News graphic_new

A WKU athletics staff member who works with student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19, the university announced Tuesday.

The staff member, who was asymptomatic, was among six athletes and staff members who tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, and were given a test for the active virus, a statement from spokesman Zach Greenwell said.

As a result, WKU will require student-athletes and staff members returning to campus to take an antibody test when they arrive. As of Tuesday, WKU has performed 293 antibody tests between 183 student-athletes and 110 athletics staff members. Every student-athlete arriving on campus between July 4 and the beginning of the fall semester is now required to complete a COVID-19 antibody test, the statement said.

WKU said in the statement that it will impose contact tracing and quarantine measures when a student-athlete or staff member tests positive for COVID-19. The university stated that student-athletes and staff members will continue to be reminded of the importance of wearing a face mask, proper hygiene and social distancing.

“The antibody test was administered to identify those individuals who have potentially come in contact with the virus and therefore may be at risk for cardiopulmonary side effects,” WKU said in the statement. “Those who test positive will receive further cardiopulmonary testing and clearance by a specialist before being cleared for physical activity and sport.”

The new procedure was introduced as several WKU sports teams returned to campus for voluntary workouts this month. The volleyball and women’s soccer teams returned to campus on July 6 and the men’s and women’s basketball teams began voluntary workouts on July 9.

The new antibody testing procedure will be added to an updated description of the athletics testing protocol in the university’s Big Red Restart plan, the statement said.

WKU said its athletics program will continue to perform COVID-19 tests when an individual requests one or when they report having symptoms that are related to the virus. The university said that every test for the active virus that has been performed because of a request or symptom report has come back negative.

WKU said that its athletics program consulted with infectious disease experts in the United States before moving forward with the antibody test procedure.

“The well-being of our student-athletes and staff has been and always will be our chief concern,” WKU said in the statement.

Leo Bertucci is a crime and general assignment reporter for the College Heights Herald. He is a junior from Louisville, Kentucky.