UPDATE: 5 active COVID-19 cases among individuals involved with App State football

11+people+involved+with+App+State+football+have+active+COVID-19+cases%2C+the+university+and+AppHealthCare+announced+Tuesday+night.

Courtesy App State Athletics/Tim Cowie

11 people involved with App State football have active COVID-19 cases, the university and AppHealthCare announced Tuesday night.

Silas Albright, Sports Editor

On Tuesday, App State and AppHealthCare announced that there were 11 active COVID-19 cases associated with the football team. AppHealthCare confirmed that seven were athletes and four were staff members. 

Six of the original 11 confirmed cases had cleared isolation by Friday, according to AppHealthCare Director of Communications Melissa Bracey. The Winston-Salem Journal reported that the six players had cleared isolation by Thursday. 

On Tuesday, after consultation with AppHealthCare and Chancellor Sheri Everts, Director of Athletics Doug Gillin suspended practice until “further consultation warrants a change in status.”

On Friday, the football team resumed practice in small groups, based on the results of testing administered Wednesday. 

“We can confirm there are 34 individuals, consisting of 30 athletes and 4 staff, associated with App State’s football team who have tested positive since June,” Bracey wrote in an email Wednesday morning.

There are 109 players currently listed on App State’s roster, so according to AppHealthCare, 27.5% of the roster has tested positive for the virus since June. 

“It is of the utmost importance to protect the health of our student-athletes, staff, faculty and the greater community,” Gillin wrote in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, we temporarily suspended football practice on Tuesday. We continue to closely collaborate with local public health and the university’s medical team to develop and implement a plan for the football team to return to practice.”

AppHealthCare is “not aware of any individuals associated with the football cluster who have been hospitalized,” Bracey wrote in her Friday email.

AppHealthCare has instructed the individuals to recover in isolation and public health staff have identified close contacts. Close contacts are defined as people who have been within six feet of an infected person for longer than 15 minutes. Close contacts have been instructed to quarantine and are being provided access to testing. 

Fall training camp started Aug. 7 for the Mountaineers, so by definition, most members of the football team and staff would be classified as close contacts.

Four-year starting center Noah Hannon said in a tweet that head coach Shawn Clark and head athletic trainer Zach Parker “have done a great job providing a safe environment for us to be successful and healthy.” He also told fans not to believe everything they are reading. 


Starting quarterback Zac Thomas also weighed in, tweeting “As a team we are safer in our facilities than any other student on campus. Let us play.” 

 

At the time of publication on Friday, the university currently had 60 total active cases, including 55 students and five employees, according to the App State COVID-19 dashboard.

With Tuesday’s announcement of the cluster, the amount of confirmed active cases dropped by seven. 

This is a developing story.