ANN ARBOR, Mich — Athletics at the University of Michigan (U-M) will be suspended for two weeks following positive cases of the new, highly-contagious COVID-19 variant. The suspension immediately pauses all athletic activities, including games and team and individual training sessions.
On Saturday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 was identified in specimens from two adult women associated with U-M. Previously, the university had three identified cases of the variant.
According to the university, several of the involved individuals are linked to the athletic department.
"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," said Warde Manuel, the Donald R. Shepherd director of athletics.
The variant spreads more easily between people, but the MDHHS says there is no indication that it affects the clinical outcomes or disease severity compared to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which has been circulating across the country and the world for months.
Due to the contagiousness of B.1.1.7, team members – including student-athletes, coaches and team staff – must immediately isolate and quarantine until Feb. 7.
At this time, it is unknown how the pause will impact scheduled games beyond that point.
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