Marshall University: Two student-athletes, one employee test positive for COVID-19

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Two football players and one employee at Marshall University have tested positive for COVID-19.

The university announced on Monday that testing came as part of the university’s established COVID-19 testing protocols for student-athletes returning to campus for voluntary workouts.

According to Marshall, all three are asymptomatic, and the cases are not believed to be related. University and public health officials do not believe any of the three contracted the virus on campus.

“On Friday night I got the results back and two football players tested positive. They were asymptomatic, they had no idea they were positive. They were totally surprised,” Marshall Athletics Director Mike Hamrick said on Monday’s MetroNews ‘Sportsline.’

Hamrick said 112 tests were done between student-athletes and staff, including himself. He said there are policies, procedures, screenings, and even daily questionnaires for teams to fill out.

Before beginning workouts on Monday, Hamrick said the student-athletes came to campus on May 20 and quarantined until testing. He added that more players are in self-quarantine along with the two that tested positive based on who the players were around and close contacts.

“They were very honest with us, about eight or nine players were around them,” Hamrick said.

“We have those players in quarantine also. However, they tested negative which was good but we still felt we had to quarantine them for a period of time to be able to get them back around the rest of our student-athletes.”

Tracy Smith, the director of the university’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety, said his office is working with Marshall Health physicians Dr. Larry Dial and Dr. John Jasko, and Athletics Department staff to make sure all protocols are being followed.

These measures include:

  • All student-athletes arriving on campus are in mandatory self-isolation for one week;
  • Following the completion of the self-isolation period, all student-athletes are tested for COVID-19 and must return a confirmed negative result before being allowed out of self-isolation;
  • All Athletics Department employees who come in close contact with student-athletes are being tested; and
  • Any student-athlete returning a positive test is required to quarantine and follow positive test guidelines. A student-athlete who tests positive will be required to secure a negative test before completing the quarantine period.

“It really isn’t surprising that we’ve had these positive test results, given the prevalence of the virus across the country,” said Smith in a released statement. “The processes we put in place ahead of time are working well and we will keep working our plan, with the safety of our campus community as our top priority.”

Due to privacy regulations, the affected student-athletes’ and employee’s names and other identifying information will not be released.

Hamrick said the university believes what they have in place with testing is working.

“We took out infected individuals from the rest of the group and isolated them and have the rest of the group isolated. I think we made our football team and student-athletes much safer by what we did,” he said.

The university has had no other confirmed cases of COVID-19 among employees, students in the residence halls of student-athletes other than these three cases and the two employees reported in April.

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