By Nathan Ham
On Tuesday night, Appalachian State University announced that a cluster of seven students and four staff members associated with the Mountaineer football program had tested positive for COVID-19 and were considered active cases.
A cluster is defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as “a minimum of five cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period and plausible epidemiologic linkage between cases.”
According to the university, AppHealthCare has been in contact with each individual and have identified close contacts to each person. Those contacts have been instructed to quarantine and will have access to COVID-19 testing.
Athletic Director Doug Gillin has suspended football practice until further notice.
Several Appalachian State players immediately took to social media to downplay rumors of rampant positive tests among the football program.
“Just another bump in the road. Don’t believe everything you hear! As a team we are safer in our facilities than any other student on campus. Let us play,” said quarterback Zac Thomas on Twitter last night.
Center Noah Hannon took to Twitter to share his thoughts as well.
“From inside the locker room, @coach_sclark (head coach Shawn Clark) and @ZachParkerATC (head athletic trainer Zach Parker) have done a great job providing a safe environment for us to be successful and healthy! Don’t believe everything you all are reading out there!” said Hannon.
“My boys are safe, my coaches and staff are safe, I’m safe! Let us ball,” tweeted running back Cam Peoples.
Wide receiver Thomas Hennigan simply Tweeted out “Fake News…”
The Mountaineers are preparing to open their football season on September 12 at home against Charlotte.