Hawkeye football Head Coach Kirk Ferentz has tested positive for COVID-19 and “will remain home until Dec. 27,” the University of Iowa Athletics Department announced in a statement on Friday morning.
According to UI Athletics, Ferentz tested positive using a rapid antigen test on Thursday morning, and the results were confirmed by a PCR test. Ferentz is asymptomatic, the department said. But Chad Leistikow reported in the Des Moines Register that “Ferentz was coughing frequently during a signing-day news conference with reporters Wednesday and again that night on his weekly radio show with host Gary Dolphin, then again on Thursday during a radio appearance on KXnO in Des Moines.”
As part of the COVID-19 protocols established in September, when the Big 10 Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted to play an abbreviated fall season five weeks after voting to cancel the season due to the pandemic, coaches, staff and players are tested on a daily basis.
UI Athletics discloses COVID-19 test results on a weekly basis. As of Dec. 13, there had been 331 positive results in the department’s testing program. The results provided to the public don’t specify whether the individuals testing positive are coaches, staff or student athletes.
Between May 29, when the testing program began, and Dec. 13, UI Athletics has reported the results of 11,853 tests.
Overall, a total of 2,799 University of Iowa students have self-reported testing positive for COVID-19 during this semester, according to an update published by the university on Wednesday. Among UI staff, there were 327 self-reported cases.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, 46 more residents of Johnson County tested positive for COVID-19 between 10 a.m. on Thursday and 10 a.m. on Friday. Since the first cases of the virus were confirmed in the county on March 8, a total of 10,522 Johnson County residents have tested positive.
Linn County has had 15,755 residents test positive for COVID-19, according to IDPH. That total includes 70 new cases added during the 24-hour period ending at 10 a.m. on Friday.
Iowa had its third straight day of almost 2,000 new cases on Friday, with IDPH reporting 1,905 new cases.
Ferentz remaining home for 10 days should not affect training for the football team. Players already had this week off, because the Hawkeyes’ final scheduled game of the season against the University of Michigan was canceled due to a large number of Wolverines testing positive for COVID-19.
The Hawkeyes finished the season with a 6-2 record, and are currently 16th in the College Football Playoffs ranking. UI anticipates receiving a post-season bowl invitation on Sunday.