SEASIDE – Six fully vaccinated members of the CSU Monterey Bay volleyball team tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, according to a message sent to campus.
According to the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s COVID protocols, CSUMB subsequently canceled its home volleyball games against Cal State LA (September 24) and Cal State Dominguez Hills (September 25), scheduled for last weekend, with no plans to postpone the games .
“Our focus right now is on the health and wellbeing of our student otter athletes,” said Kirby Garry, CSUMB’s sports director, in Friday’s message to the college. “Canceling events is always difficult, especially after the year we’ve been through the competition, but it’s the right decision.”
During volleyball practice last Thursday morning, a player was feeling bad and went home for a rapid antigen test, Garry explained. After the test was positive, the trainer and trainer were notified immediately.
Within an hour of being notified, the rest of the volleyball program, which includes 17 athletes and two coaches, was tested. Five more of the student-athletes tested positive, none of which were symptomatic at the time of the test. The campus management was notified that same evening.
“Our top priority remains the health and safety of our community, and it is unfortunate that our athletics program is seeing positive cases,” said Eduardo Ochoa, President of CSUMB. “I am proud of our otter community and the level of collective care that each person takes to protect one another.”
To address safety concerns, the college tightened preventive measures. This means additional cleaning of facilities across campus, contact tracing management, and expanded testing protocols for affected groups.
The rest of the volleyball team has been tested three times since Thursday, all players remained negative. After 72 hours without another positive COVID test after the initial notification, all remaining volleyball team members were able to return to training on Monday morning. This week’s game at Sonoma State continues as planned, Garry said.
As a result of the extended contact tracing, no further positive COVID-19 tests have been found, even though exposure tracking is ongoing, the university noted.
The group of volleyball players who tested positive was quarantined. Of the six cases, one lives on campus while the others live off campus.
The on-campus student has been relocated to one of CSUMB’s isolation units, where resident students who test positive for COVID-19 will be given meals, check-ins, and academic arrangements to continue their schooling. The others, three of whom live together, have been ordered to quarantine themselves.
Without those six people, CSUMB has seen 21 positive cases of reported campus contact between students, staff, faculty, and contractors since the fall class began. Taking into account those who had no campus contact, such as students living off campus or taking part in classes virtually, the university recorded 37 cases this school year.
CSUMB continues to require indoor masks and vaccinations for all students, staff and faculty on campus, as the college has been fully vaccinated since the beginning of face-to-face classes on Aug. 23. Anyone who is not fully vaccinated, whether due to a medical / religious exception or an incomplete vaccination dose, will be tested for COVID-19 weekly.
Of the 265 student athletes in the Otter Athletics division, all but one person are fully vaccinated. Although the cluster of cases emerged from this nearly fully vaccinated population, CSUMB officials wanted to reassure the campus community that pre-existing safety protocols are the best strategies available to prevent an outbreak.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that while vaccines may not prevent infection 100 percent, they are very effective at preventing serious diseases,” said Walter Ryce, CSUMB public information officer. “A combination of a highly vaccinated population combined with personal protection practices such as wearing a mask in indoor public spaces are the best tools we have to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”