Davidson College reports COVID-19 cluster involving baseball players

Davidson College reports COVID-19 cluster involving baseball players
(Source: Charlotte Observer file photo)

DAVIDSON, N.C. (Charlotte Observer) - Davidson College has reported a COVID-19 cluster on campus involving members of its baseball team.

The cluster involves five positive test results, according to a statement by the college Friday night. The college reported a total of 13 known coronavirus cases out of more than 1,600 tests administered in recent days.

“The students in the cluster are members of the baseball team, but any transmission among them likely was from social settings,” college officials said in the statement.

The students are isolating, “and while they are currently asymptomatic, their health is being monitored,” campus officials said. “Contact tracing has been completed, and students identified as requiring quarantine have been sent there.

“Fortunately, the number of students requiring quarantine is low, which is a reflection of when our community adheres to our health and safety guidelines.”

The college concluded that the students contracted the virus in social settings based on the contact tracing and “on our experience in athletics.” Still, Davidson officials say they’ve suspended “all baseball activities for two weeks.”

In a statement Friday night, Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris said her department is “working with Davidson officials to assure that those who test positive for COVID-19 are appropriately isolated and that contacts are quarantined. We investigate any potential clusters and provide guidance as needed.”

Neither Harris nor school officials released details about where students may have infected others or how many people are quarantined on campus.

In her statement, the health director said, “As we continue to see, this virus exploits any process flaw or failure to do what we know stops the spread ... wear a mask, wash your hands and stay six feet apart.”

Davidson students returned to campus earlier this month for a semester that includes some in-person classes. The university has conducted coronavirus testing and put in other safety protocols, including regular symptom screenings.

Statewide, colleges and universities have struggled with on-campus living and learning arrangements due to the pandemic. In the Charlotte area, some campuses have elected to hold only remote learning while others like UNC Charlotte have moved to online only while postponing an in-person start to the semester.

In many instances, colleges have allowed sports practices to continue even as academic classes are held virtually.

According to Davidson College, its athletic teams follow protocols by the NCAA, NATA and American College of Sports Medicine. The protocols include 6 to 10 feet of social distancing and continual equipment cleaning.

“The protocols were successfully followed over the summer with our athletes, and the only positive case developed after one student made an authorized trip home to another state,” according to the college’s statement.

Training continues outdoors, although the state allows indoor training by the teams, Davidson College officials said.