Clemson University athletics addresses COVID-19 cases; City finds virus in wastewater

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CLEMSON, SC (WSPA)–Clemson University is working to keep everyone safe, after learning 28 staff and student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

Clemson Athletics said they’ve been in phase one of a return back to campus plan, where some student-athletes have come back to work out voluntarily. Through a number of physicals, they were able to detect the virus.

“Last week there were a total of 25 positives, so at this point, our total count right now through Clemson athletics, student-athletes, and staff are 28 positive test out of 315 testing completed,” said Jeff Kallin, Associate Athletic Director for Communications at Clemson University.

Kallin said 23 of those infected are football players. He tells 7-News those players, and some basketball players have been on campus for voluntary workouts.

“For our school and return to work operations…return to workplace operations, we felt like it was important to have testing. So we actually mandated testing for anyone who wanted to come back in and workout, as part of our return work,” Kallin said. “…June 8th was the first day we began doing some physicals which included COVID 19 testing.”

All impacted students and staff, and they’re closed contacts, have been notified to self-quarantine.

Kallin said those experiencing symptoms, are less than half of the positive cases thus far.

Off-campus, the City is also monitoring the virus. They’ve found increased levels of COVID-19 in wastewater that came into the Cochran Road Wastewater Treatment Plant.

“The test indicates that we have elevated levels of COVID in that part of town, and it also indicates that many of those people are highly likely to be asymptomatic, and don’t even realize their infected,” said Andy Blondeau, Clemson City Administrator.

In regards to drinking water, the city said the virus does not survive the process after they test it at their plant. Blondeau said the virus doesn’t like chlorine, ozone, or UV, which means it’s killed during testing.

The City of Clemson and the university are both taking action.

“Ramping up obviously within our facilities, making sure distancing is enforced, masks are in use whenever possible and that we’re continuing to do enhanced cleaning procedures..sanitation procedures,” Kallin said.

As questions remain about the return of fall sports, the athletics department said they’re focused on stopping the spread of the virus right now.

“We’re still really focused on what can we do to make sure a safe atmosphere that we can now,” Kallin added.
 
Clemson University in conjunction with the athletics department, will continue to aggressively monitor COVID-19 and any active cases.

Clemson Athletics communications tells 7-News, the NCAA approved a plan for football summer sport activities and preseason practice. The model plan allows programs to start limited workouts and other activities beginning July 13th. Basketball can start their summer athletic activities on July 20th.

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