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Coronavirus: USTA confirms positive test at US Open site

The first positive coronavirus case at Flushing Meadows has been confirmed just days before the start of the Western & Southern Open.

The USTA National Tennis Center has had its first positive coronavirus case ahead of the Western & Southern Open and US Open events.

An individual who is not a player has tested positive, is asymptomatic and must isolate for at least 10 days, with a contact tracing process now initiated.

There have been 1,400 tests administered on those within the bubble since August 13, and only one positive test.

“The USTA has worked with the ATP Tour and WTA Tour to create a controlled environment for the 2020 Western & Southern Open and US Open,” read a USTA statement on Tuesday.

“The USTA, together with its medical advisors and infectious disease specialist from the Mount Sinai Health System, confirmed a positive test result for an individual. In accordance with New York State Department of Health requirements, and in alignment with CDC guidelines and the Tournament health and safety protocols, the individual has been advised that they must isolate for at least 10 days.

“In addition, contact tracing has been initiated to determine if anyone must quarantine for 14 days.”

According to the tournament, the person who tested positive did so after a second test. Players and their teams must take a Covid-19 test immediately upon arrival at their lodging, and then again in 48 hours.

“Our protocol actually requires everybody gets tested at least twice 48 hours apart,” stated Dr. Bernard Camins, medical director for infection prevention for the Mt. Sinai Health System. “When they actually come and check into the hotel, they are tested first, they go to their rooms, and they do not leave the room until they are cleared with a first negative test.

To account for the incubation period of two to four days, we are repeating, in case they did get exposed during their trip, we are requiring that everybody undergoes a second test. In this situation it was the second test that was positive. So based on New York State Department of Health regulations, because the person, even though asymptomatic, is considered infected, now has to quarantine for at least 10 days. If they develop symptoms after diagnosis, then that 10-day period will get longer.”

The Western & Southern Open, usually held in Cincinnati, begins at the New York site this week, followed by the US Open on August 31.

Multiple high-profile players have withdrawn from what will be the second grand slam event of the year, amid the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Rafael Nadal - US OpenThe defending champions of both draws, Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu, are not playing, although Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are among the stars who do plan to participate.

USTA CEO Mike Dowse said he understood and supported the decisions of those who have chosen not to attend, and added that he was pleased about how the current field has shaped up.

“As far as our field, in context of the times and how different the world is, I couldn’t be happier,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday morning. “It’s exceeded our expectations. As I mentioned earlier in our opening statement, on the women’s side we have 10 former Grand Slam champions and seven former No 1s, 81 of the top 100 players. On the men’s side we have seven of the top 10 players in the world playing, eight former Grand Slam finalists, 90 of the top 100 men playing.”

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