Cal Football Reschedules Game After 44 Players, Staff Test Positive for COVID-19

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors’ Jeremiah Pritchard, bottom, can’t reach California Golden Bears’ Jordan Veasy who goes in to score a touchdown during the opening game of the U.S. college football season at Sydney’s Olympic stadium in Sydney, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016. The last American football of any kind played in Sydney was an NFL preseason game at the Olympic stadium that attracted 73,000 spectators in 1999. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

UC Berkeley postponed its upcoming football game against USC due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Early last week, some symptomatic Cal Bears tested positive for COVID-19. The positive cases prompted UC Berkeley and the city health department to test all players and staff, regardless of symptoms.

Once tested, 24 players and coaches became unavailable for the school’s game against Arizona. The alarming number prompted Cal’s athletic director Jim Knowlton to require all players and staff to be tested again this week. The second round of testing lead to the discovery of 20 more cases, totaling 44 lab-confirmed cases within the program.

Because there were more than 20 cases, the outbreak was classified as “major” by Cal-OSHA’s workplace safety rules. State guidance for a major outbreak requires twice-weekly testing until there are less than three COVID-19 cases detected in the exposed group for 14 days. After that, the state guidance is for weekly testing until there are 14 days with no cases.

When the season began, players and staff were tested every day, but as time went on and 99% of the roster was vaccinated, only symptomatic individuals were tested.

“That’s really how we’ve worked our way through this season is symptomatic, any symptoms we immediately test. We have the availability right here on campus and that’s how we approached it,” explained Knowlton.

Knowlton said postponing this Saturday’s game, “Was a difficult decision…but it was the right thing to do.”

KGO hosts Nikki Medoro and John Rothmann discuss protocols and the greater threat posed to the university population at-large.

“It’s quite embarrassing for CAL to go through something like this when we’re this far into the pandemic…it seems to me that the bare minimum of preventative measures wasn’t being taken and now they are learning the hard lesson,” explained Nikki Medoro.

John Rothmann wants to know if people are becoming too relaxed when it comes to preventing coronavirus.

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