Illinois athletics releases COVID-19 summer testing results

Illinois+football+helmets+line+up+at+the+end+zone+at+Memorial+Stadium+during+football+spring+training+on+April+13%2C+2019.+

Mark Capapas

Illinois football helmets line up at the end zone at Memorial Stadium during football spring training on April 13, 2019.

By Claire O'Brien, Staff Writer

Illinois athletics released COVID-19 testing results for the summer Monday through a press release. Illinois was one of the last schools in the Big Ten to do so.

The school announced there were 23 confirmed COVID-19 cases amongst student-athletes throughout the summer, and football accounted for over 75% of them. Twelve of those cases were when the teams returned to campus, and the rest happened “through interaction between roommates or through community spread.”

Athletes have been returning to Champaign-Urbana in waves, and the release said 164 student-athletes were on campus Thursday, and the athletes were predominantly members of the football, volleyball, soccer and men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Out of the 23 cases, three are still active and 20 have recovered. Four were “remotely symptomatic,” and there were zero hospitalizations.

The University administered 1,200 tests to student-athletes, and the positivity rate was 1.9%. It also administered 420 COVID-19 tests to athletics staff, and two of those tests came back positive. Illinois’ COVID-19 Region 6, where Champaign County is located, had a positivity rate of 3.2% as of Wednesday.

The University did not think the spread of COVID-19 came through sports, but both basketball and football are among sports that facilitate a rapid spread of the coronavirus.

“There is no evidence that any of the positive transmissions came through athletic activities or by the use of campus athletics facilities,” the email said. “The DIA and its sports medicine staff have followed strict protocols and testing procedures developed in consultation with campus and community partners, including the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, UI McKinley Health Center, Carle Health System and the University’s SHIELD group.”

The Daily Illini also filed a FOIA request for the data, and will update this story as needed.

@obrien_clairee

[email protected]