Cal players reportedly submitted multiple negative tests but denied travel to Arizona by City of Berkeley
A PR nightmare gets even deeper.
Cal’s 10-3 loss to winless Arizona was a disaster in every sense of the word for the Bears. The biggest culprit were the dozens of Cal players who were not allowed to make the trip due to COVID protocol, including quarterback Chase Garbers.
And it sounds like the worse is yet to come.
Larry Beil of ABC7 filed a report that there were Cal players in that isolated cohort left in Berkeley that subsequently tested negative prior to the team’s departure from Arizona (the entire team was tested after several positives triggered a city-ordered team test). But those players were still not allowed to make the trip.
(this is the only video we could find online).
Apparently multiple Cal players had filed multiple negative tests, but they were not accepted by The City of Berkeley, who currently holds jursidiction on all major health decisions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cal players believe protocols were changed on the fly—that the initial understanding was that negative tests from vaccinated players would lead to an immediate release.
But the Berkeley Health Department decided otherwise. The likeliest explanation is in the following Berkeley Health Order:
Individuals may end self-quarantine after day 7 if a negative diagnostic specimen is collected after day 5 from the date of last exposure.
However, this Order only applies to the unvaccinated. The Cal football team is currently 99% vaccinated. There is no way the entire 24-player cohort is unvaccinated. There are far fewer restrictions on the vaccinated.
From the same health order.
A vaccinated person with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 is not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:
a. The person is fully vaccinated before the exposure; and
b. The person exhibits no symptoms of COVID-19
Likely this is where the dissonance is coming in. Cal players were subject to COVID protocols for the unvaccinated when their entire team is reportedly vaccinated.
However, it’s possible that due to the unique nature of this situation (a large group of previously COVID-positive individuals travelling by bus and plane to another state, with the added risk of infecting another large group of individuals), the City of Berkeley overruled their general public orders for citizens and applied another set of rules on the fly.
It doesn’t seem like the communication was great between all sides though. Cal football parents are reportedly very upset. It sounds as if there will be more details coming later in the week.
Justin Wilcox did not look pleased in his postgame press conference, saying the reason Cal players were not allowed to travel to Tucson was "a City of Berkeley decision”. Wilcox said this wasn’t the time to elaborate on the decision any further.
Changing public policy on the fly despite no medium term factors changing is bad public policy. Sows distrust in people because it communicates that regardless of what is written executive can change implementation on a whim.
How does the city of Berkeley have authority to prevent its residents from traveling?
I can see how they might legally be able to shut down a game at Memorial, but forced lockdowns of citizens who have multiple negative tests? Complete bullshit; Knowlton should have pulled an Elon Musk and told the city to fuck off.