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UNM Athletics: 88 virus tests, one positive

UNM’s Dreamstyle Stadium. (ADOLPHE PIERRE-LOUIS/Journal file)

Of the first 88 UNM athletes, coaches and staff members tested for COVID-19 ahead of Lobo football’s return to voluntary workouts on Monday, one tested positive for the virus.

It was not disclosed whether the positive test was an athlete or employee of UNM.

The tests were administered on Saturday and will be administered for all athletes, coaches and staff who work directly with Lobo athletes before being allowed to resume normal athletic activities.

Athletic director Eddie Nuñez on Wednesday released the first batch of test results, which he says he plans to do periodically over the next month or two ahead of the fall sports season as COVID-19 testing remains a critical component of college sports’ return.

“Our medical team has worked with the individual who tested positive,” Nuñez said in a statement. “All provisions and steps have been taken, and the individual is doing well.

“We will continue to follow our own department and University guidelines as well as all state and city regulations, and we will continue to work with our medical team moving forward.”

Nuñez said Monday is still the target date for voluntary workouts for football to resume, but only after all athletes pass a COVID-19 test, have a completed and satisfactory physical and have completed their mandatory 14-day quarantine. Other plans related to health measures are in place for the football workouts (See story, this page) .

UNM’s COVID-19 test results news came on the same day Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced in Santa Fe that the state’s initially positive trends regarding infection rates appear headed in the wrong direction after some previously imposed restrictions had been relaxed. Chief among Wednesday’s news from the governor’s office was that face masks are now required to be worn in public by everyone – a point illustrated on a slide accompanying the governor’s presentation as a mandate that will be “aggressively enforced” around the state and now comes with a $100 fine for non-compliance.

Another point made in the governor’s news conference that can affect sports is her office now required all people traveling into the state from elsewhere to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

Both UNM and New Mexico State University, which resumed its voluntary workouts one month ago but this week put them on pause after six positive COVID tests, already require of all their college athletes a 14-day quarantine before allowing them to resume voluntary strength and conditioning activities. The governor’s incoming travel restriction would make playing home games for state’s two Division I universities – other than when they play each other – an impossibility.

The state also continues its restrictions on workout activities, indoor or outdoor, that limit group activities to groups of five or less, meaning team activities for either university are, at this point, limited to just conditioning and weight lifting, for the most part.

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