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Student athletes must get weekly COVID tests; more fans will be allowed in stadiums


New state health orders will soon allow more people to attend live sports events, and will require teen-aged athletes to be tested weekly for COVID-19.

The new rules were announced Friday by the state’s chief medical executive and Governor Gretchen Whitmer despite an uptick in COVID infections in Michigan as well as positivity rates. Much of that is related to teen sports meets.          

“This uptick in our numbers is something that’s very serious,” said Whitmer, “and we all have to take this seriously. We are so close.”

The new order will allow more fans into outdoor sports stadiums. Starting Monday, stadiums can allow up to 20 percent of their capacity. Teams must have plans to enforce mask and social distancing requirements.

Michigan Chief Medical Executive Joneigh Khaldun said that’s as vaccines become more available, and temperatures get warmer.

“But we are not out of the woods yet,” she said, “and we could potentially be at the beginning of another surge in Michigan. How this plays out depends on what we all do collectively to protect ourselves and our families.”

Previously, COVID tests were only required for teen sports like wrestling and swimming.

Text of the order – which takes effect in two weeks -- was not immediately available. Nor was information on how it might be applied specifically to teens in middle school, high school and club sports. A department spokesperson said there would be additional guidance issued. 

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.