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MAAC: 'Persons on or near the floor' in Canisius, Niagara men's basketball games test positive for Covid-19

For the second time in three days, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference has announced that "persons on or near the floor" in regular-season games and conference tournament games in the last three weeks have tested positive for Covid-19, including games involving the Niagara and Canisius men's basketball teams.

The MAAC confirmed the news in a release Saturday morning.

In conjunction with the Collegiate Officiating Consortium, the MAAC said that "one or more persons" who tested positive for Covid-19 were involved in the Niagara-Canisius men's basketball game March 6 at Koessler Athletic Center, the Iona-Canisius and Niagara-Marist MAAC Tournament quarterfinal games March 10 at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., and the Saint Peter's-Iona MAAC Tournament quarterfinal game March 11 in Atlantic City.

The Canisius athletic department said in a statement the school was informed Tuesday that two game officials who worked the Fairfield-Manhattan MAAC tournament game prior to the Canisius-Iona game on March 10 tested positive for Covid-19. Niagara also played Marist that night in a MAAC first-round game, after Canisius-Iona.

Canisius was also notified Saturday that individuals involved in the games against Niagara and Iona tested positive for Covid-19, but a Canisius athletic department spokesperson said the names or identities of those individuals have not been shared with the school or the athletic department.

The MAAC also has not released the names of or the number of individuals who tested positive for Covid-19.

The Erie County Department of Health recommended that the Golden Griffins men’s basketball team and any staff who were present at the game March 10 enter precautionary quarantine for 14 days.

Canisius’ director of sports medicine, Andy Smith, is also doing daily check-ins with individuals who are quarantined, including student-athletes, the coaching staff, athletic department support staff and athletic administrators. As of Saturday morning, there were no known symptoms of Covid-19 among those individuals from Canisius.

"If you attended any of these events, and you have developed symptoms of Covid-19, you should contact your health care provider and isolate at home," Canisius said in the statement. "You should remain in isolation for 14 days since your symptoms began, and for 72 hours after your symptoms have resolved."

A Niagara athletic department spokesperson confirmed the MAAC's announcement, but did not know if the individuals who tested positive were on-court officials or game personnel.

Niagara was notified by the MAAC regarding individuals who tested positive for Covid-19, and its players, coaching staff and team and athletic personnel are currently self-monitoring.

Earlier in the week, Niagara coach Greg Paulus told the News that players on his team immediately went home after the MAAC Tournament. Niagara is on spring break this week, but the school has also announced that it has closed its on-campus housing and apartments until April 13, and is conducting classes online.

Canisius has also closed its residence halls and is conducting classes online.

According to the box score of the Canisius-Niagara game on March 6 at Koessler Athletic Center, the official attendance for the game was 1,805.

The Erie County Department of Health has previously advised people who think they may have been exposed to someone who has Covid-19 to self-monitor their health for symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath) during a 14-day period since initial potential exposure. Health officials have said that Covid-19 can be contagious even if carriers are asymptomatic.

The MAAC announced Wednesday that basketball officials who worked two conference tournament games on March 10 and March 11 in Atlantic City tested positive for Covid-19, and the Albany Times Union reported that two officials who worked the Siena-Manhattan game March 11 in Atlantic City tested positive for coronavirus.

The MAAC cancelled its conference tournament on March 12 in response to the outbreak, and the NCAA announced it was cancelling its national basketball tournament later that day.

The Times Union also reported that Siena's coaches, players and staff have been told to self-isolate until March 25, two weeks from the date of their possible exposure to the virus.

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