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High School Student-Athletes Caught Using Rubbing Alcohol To Cheat COVID-19 Tests

FILE: Washington County School District office.

ST. GEORGE, Utah – Officials with the Washington County School District said “a small group of students” were caught attempting to cheat mandatory COVID-19 tests before a high school football playoff game.

Steve Dunham, communications director for the Washington County School District, said the student-athletes used rubbing alcohol in an attempt to clean their nostrils before taking the tests.

“We took appropriate action and appropriate consequences, and I can confirm that the students that admitted to this will not be participating in tonight’s events at all,” Dunham said.

Dunham couldn’t specify which school the students attend, but two Washington County School District schools, Snow Canyon High and Pine View High, played each other in the state 5A football semifinals on Friday.

Pine View won the game 48-7.

Dave Heaton, Utah Public Health Department spokesman, warned against using rubbing alcohol inside the human body.

“Using rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol can actually deactivate the virus on household surfaces, but not a good idea to put inside your body in any way,” Heaton told KSL NewsRadio’s Jeff Caplan. “It’s an irritant to the mucus membranes and would do more harm than good in a situation like this.”

Dunham said the number of student-athletes involved was small, “relative to those that took the test.”

“We’ve put in place a procedure that we feel confident there will be no way students could attempt this in the future,” he added.

State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said Wednesday that 1,400 high school student-athletes and staff had been tested for the virus, and only 53 individuals had positive test results.

As Utah saw record-shattering numbers of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations this week, Dunn emphasized that if Utahns will take the precautions seriously, wear masks and limit social gatherings to a single household in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, that Utah will see an effect in lowering the spread of the virus.

Officials with the Utah Department of Health reported that 84.7% of the state’s ICU beds were full Friday. Utah’s ICU threshold is 85%.

In the 16 hospitals with the capability to provide the best care for patients with COVID-19, the ICU beds were 87% full.

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