With COVID-19 variant positives, MI pauses athletics

COVID-19 Outbreak

January 23rd 2021 at 10:19 PM

State Department of Health confirmed Saturday that the variant was present in MI and the University of MI, noting that the variant "spreads more easily between people". Brief, public exposures are not normally a COVID-19 exposure concern but the B117 variant is more easily transmitted and could lead to more cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Michigan's men's basketball team leads the Big Ten and had four games scheduled in the next two weeks, including a big rivalry game against Michigan State on February 6.

The more contagious variant was first discovered in Britain.

On Friday, Michigan's athletic department reported 22 positive tests for COVID-19 last week, a significant jump from the week prior.

Following positive tests for a new coronavirus strain within MI athletics, the state department of health and human services has closed all facilities and paused all University of MI teams and activities for up to 14 days, according to a release from the school.

"The new variant is present in Michigan and we are at risk of seeing more spread of Covid-19", Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Resources, says in a weekend statement. That means that U of M will have no athletic activities, including practice, for at least 14 days. All teams and all staff were immediately required to cancel competition and training, and isolate for up to 14 days, through February 7.

"The new variant is present in MI and we are at risk of seeing more spread of COVID-19".

The first MI case of the coronavirus mutation, known as B.1.1.7., was detected on Saturday in a Washtenaw County woman who had recently traveled to the U.K. On Thursday, officials announced that the mutation had been detected in two additional women who were in close contact with the first. First detected from Kent in England from samples taken in September, it has hurried across Europe, spreading more widely than health officials would have anticipated from the original coronavirus given restrictions the United Kingdom and other countries have implemented. But with some campuses once again populated with students, there are fears that it will become increasingly hard to isolate athletes from COVID-19 as the playoffs approach.