Auburn coach Gus Malzahn talks to his team following practice Thursday. Auburn football practice, scrimmage 1, on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019 in Auburn, Ala. Todd Van Emst/AU AthleticsTodd Van Emst/AU Athletics
Three Auburn players tested positive for COVID-19 and will be quarantined before they are cleared for offseason workouts.
Auburn players reported back to campus on Thursday evening and were all tested for the coronavirus on Friday ahead of the commencement of voluntary offseason workouts, which are set to begin Monday. The three players who tested positive were all asymptomatic, a team spokesman confirmed to AL.com.
The spokesman did not identify which players tested positive, but all three will be self-isolated in quarantine in a dorm separate from the one housing the rest of the team. The players will likely remain in quarantine for approximately two weeks.
AuburnSports.com was the first to report the positive tests.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said Tuesday that a plan is in place for contact tracing involving the players who test positive for the coronavirus in order to attempt to find where the players may have contracted the disease and stamp out any potential outbreak among the team.
“(Team doctor Michael) Goodlett has done a super job of making sure that if someone tests positive, we will have a record of who’s been around, who’s in contact, and obviously they’ll be tested at the same time,” Malzahn said Tuesday. “That should help. I think the challenge will be, as we move forward and trying to get back to some kind of normal, you know, everything that goes with that. But we feel very good about our plan, especially the first seven days.”
Upon their arrival to campus on Thursday, players were limited to contact with only their respective roommates, as well as team personnel who handled check-in. Players were tested for the disease, which has killed more than 110,000 in the United States as of this weekend, and were additionally given physicals by team doctors and baseline tests by the strength and conditioning staff. When workouts begin Monday, players will be placed in groups of eight to limit contact while working with strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell, and all team meetings will continue to be held through Zoom video conferences.
The news of the three positive tests at Auburn comes just three days after several Alabama players tested positive for COVID-19 upon their return to campus. As of Sunday morning, there have been 20,166 cases of coronavirus in the state of Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health, with 688 deaths.
Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.