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Gonzaga Basketball

Non-student-athlete member of Gonzaga’s travel party tests positive for COVID-19

Gonzaga players take the floor before Kraziness in the Kennel, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, in the McCarthey Athletic Center.  (Dan Pelle/THESPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

One non-student-athlete member of Gonzaga basketball’s travel party tested positive Wednesday for COVID-19 and two other non-student-athletes identified through contact tracing are in isolation in separate Fort Myers, Florida, hotel rooms.

The medical staffs from all four schools – Gonzaga, Kansas, Auburn and St. Joseph’s – at the Fort Myers Tip-Off deemed both season-opening games could be played as scheduled, according to a release from tournament officials.

“It’s unfortunate that we had a positive test, but at same time we know that our staff and our student-athletes have continued to follow all of the safety protocols,” Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth said. “We’re confident in the Florida Department of Health that all of our student-athletes and coaches are safe to proceed with this game with all the safety protocols in place.

“We’re confident we’re not going to be putting a student-athlete or coach, anyone from Kansas or anyone involved in the game at risk. All of the other tests (except one positive with a non-student-athlete in the travel party) were negative. We will continue to follow all of the Florida Department of Health protocols.”

The positive test result came after 112 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were administered Wednesday morning to every member of all four schools’ travel parties. Tourney organizers then contacted the Florida Department of Health to independently conduct contact-tracing measures that identified two more members of GU’s travel party.

Those two had tested negative, but they’re required to isolate in their hotel rooms under the supervision of Gonzaga’s medical staff.

The four teams weren’t certain the games would be played, as the contact tracing required several hours to complete. It was later determined by the four programs’ medical staffs, in consultation with the Florida Department of Health, that Thursday’s games could proceed, Roth said.

It wasn’t immediately known if the three members of Gonzaga’s travel party will be able to travel after the tournament or be required to quarantine in Fort Myers.

“They are now under the direction and authority of the health district there,” Roth said. “That determination will be based on the Florida officials. Most likely they will be spending a little time in Florida, and won’t travel with the team for sure.”

Gonzaga’s travel party traveled by charter to Florida on Monday.