Summer Training

Northwest football players Jerrell Green (7), Will Obert (45) and Loren Wiota (73) train for the 2019 season in a file photo taken in August of last year. 

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

July 21, 7 p.m.

Source: Seven more Northwest athletes test positive for COVID-19

The Nodaway County Health Department announced eight new individuals tested positive for COVID-19 in the county July 21. 

The group includes five females between ages 10-19, two females between ages 20-29 and one male between ages 20-29. 

All seven women are members of the Northwest soccer program, a source told The Missourian.

The positive test results come in the wake of a confirmed case of the virus July 20, in which the results were received Monday morning. Players that showed symptoms or were in close contact with the positive individual were tested, which resulted in the seven new cases. The new cases, the health department said, were in close contact with one of the 60 prior cases in Nodaway County.

July 21, 1 p.m.

Multiple Northwest athletes test positive for COVID-19

Amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in Nodaway County, at least two Northwest athletes have tested positive for the virus within the past week, multiple sources told The Missourian.

The affected athletes belong to the Northwest football and soccer programs, respectively, and people in contact with the individuals have since been advised to self-isolate.

Northwest Athletics declined multiple requests to confirm or deny the positive cases and declined to provide comment or statement to The Missourian.

Northwest football’s voluntary workouts were canceled on Thursday and Friday last week after a player tested positive on Wednesday, according to a player who spoke to The Missourian but requested anonymity to avoid potential retribution. Northwest Athletics trainers didn’t identify the player who tested positive to teammates, but players who were considered close contacts of the patient were directed to quarantine at home. Close contacts were not tested, the anonymous player said.

In addition, athletes not in contact with the positive individuals were required to wear masks to team facilities, which resumed Monday, but a Northwest Athletics official clarified that masks still aren’t required to be worn during workouts, an issue that Northwest Director of Athletics Andy Peterson said in June might compound issues within weight training.

“We’re doing the same for our student-athletes,” Peterson said June 16, describing a potential University policy that would require students to wear a face-covering when social distancing isn’t possible. “You know, ‘Hey, when you guys are working here working out, we can’t have you working out with a mask on’ because we’d be having kids pass our right and left. But when you go to class, you wear your mask.”

For soccer, the positive test result wasn’t available until Monday afternoon, a player told The Missourian. Since then, players have been advised to self-isolate, with team activities being suspended indefinitely. A group of athletes believed to be in contact with the individual who tested positive, along with any player experiencing symptoms, are being tested.

The developments arise in the wake of the MIAA’s July 20 announcement to suspend the start of all practices until the week of Aug. 31. The same statement declared that competition for fall sports won’t start until the week of Sept. 28.

“We remain hopeful that the MIAA student-athletes will be able to practice and compete this fall,” MIAA Commissioner Mike Racy said in the release. “But we need to be patient and make sure that we are doing that in a healthy and safe environment for our student-athletes, coaches, and administrators.”

Peterson, who helped the MIAA reshape its 2020 football schedule to a 10-game slate last month, one that has since been cut down to a 7-game gantlet, said in June that fall sports would be an “all-or-nothing” endeavor, and that much of the specifics remained in flux then as they do now.

Peterson made the comments as a group of Northwest athletes piloted the department’s reopening plan, which Peterson said divided athletes into small groups to make potential COVID-19 contact tracing easier. As Northwest Athletics moved toward a complete reopening of its weight room June 22, with the same small-group mitigation efforts in place, he acknowledged then that Northwest athletes would, at some point, test positive for the virus.

“It’s not, ‘What if?’” Peterson said. “It’s ‘when.’ It’s gonna happen. It’s just part of — it’s part of the pandemic.”

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