University of Georgia football coach Kirby Smart said his program currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases it’s had since the pandemic began to impact college sports at the end of the 2019-20 school year.
“I think there’s this relief where (people) feel like everything’s back to normal, but it’s really just not for us,” Smart said Monday, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Because we have the most (COVID cases) we’ve had right now.
“I’ll be honest with you guys, I’m as concerned as I’ve ever been. For us, we’re at our highest spike. People are talking about vaccinations, well, these are people who have been vaccinated. We’re talking about breakthroughs. So that concerns you not only for the players on your team that are unvaccinated that are playing and not playing — because we want everybody to be safe — but it concerns me for the players that are vaccinated. We could lose one.”
Georgia football had reported in August that its vaccination rate for players and full-time staffers was “over 90 percent.” Georgia trainer and executive associate athletic director for sports medicine Ron Courson tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 1. Smart said that three or four unidentified players, as well as “a couple” staff members have also tested positive.
Smart’s press conference came two days after the Bulldogs opened the season with a 10-3 win over Clemson at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The Bulldogs are scheduled to host UAB on Saturday in the first full-capacity, mask-free game at Sanford Stadium since Nov. 23, 2019. The stadium in Athens seats a capacity of 92,746.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the University of Georgia’s COVID-19 website reported 457 positive tests the week before Labor Day, which was nearly double the 231 positive tests the previous week.