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US women’s gym alternative has COVID

TOKYO – Kara Eaker, a vice-president of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, tested positive for COVID-19 at an Olympic training camp in Japan.

Al Fong, Eaker and Leanne Wong’s personal trainer, confirmed the positive test in an email to The Associated Press on Monday. Fong said 18-year-old Eaker was vaccinated against COVID-19 two months ago.

Both Eaker and Wong were isolated.

USA Gymnastics did not identify Eaker or Wong, but said in a statement that the athlete who tested positive and another alternate would be subject to additional quarantine restrictions.

“Accordingly, the Olympic athletes moved to separate accommodations and a separate training facility on Monday as originally planned and will continue their preparations for the games,” said a statement from the organization. “The entire delegation remains vigilant and will adhere to strict protocols while in Tokyo.”

The positive test was the latest in a growing series of daily reports from athletes and others who tested positive at the Olympics postponed by the pandemic. Eaker is the first American to test positive after arriving in Japan.

“The health and safety of our athletes, trainers and employees is our top priority. We can confirm that an alternate women’s gymnastics team tested positive for COVID-19, “the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a statement. “In accordance with local rules and protocols, the athlete was taken to a hotel for quarantine. Out of respect for individual privacy, we are currently unable to provide any further information.”

The four deputies – Eaker, Wong, Kayla DiCello and Emma Malabuyo – traveled to Japan with the six-member US delegation of World and Olympic Champion Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee, MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey.

The positive test came after Eaker received what was described as a “false positive” over the weekend. Eaker took a subsequent test that came back negative before testing positive multiple times.

Biles and the rest of the regular team were vaccinated. Skinner, who got the team “plus one” after Olympic trials – meaning she can compete as an individual in Tokyo – had both COVID-19 and pneumonia last winter.

Alternates have had rooms with other alternates since arriving in Japan, with the competitive teams living with other competitors. All Olympic athletes and coaches have moved to their own rooms since the positive test, and the Olympic athletes are also moving to a new hotel, as originally planned.

The games will open on Friday with the current state of emergency in Tokyo, which means almost all venues will be fanless as new cases increase in the capital. Japanese authorities said Monday that 21.6% of the country’s 126 million residents are fully vaccinated.

The women’s gymnastics team starts on Sunday.

U.S. officials said the test took place while the team was training in Inzai City just outside Tokyo. Team members arrived at the camp at Narita Airport last week to a great noise.

The Tokyo city government reported 727 new cases in the capital on Monday. It’s the 30th day in a row that cases were higher than the previous week. Last Monday there were 502 cases.

The total number of game-related infections was officially 58 since July 1, before the two new cases (Eaker and a Czech beach volleyball player) were announced. They should be included in the official balance sheet on Tuesday.

These resulted from 22,000 people arriving in Japan since July 1, of whom 4,000 stayed in the village, said Pierre Ducrey, the Olympic Games operations director. Around 11,000 athletes are expected to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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