Update on WKU Athletics’ COVID-19 Testing Protocol
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - With a large volume of sport programs returning this month, WKU Athletics in conjunction with its medical partners opted to perform COVID-19 antibody testing on returning student-athletes, coaches, and staff last week.
Of the 293 antibody tests performed – which included 183 student-athletes and 110 staff – six returned positive, including four student-athletes and two staff members. Each of those individuals with a positive antibody test result then received a follow-up PCR swab test. One of those two staff members’ PCR tests returned active asymptomatic positive this week. WKU Athletics is following the lead and guidance of the local health department in regard to isolation, quarantine, contact tracing, and eventual return to physical activity and sport for positive cases.
The antibody test was administered to identify those individuals who have potentially come in contact with the virus and therefore may be at risk for cardiopulmonary side effects. Those who test positive will receive further cardiopulmonary testing and clearance by a specialist before being cleared for physical activity and sport. WKU Athletics and its medical partners consulted with several infectious disease specialists and medical staff at other institutions both in the state and nationally before finalizing this change in protocol.
All student-athletes, and staff in direct contact with student-athletes, making their first arrival to campus between July 4 and the beginning of the fall semester will undergo this protocol. The WKU Athletics portion of the Big Red Restart Plan will be updated to reflect this change as it is a living document, and testing protocols will remain fluid as more information becomes available.
Consistent with the process outlined in our Restart Plan, WKU Athletics will also continue to perform an acute COVID-19 test on any individual who shows or reports symptoms, as well as any individual who specifically requests an acute test. All PCR tests performed by WKU Athletics on individuals who had returned to campus and reported/showed symptoms or requested a test over the last two months have returned negative.
With acknowledgment from the university and the athletic department that returning requires us to learn to live beside this virus, our plan since its inception has included a protocol for the thorough care and support of any student-athlete or staff member who required testing or who had a positive test, as well as diligent contact tracing and quarantine contingencies to mitigate the risk to others. That’s in addition to ongoing daily education, temperature screenings, mask requirements, social distancing, and proper hygiene. The well-being of our student-athletes and staff has been and always will be our chief concern.
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