Over 1,200 Illinois COVID-19 Athlete Tests Produces 23 Positives With Three Active Cases

Matthew Stevens

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The athletics officials at the University of Illinois decided to reverse its previous stance of keeping coronavirus test result data private. 

The school released its positive cases since athletes returned to the Champaign-Urbana campus for voluntary workouts Monday afternoon.

As of July 30, Illinois had 164 student-athletes who had returned to campus to participate in voluntary team activities.

The media release further emphasizes the COVID-19 protocols put in place by school officials that included all athletes being tested at least weekly, with a total of more than 1,200 tests already being administered. According to the release, the testing protocol has reportedly returned 23 positive results with all but three of those cases with the remaining athletes having already recovered and returned to the activity of the workouts. According to Illinois athletics spokesperson Kent Brown, “only four of the positive tests were remotely symptomatic” and no Illinois athlete has required a hospitalization after testing positive for COVID-19.

In addition to the athletes testing, university COVID-19 protocols required staff members who interact regularly with Illini athletes to also be tested weekly. The results of more than 420 of those staff tests produced two positive cases.

The news out of the U of I campus came just minutes after the Chicago Tribune confirmed Northwestern University has reportedly paused athletic workouts, including football, after one player tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Illinois media release stated more than 75 percent of the positive tests (at least 17) occurred among the Illini football program, which makes up more than 100 of the 164 student-athletes currently on campus for voluntary workouts.

“There is no evidence that any of the positive transmissions came through athletic activities or by the use of campus athletics facilities. 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 university statement in the media release reads. “Guidance from national and state health officials, along with the NCAA and Big Ten, was also incorporated. These protocols relate to weekly testing, quarantining and isolation, daily screenings, facility access and cleaning, and workout procedures, all of which have contributed to the low positivity rate.”