department reported having 22 positive COVID-19 cases during the week of January 16 to January 22.
This isn’t the first time UM has had issues with COVID-19. The football team ended its season early after a COVID-19 outbreak. The shutdown included the cancellation of the Ohio state rivalry game.
The winter term for students began Monday, but most students are not on campus. The university announced in November that it would cancel all housing contracts for the winter semester and only allow certain students on campus.
Those returning to campus will face a university crackdown on public health-related behavior, the school said at the time.
“Students returning to campus in the winter will be faced with a strict, no-tolerance approach to enforcing COVID-19 policies,” the university said in its announcement. “Depending on the violation, penalties will include automatic probation, termination of the university housing contract, and removal of university recognition from student organizations hosting or participating in social gatherings.”
In-person classes will be limited to those most effectively taught in person or required for licensing, the university said.
Free COVID-19 testing will be available from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Pioneer High School, 601 W. Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor. Pre-registration is available but not required. Details: https://www.washtenaw.org/3158/Testing.
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