Auburn’s second week of fall practice came to a halt amid positive COVID-19 test results.
After reporting consecutive weeks without a new positive coronavirus case, Auburn reported a total of nine new positive cases this week, according to trainer Gus Malzahn, resulting in a temporary break from fall camp. Auburn reported five positive cases in her tests early this week last Sunday, followed by four more positive cases in follow-up testing on Thursday.
The Tigers haven’t trained since Tuesday – previously scheduled practices for Wednesday and Thursday having been canceled, as was what was supposed to be the team’s second pre-season scrum on Saturday. Tuesday’s training saw between 16 and 18 players eliminated due to COVID-19 issues, according to Malzahn.
“We had a pretty tough week last week,” said Malzahn.
While Auburn takes every positive case seriously, Malzahn said the team has had “very few” cases with “major symptoms.”
Auburn will have at least 16 players unavailable this week due to COVID-19 issues after the team conducted the contact tracing. Malzahn did not go into details on which position groups most affected by the results, but said there were two positions held on Tuesday because staff did not feel comfortable with so many players at these posts.
“We adapt as we go,” said Malzahn. “It was difficult with the number of players on the rise, just adjusting as you go.”
Each player who has tested positive will undergo a mandatory 10-day isolation period, followed by a seven-day re-acclimatization period, according to Auburn’s coronavirus protocols. Anyone who has come in contact with a positive case, as determined by the program’s contact tracing, must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period that cannot be tested. So, while Auburn returns to the training ground this week, it could be a few weeks before the Tigers return to full strength, assuming there are no more positive test results before that. dated.
“I think it’s fair to say that I don’t think anyone really knew what to expect,” Malzahn said. “Like I said, you take it week after week. You have to adjust. It’s a learning process. I know it has been for us and our players. We will just try to improve each week. We will try to do a better job. Our players are learning too… It’s just a learning process. I believe our guys are going to do whatever they can to be healthy and keep our team healthy.
This week’s peak of cases in the program comes after the team reported just 34 total positive tests between players and staff from June 4 to the start of fall camp, the final two sets of net results from tests administered on August 13 and August. 17. At the start of the practice two weeks ago, Auburn reported a positivity rate of just 3.9 percent out of 836 COVID-19 tests in total.
According to Malzahn, Auburn’s nine new cases were not the result of a specific event, as he believes it was a combination of variables, including the return of the rest of Auburn’s students to campus, as well as some incidents in which players were absent. campus with a roommate or girlfriend.
As the team continues to work during the recent outbreak, Auburn will continue to test players twice a week – Sundays and Thursdays – until two weeks before the scheduled start of the season, when the SEC will require testing. three times per week. . The Tigers are expected to be out on Monday before resuming training on Tuesday and Wednesday. The team will leave for testing on Thursday before training again on Friday before another scrum scheduled for Saturday.
“Obviously last week we trained once,” said Malzahn. “So no matter how many we have, we’re going to continue training this week. We’ll just have to adjust as we go. If we have a small number of seat groups, we’ll just have to adjust. So that’s really going to be the name of the game in the future… And who we have out there, we’ll make the most of it.
Tom Green is an Auburn Beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on twitter @Tomas_Verde.