Updated: USC Water Polo Paused Until Sept. 8 after Positive COVID-19 Tests

Photo Courtesy: Twitter @USCWaterPolo

USC has paused workouts for men’s water polo and football until at least Sept. 8 after a spate of athletes in those sports tested positive for COVID-19.

Eight positive tests were reported Aug. 26 when the sports were originally paused. An additional positive test was found on Aug. 28. Rounds of testing are scheduled for Aug. 31 and Sept. 4 before the sports can be cleared to return.

The university did not specify how many positives occurred from each team. All eight student-athletes have been isolated and undergone contract tracing. From that latter process, the school determined that, “the virus was contracted off campus as a result of increased community spread and not via any on-campus or training activities.”

The athletes will undergo another round of testing this week. The school deemed, “the risk of exposure by any coaches, staff, and other student-athletes” as “very low.”

“We have effective mitigation strategies in place,” USC athletic director Mike Bohn said in an Aug. 26 university statement, “but out of an abundance of caution we are pausing athletics activities in football and men’s water polo while we await additional test results and USC completes the contact tracing process.”

USC on Aug. 24 issued a community health advisory warning of “an alarming increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in students in the University Park Campus community” since the fall semester began. More than 100 students, as of Monday, were in 14-day self-isolation due to exposure. All of the cases were related to students living off campus.

The positive tests are in stark contrast to USC’s previous testing record, which since July 18 had revealed one positive for a student-athlete among 654 tests, including none in August. As of Aug. 28, the quantity of positives had risen to 16 confirmed cases in 1,127 tests.

USC and the Pac-12 have postponed all sporting competitions through the end of 2020. Among the teams on campus for workouts are football, men’s water polo, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball.

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