Michigan shuts down entire athletic department over new COVID strain
The entire Michigan Wolverines athletic department has been shut down for two weeks over a COVID-19 outbreak among student-athletes.
On Friday, Michigan’s athletic department reported 22 positive COVID-19 cases among student-athletes. The Michigan Daily, which is the school’s student newspaper, says the tests include five confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant.
The Michigan state health department ordered the shutdown due to the spread of the new strain, which is considered more contagious.
“Canceling competitions is never something we want to do, but with so many unknowns about this variant of COVID-19, we must do everything we can to minimize the spread among student-athletes, coaches, staff, and to the student-athletes at other schools,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said in the release.
The shutdown means “all in-person training sessions, practices and games are postponed and student-athletes, coaches and staff members must immediately isolate/quarantine until further notice,” according to MLive.com.
The Michigan Daily says the new strain was introduced on campus by a student-athlete travelling from the United Kingdom at the beginning of the semester.
This is significant news for the Michigan men’s basketball team, which is 11-1 and ranked No. 7 in the country this season. Their next four games have been postponed.