A U.S. Olympic alternate for the women’s team has tested positive for COVID-19.

Coach Al Fong confirmed that Kara Eaker “tested posted for the coronavirus Sunday and began a 14-day quarantine.” He added that she “feels fine.” Last month, in a video call with the media, Eaker said she had been vaccinated. Fong also confirmed that Leanne Wong is also under quarantine because she is considered a close contact. She is expected to remain in quarantine until about July 31. Wong, who is 17, said at Olympic Trials that she has not been vaccinated.

Inside Gymnastics reached out to USA Gymnastics and received the following statement prefaced with: “Unless otherwise noted, these protocols have been in effect since the delegation arrived. Additionally, Olympic athletes are now separated from replacement athletes, as originally planned.”

Statement attributable to USA Gymnastics 

“One of the replacement athletes for the women’s artistic gymnastics team received a positive COVID test on Sunday, July 18. After reviewing the implemented COVID protocols with members of the delegation, the local government determined that the affected replacement athlete and one other replacement athlete would be subject to additional quarantine restrictions. Accordingly, on Monday, the Olympic athletes moved to separate lodging accommodations and a separate training facility, as originally planned, and will continue their preparation for the Games. The entire delegation continues to be vigilant and will maintain strict protocols while they are in Tokyo.”

Tokyo COVID protocol background  

  • At the training facility/accommodations, Japanese COVID Chaperones oversaw delegation movement from hotel room floor to dining room, to the bus, to the training site, everywhere the delegation traveled.  
  • The delegation was not allowed outside the hotel grounds and was kept away from hotel guests via different pathways through the hotel. 
  • Until now, replacement athletes and coaches were training in the same facility as competitors, but were in separate groups during training. They lined up, warmed up, and trained in two separate groups. Coaches wore masks at all times and athletes maintained social distancing when possible.  
  • The delegation had designated restrooms not utilized by anyone else in the training facility.  
  • Replacement athletes were rooming with other replacement athletes, and competitors were sharing with competitors; however, since the positive test, all Olympic athletes and coaches now have their own rooms. Olympic athletes are in a new hotel (as had been planned).
  • Dining has been in a private dining room, with everyone seated six feet apart, facing the same direction. Prior to separating, team athletes and coaches sat on one side of the dining room while replacement athletes and coaches sat on the other. Gloves have been required when getting food/drink, and masks have been required except when eating. These protocols will continue for Games athletes in Tokyo; however, remaining replacement athletes will eat in separate rooms.
  • Athletes sit one per row or with their roommate on the bus, masked. Prior to separating, team athletes and coaches sat toward the front of the bus while replacement athletes and coaches sat toward the back.  
  • The athlete recovery center has a max of two athletes allowed in at one time, fully masked, and proper sanitation measures are adhered to between each treatment.  
  • COVID saliva tests are collected every morning from all delegation members. Health assessments are completed by all delegation members each morning. Temperatures are taken and recorded every morning.  
  • All delegation members wear masks at all times at the hotel, on the bus, and at the training facility unless they are in their room, eating, or athletes actively training. 
  • Proper hand washing and sanitizing occurs at all venues. 

Inside Gymnastics will continue to update this developing story.

Photo by Lloyd Smith for Inside Gymnastics

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