Okemos’ Athletic Director breaks down the COVID-19 testing process

Local Sports

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Starting today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHSS) is requiring that athletes between the ages of 13-19 will now need to take an antigen COVID-19 rapid test once a week before they can compete in their respective sports. This decision comes after an increase in COVID-19 cases within the 13-19 athlete age group.

High school athletic directors are currently planning for how they will test their roughly 300-400 athletes when they return from spring break vacations next week. Okemos’ Brian Fuller explained that the rapid antigen test is not the brain-tickling test that we’re are all familiar with.

“This antigen test essentially I think most of us over the course of a winter might have a day where you have to take a tissue and wipe the inside of your nose or something it’s essentially like that,” said Fuller. “You wipe your nose, and then that goes into a hole in a card that’s folded over, creates a pink line across the top if you’re done it correctly and then fifteen minutes later if there’s a second pink line then you’re positive if there’s not a second pink line then it’s negative.”

From there the test results are entered into the MDHSS antigen testing portal. Each athlete’s personal information is entered into the portal including their address, phone number, the date the test was taken, and whether or not the test results are positive or negative. Entering each athlete’s information each day of testing originally was going to take up to thirty hours a week but Director Fuller told us that the process just got a lot faster.

“Yesterday there was an announcement from the MDHHS that essentially streamlines that it’s going to allow us one data entry for all of our negative tests for all the people in our population we’ve already identified and only have to specifically go back in for positive cases,” said Fuller. “For us, it’s going to take a thirty-hour project and turn it into a ten-hour project a week. The cumbersome part of the process needed to be revised and we were happy it got revised before we actually had to start.”

Fuller and his staff will begin testing their athletes on Monday, April 12. Here’s a list of when several local high schools have planned to start their antigen COVID-19 rapid testing:

  • St. Johns – April 7
  • East Lansing – April 11
  • Lansing Waverly – April 12
  • Holt – April 12

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