SOUTH BEND — Ninety-one Notre Dame football players and 50 staff members were tested for COVID-19 last week with one player testing positive, the football program announced Monday.
The student-athlete, who is asymptomatic, is self-isolating as the team started voluntary workouts Monday on campus. The program did not reveal the player’s identity but indicated in its news release that his parents have been informed.
Four other asymptomatic players are self-isolating after contract tracing connected them to the player who tested positive.
A handful of football programs across the country have reported higher levels of positive tests upon return to their campuses. LSU reportedly had at least 30 players quarantined after positive tests and contact tracing. Clemson, Notre Dame’s Nov. 9 opponent, announced Friday positive test results for 23 football players. Texas reported 13 positive tests.
University officials said that in this round of testing four Notre Dame football players also tested positive for the COVID-19 antibody. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a positive antibody test is presumed to mean a person has previously been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2).
Notre Dame’s players started returning to campus earlier this month with its COVID-19 protocol in place that includes single-occupancy rooms at the Morris Inn.
Players returned to St. Joseph County, which has reported 1,677 total positive cases out of 22,171 tests since testing started in March. Each day in June the county has reported at least 10 positive cases but no more than 32, with a positive test rate moving average between 3.45% and 6.2%.
The team is scheduled for voluntary workouts in groups of 10 as part of its first phase. It won’t proceed to the next step, which will allow workout groups up to 50, until the first phase is deemed successful.
“Success for us is going to be not having clusters of outbreaks,” Notre Dame team physician Matt Leiszler said earlier this month. “We want to make sure with each phase that our plan is working. And so we’re trying to minimize the close contacts if and when we have an illness. We want to make sure that the things we have in place are actually working.”
Per NCAA guidelines, Notre Dame can’t start required team activities until July 12. The Irish season opener against Navy, which was originally to be played in Dublin, Ireland, is scheduled for Sept. 5 or 6 in Annapolis, Md.