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42 Wisconsin football players and staff members — 29 since Sept. 1 — test positive for COVID-19 as the Big Ten prepares for its season

MADISON, WIS. — Forty-two players and staff with the Wisconsin football team have tested positive for COVID-19 as the Big Ten makes plans to get the season started.

Public Health Madison & Dane County says the 42 people tested positive since June when athletes and staff returned to campus. Twenty-nine of the positive tests were from Sept. 1 through Sept. 15.

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Health officials in Madison and Dane County are urging fans not to gather to watch football games when the Badgers begin their season in October.

“Of course it’s disappointing that something as well-loved as gathering to watch Badger football games can’t happen this year,” Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison & Dane County, said in a statement. “But the reality is that it’s not possible to have a traditional football season without substantially increasing COVID-19 transmission. We value people’s health and lives over sports, and we hope that UW does as well.”

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The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors reversed an earlier decision to shut down all fall sports because of the coronavirus. The council voted unanimously to go ahead with the league’s 2020 football season beginning Oct. 23 or Oct. 24.

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