New details: SU game delayed after football team members get conflicting COVID-19 test results

Local Sports

Sep 26, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Nykeim Johnson (4) gestures while running into the end zone for a touchdown in front of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Charlie Thomas (25) during the third quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — At a briefing on Monday, the Onondaga County Executive explained to NewsChannel 9 the behind-the-scenes details about the coronavirus testing that delayed the Syracuse Orange’s home-opening football game on Saturday.

Fans watching on television Saturday were confused when the broadcasters had to fill time and did their best to explain the reason for the delay.

Kickoff in the newly-remodeled Carrier Dome happened nearly 30 minutes later.

Syracuse University’s athletic department confirmed a retest for three of its team members.

At his briefing Monday, County Executive Ryan McMahon explains that routine tests administered to players and coaches came back with conflicting results for the people eventually retested.

“You had a potential false positive because it looked like it could have been a positive result on a Wednesday. That same person tested negative on Friday and so out of an abundance of caution, we had a rapid test done before the game and that person tested negative again,” McMahon explains.

He elaborates that tests that were done Wednesday came back Friday with positive results in the case of the retested team members. Just hours later, results for Friday tests showed those same people as negative.

With conflicting results, the Onondaga County Health Department became involved and approved rapid testing for the same two or three people.

That third test, with rapid results not rapid enough to meet the Noon kickoff, confirmed the negative status.

The county executive says he was in regular touch with his deputy county executive, the county health commissioner and Syracuse University leadership.

McMahon didn’t want to speculate on what didn’t come to fruition, but said it was “highly likely if you had a positive that close to a game, that game may not have happened.”

Syracuse beat Georgia Tech, 37-20.

“Everybody got to see a good win. It worked out well,” McMahon said.


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