Massive coronavirus outbreak envelopes Rutgers football team

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The number of COVID-19 cases linked to the Rutgers University football team has nearly doubled from 15 to 28 players, plus several staff, three people with knowledge of the situation told NJ on Monday evening Advance Media.

The three people requested anonymity as they were not allowed to speak publicly about the situation. Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs and Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano were unavailable for comment Monday night.

There are several players with symptoms largely associated with the coronavirus, including fevers, headaches and sore throats, two people said. There are also many asymptomatic players after testing positive last week, two people said.

Rutgers football players returned for voluntary training on June 15. Two players tested positive in the first round of tests administered to the team in mid-June, then two more players tested positive at various stages of the school’s testing program in early July, officials said. from school told me.

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On July 25, NJ Advance Media first announced that the program was halting training after six more players tested positive during its testing cycle. Judith Persichilli, the state’s health commissioner, said on July 29 that the total of Rutgers players who tested positive had risen to 15, and she blamed the outbreak on a party attended by Rutgers athletes.

Since the outbreak began in late July, players have been tested every other day and the school has taken the initiative to transfer the entire team to a dormitory on campus to quarantine them, said two of the three people.

Coaches and support staff deliver meals, snacks and nutritional supplements to players, two people said.

One person told NJ Advance Media that Schiano had at least three video conference calls with the players’ parents to discuss protocols and the school’s COVID-19 outbreak. The message Schiano delivered, the person said, is that the school has the best Big Ten testing program and that they are working with health officials to follow the protocols the state has in place to. deal with the pandemic.

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The players are currently in isolation until August 8, a day after the NCAA allows training camps to open across the country. The Big Ten have yet to determine when they will allow their member schools to open camps, but a decision and a revised conference schedule just for the season is expected to be released on Tuesday.

The Rutgers shutdown came two days after the NCAA’s two-week pre-camp period began, so it’s unclear when the Scarlet Knights would be able to start camp regardless of any conference tenure.

(Editor of NJ Advance Media James kratch contributed to this report.)

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Keith Sargeant can be reached at [email protected].

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