New COVID strain prompts 2-week pause of Michigan Athletics activities

6 cases of B.1.1.7 variant confirmed, more cases likely

All athletic programs at the University of Michigan will be put on a 14-day pause starting Sunday, a school official confirmed Saturday night.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan will pause all sports for two weeks because of an outbreak of a new coronavirus strain.

The university said several people linked to the Athletic Department have tested positive for the highly-contagious strain of the virus.

The State of Michigan confirmed five people associated with the University have been diagnosed.

There will be no sports -- including games, team and individual training sessions -- until Feb. 7 at UM.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is urging people to get tested for COVID. That’s because they are seeing more positive cases of the variant B.1.1.7.

A Wayne County man tested positive for the variant and a total of five people tested positive in Washtenaw County.

The University of Michigan confirmed to Local 4 the school issued a two week pause for all University of Michigan Athletics. There will be no sports, games, individual or group training until Feb. 7.

Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, with the Washtenaw County Health Department, said they’re concerned because the B.1.1.7 is more contagious.

“Because of the concern of this variant being more easy to spread, we are providing a notification of a couple of public locations,” Ringler-Cerniglia said.

Washtenaw County health leaders are asking everyone to get tested if you were in these public locations last weekend:

One was at the Meijer on Ann Arbor-Saline Road in Ann Arbor from 9-10 in the morning,” Ringler-Cerniglia said. “The second was at Briarwood Mall, that same day, Sunday the 17th, from 1-2 in the afternoon.”

And unfortunately, they said things can get worse.

“The reality is, yes, we probably will see more cases,” Ringler-Cerniglia said.

COVID-19 Testing

Washtenaw County Health Department is working with the Michigan Department of Health and local partners to provide additional, no-cost COVID-19 testing opportunities. Testing will be available this Sun, Jan 24 from 12:00 to 5:00 pm at Pioneer High School 601 W. Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI. Pre-registration is available but not required. Ongoing testing options are listed at or by using the statewide COVID-19 test locator.

More: Michigan health officials concerned over COVID variants

About the Author:

Larry Spruill Jr. joined the Local 4 News team in January 2018. Prior, he worked at WJAX in Jacksonville, Florida. Larry grew up as a military kid because his father is a retired Chief of the United States Air Force.