Houston is suspending on-campus workouts for its athletes after six tested positive for the coronavirus.
The school announced the suspension Friday afternoon as coronavirus cases are spiking rapidly in the city of Houston. The University of Houston said the six players were symptomatic and, per the Houston Chronicle, the school was only testing players who were displaying coronavirus symptoms when they arrived back at campus.
Houston says it is adapting its protocols to include repetitive COVID-19 testing as a component of any resumption of workouts on campus. Previously the school was only testing athletes that showed symptoms, according to sources.— Joseph Duarte (@Joseph_Duarte) June 12, 2020
Just this morning, I spoke with two medical experts that said Houston's decision not to test athletes upon arrival was "risky."— Joseph Duarte (@Joseph_Duarte) June 12, 2020
Houston said it was “adapting” its testing procedures.
“The impacted students have been placed in isolation and contact tracing procedures have been initiated following protocol,” the school’s statement said. ”As was contemplated prior to the return of student-athletes on June 1, UH Athletics is adapting its protocols to include repetitive COVID-19 testing as a component of any resumption of workouts on campus.”
Houston’s football and basketball players were allowed to return to campus for voluntary workouts on June 1. Players in other sports were set to arrive on campus in a “phased” approach.
Houston’s pause is the first for a major athletic department as schools have brought players back to campus. It may not be the last. Cases are rising in various states across the country.
Texas coronavirus spike
Houston has become a coronavirus hotspot as Texas has seen a spike in coronavirus cases. There were more than 1,900 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the state on Thursday, and there have been more than 80,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus statewide since the pandemic began.
More than 20,000 of those cases have been in Houston, as the numbers of people hospitalized for the coronavirus in the Houston area are as high as it’s ever been. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Thursday that the area could be on the “precipice of disaster” if cases continue to rise in the area.
The Houston health director said that the average age of coronavirus patients in the city was trending younger, and that the spread was attributable to relaxed social distancing rules across the state as Texas officials have pushed to get daily life back to normal.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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