New COVID-19 testing program to help Michigan high school sports resume safely

Athletes, team personnel to be tested 3 times per week

New testing program will be used in restart of Michigan high school sports
New testing program will be used in restart of Michigan high school sports

Trying to figure out how to complete the fall sports season amid the coronavirus pandemic has proven difficult for Michigan high schools.

However, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) believes it can be done safely through a new, pilot rapid testing program.

“An opportunity came along to partner with the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). There were teams who are looking to finish out fall seasons. They really want to play. We’d like to give some normalcy back,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, senior public health physician with MDHHS.

RELATED: Michigan high school sports practices suspended for COVID-19 testing

The plan is to test every athlete and team personnel three times per week from those schools remaining in the post-season from football, volleyball, an swimming and diving. The tests are antigen rapid tests provided by MDHHS.

It’s up to the schools to administer the tests.

“You don’t need to have a lab. You don’t even need to have a health care provider to perform the tests. It’s a nasal swab… The results of the tests are back within 15 minutes,” Bagdasarian said.

Detroit Catholic Central High School’s football team is still in the playoffs, and Athletic Director Aaron Babicz said they have a tentative plan.

“Our goal at Detroit Catholic Central is to have one person in charge of a group of 10. If we are testing 100 people, I want at least 10 volunteers,” he said.

Testing is a requirement for participation.

Babicz said he knows the students want to finish the season, and he is willing to make that happen for them.

Bagdasarian said if successful, that type of testing could be used on a larger scale in schools.

Watch the full report in the video above.


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About the Author:

Jamie anchors sports coverage on Local 4 News Saturdays at 6 & 11 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m., in addition to hosting Sports Final Edition.