Two within Ole Miss athletics, one student-athlete and one athletics staffer, have tested positive for COVID-19 upon their return to campus.
Ole Miss has had plans in place for a while as to what they'd do when athletes return to campus. These positive results, according to Shannon Singletary, the Ole Miss' Senior Associate A.D. for Health and Sports Performance, were not unexpected.
"We expected some positive cases," Singletary said. "That's why we've been working so hard to make sure there's plans in place. Obviously, the testing was to help mitigate the spread."
The two with positive test results will now go into isolation. The staff member is at home isolating. They have been in consultation with University health employees on how to interact with family and protocols to take while at home.
The student-athlete who tested positive is in the University's isolation protocol. Ole Miss has established some isolation units on campus. Fully furnished with food and living furniture, the player should have everything they will need for a 14-day isolation period in the quarantine apartment.
Now, University staffers are working with the Mississippi Department of Heath to identify people that were in close contact with the two individuals who tested positive.
"It doesn't necessarily mean that every person they've been around needs tested," Singletary said. "It's everyone that's been within six feet for a period of time that is closer to 15 minutes. That rules a lot of people out."
Ole Miss had a careful plan when athletes returned for the first time on Monday.
Testing for everyone was essential. They also maintained social distancing efforts to help make sure people weren't in close contact during the process.
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For now, they believe that is working fine.
"The restrictions and modifications of the building, the way we did the physicals, we feel really good about our protocol in terms of having very minimal contact," Singletary said. "We haven't identified any other athletes as close contact."
Anyone else that is deemed to be in close contact will enter their own 14-day quarantine.
It should be noted that both individuals who tested positive were were asymptomatic. Additionally, three other athletes were not allowed to return to campus due to a pre-screen done over the phone. Ole Miss staffers went through a series of questions with each athlete about where they have been, if they had been traveling, and who they had been in contact with.
This pre-screen was done 72-hours before the return to campus. They simply wanted to make sure those who should be tested at home could do so, just to be on the safe side. For three athletes, they deemed that to be the safe step.
For now, Ole Miss just has two in the preset quarantine period. They have resources to test again and plan on testing these two individuals again after the 14-day isolation.
The next wave of Ole Miss student athletes is set to return to campus on Friday. According to Singletary, these two positive tests will not prevent that from happening.
For more on the Ole Miss return to campus plan compared to others from around the SEC, see this week's SEC Roundtable.