University of Memphis confirms 46 active COVID-19 cases, with 42 linked to athletics

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The University of Memphis battle with the coronavirus continues as the school is dealing with two COVID-19 clusters.

The Shelby County Health Department confirmed two clusters at the U of M: 42 cases are associated with the athletics department, and four are a separate cluster linked to the cheer squad.

The Memphis Tigers just restarted its sports programs during the COVID-19 era. Many of those cases include the football team, but it is unclear how many football players tested positive.

It’s also unclear how these outbreaks will affect the Tigers moving forward. The football team has postponed this Friday’s game against Houston, but they say they are still planning to play next week’s game against the University of Texas-San Antonio.

In a statement to WREG-TV, The Shelby County Health Department said that of the 46 active COVID cases at the U of M, 42 are associated with the athletics department– the entire department, not the football program. Head Coach Ryan Silverfield denies a report that all 42 are on the Memphis football team.

Silverfield said earlier this week, despite his team battling an outbreak, they are proud of how the team has handled COVID challenges.

“We know that many teams across college football have dealt and are dealing with this,” Silverfield said. “I’m proud of the efforts by so many that our guys have had to make great decisions and take precautions.”

Memphis is working actively with the Shelby County Health Department, but those doctors recommended against playing contact sports.

WREG-TV reached out to the University of Memphis to get a specific count of COVID-19 cases within the football program and have not heard back at the time this story was posted.

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