By Chip Towers, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga
ATHENS — Seven Georgia football players tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning to campus to voluntary workouts this summer.
UGA shared that information Friday afternoon in response to an open-records request filed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on June 9. The players were not identified.
Georgia and SEC football players were cleared to return to campus June 8 after campuses were closed March 13 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The AJC has filed subsequent requests for COVID-19 testing information, but has not yet received any responses.
UGA revealed that 100 players returned to campus the first week of June, and all underwent testing at the time. In addition to the seven positive tests, four players had to be quarantined for close-contact exposure. Also, UGA reported that “pre-participation exams” classified three football players as “high risk” for contracting the virus and 16 were classified as “medium risk.” The rest of the players were considered low risks based on those examinations, the report said.
Georgia said it did not have any documents showing how many members of the athletic association department staff were tested or if any of them tested positive for COVID-19.
UGA would not specify where the tests were conducted other than “at a hospital in an accredited lab.” All the results of any positive tests were forwarded immediately to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) by the hospital, UGA said.
The athletic department does not file or report test information directly to the DPH, UGA said.
Georgia also turned over its 229-page “Phased Return to Full Operations” manual.
Georgia state law gives university athletic departments 90 business days to respond to requests for public information. The AJC has filed several other requests since then. UGA testing procedures have changed and intensified since then.
When games begin next week, the SEC requires all teams to test once before and once after games. Georgia plans to do it twice before games and once after and has the resources ability to test anyone immediately in the interim.