Arizona suspends sports following COVID-19 spike; ASU says ‘no’ to releasing

The Pac-12 postponed all sport competitions until 2021 this past August.

By Jeffrey Horst | Cronkite News

On the heels of Arizona reporting at least 13 positive COVID-19 cases among its sports teams, Arizona State said it has no plans to release athlete-specific data.

Seven Pac-12 schools share athlete results. Another, Colorado, has released limited findings, while UCLA numbers have been reported by L.A. County’s public health department. Only ASU, Utah and Oregon have kept athlete numbers private.

Jerry Gonzalez, an ASU spokesperson, said the data the school is currently posting on its COVID-19 Management Framework page is the only data they will release. According to the page, there are 983 total positive cases among the student body and employees as of Wednesday.

Arizona suspended all athletic activity until next Tuesday and women’s soccer activities for the next two weeks due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, according to a release issued by the athletic department Thursday.

Daily COVID-19 testing could help Pac-12 return to play earlier than expected

The department’s COVID-19 screening confirmed 13 positive tests, including six inconclusive positives, the release said. Seven of the potential 19 positive tests came from the women’s soccer team.

Nine of the positives were spread over eight separate teams, and three of the potential positives were staff members on the medical services team, according to the release.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are going to suspend all activities until we can effectively determine whether there is further spread of the virus,” Dr. Stephen Paul, director of medical services for UArizona Athletics, said in the release. “The safety of our students and student-athletes is the first priority of the University of Arizona.”

The school reported 83 new positive cases among its student body and employees Friday, according to its COVID-19 testing dashboard.

Arizona athletics did not respond to calls or emails from Cronkite News Friday.

Recent testing of University of Arizona athletes revealed at least 13 have tested positive, prompting the school to suspend sports until Tuesday.
/Photo by Dmytro Smolyenko/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Transparency of COVID-19 information has become vital to informing the public during the pandemic. That includes the sports world. Positive case numbers educate the public of the range of sports teams’ susceptibility to COVID-19 and spreading it.

Arizona’s athletics department suspended athletic activities to conduct contact tracing and additional testing if needed.

The Pac-12 postponed all sport competitions until 2021 this past August. The conference announced a new partnership Thursday with Quidel Corporation that will provide athletes with up to daily testing, clearing a major hurdle to safely returning to sports, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 728 new positive cases Friday in the state.

Amiliano Fragoso contributed to this report.

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