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Badgers football deals with COVID-19


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Badgers football team is reportedly dealing with COVID-19 concerns. Multiple outlets confirming the CBS Sports report that quarterback Graham Mertz will miss 21 days after his positive test was confirmed.

Public Health Madison and Dane County told 27 News on Tuesday that 56 Badgers football players have tested positive since June, along with four staff members. Head coach Paul Chryst refused to say how many players are currently dealing with COVID-19. Big Ten protocols clearly state the thresholds for continuing in-person activities (Courtesy:

The Big Ten Conference will use data provided by each Chief Infection Officer (CInO) to make decisions about the continuation of practice and competition, as determined by Test Positivity Rate and Population Positivity Rate, based on a seven-day rolling average:

  • Test positivity rate (number of positive tests divided by total number of tests administered):
    • Green 0-2%
    • Orange 2-5%
    • Red >5%
  • Population positivity rate (number of positive individuals divided by total population at risk):
    • Green 0-3.5%
    • Orange 3.5-7.5%
    • Red >7.5%

Decisions to alter or halt practice and competition will be based on the following scenarios:

  • Green/Green and Green/Orange: Team continues with normal practice and competition.
  • Orange/Orange and Orange/Red: Team must proceed with caution and enhance COVID-19 prevention (alter practice and meeting schedule, consider viability of continuing with scheduled competition).
  • Red/Red: Team must stop regular practice and competition for a minimum of seven days and reassess metrics until improved.

Dr. Jeff Pothof from UW Health explains that the 5% maximum positivity rate is not difficult to reach when dealing with a group of people as small as a football team. He says the threshold is that small to slow down any potential spread.

"It wouldn't take much to reach that five percent. I think it's important to have those parameters in play because what you don't want to have happen is one team have an event that is now making more of the team positive. You play your next game. Now, you've infected a second Big Ten team. You do that a couple iterations and the whole Big Ten is shut down. Every team is going to have COVID. So, I think it's good that it doesn't take very many positive people on a team to say, 'You know what? We have to pass on this game'."

The Badgers are scheduled to play at Nebraska on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

Lance Veeser

Sports Director, 27 News

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