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S.C. STATE ATHLETICS: 21 new coronavirus cases among athletes
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S.C. STATE ATHLETICS: 21 new coronavirus cases among athletes

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South Carolina State University has confirmed 21 new cases of coronavirus on campus.

All of the cases are student-athletes, the university announced Saturday evening.

One week ago, university officials suspended organized practices and placed student-athletes under quarantine after a member of the Athletics Department tested positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing was conducted while the university awaited the results of accelerated testing.

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"Over the past week, the university has worked with the Medical University of South Carolina to perform immediate COVID-19 testing of students with a quick turnaround," President James E. Clark said. "As a result of this rigorous testing protocol, we have been able to quickly identify positive cases, conduct important contact tracing and quickly act to mitigate any further transmission among our student-athletes.

"Subsequently, we partnered with S.C. DHEC to perform a second round of tests of the remaining students, which have all come back negative."

The students who tested positive have now been isolated to a residence hall on campus designated for positive cases. At this time, none of the students are exhibiting symptoms, according to S.C. State.

They are currently being monitored by the university's medical staff. They will remain isolated and will continue their classes remotely. They will also have meals delivered to their rooms.

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Other athletes who have not tested positive remain in quarantine and will continue to be routinely tested while they continue classes remotely, the university said.

"The health, safety and well-being of all of our university community are our top priority," Athletics Director Stacy Danley said. "The athletics staff, in collaboration with public health officials and our medical staff, have followed public health guidelines to the letter. We are monitoring our students daily to ensure the proper care and treatment of those identified as positive cases. Moving forward, our athletes and athletic staff will be tested daily in an effort to mitigate the potential spread of the virus."

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On Sept. 17, approximately 200 students were allowed to return to campus to resume face-to-face instruction and participate in remote classes. About 175 of those were student-athletes who also returned to take part in strength and conditioning workouts and practices in preparation for winter sports competitions.

University officials are using what they have learned from these newly identified cases to further enhance protocols as they finalize plans to welcome more students back to campus for the start of the spring semester, which begins Jan. 4, 2021.

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