Team doctors link Irish outbreak to the weekend of USF game
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Following the news on Monday that 18 players tested positive for COVID-19, head coach Brian Kelly addressed the media on Tuesday, confirming that the outbreak was linked to a shared meal and a vomiting player during the weekend of the South Florida game.
The Irish beat the Bulls 52-0 on Sept. 19 at home before suspending all team activity on Sept. 22 due to seven positive tests that were conducted the day before. Their Sept. 26 matchup against Wake Forest was postponed until Dec. 12 as they continued to quarantine and test members of the team. Monday, the team announced an additional 18 positive tests and a total of 39 players in either quarantine or isolation.
According to Kelly, team doctors traced this outbreak back to two events during the weekend of the Bulls matchup. Prior to the game, the team had a meal together, something Kelly said was a first for the team.
“Throughout our entire time together, we had not had one meal where we sat down together. Everything was grab and go,” Kelly said. “We get into our game situation where we have a pregame meal together, and that cost us. Big. We had somebody who was asymptomatic, and it spread like wildfire throughout our meeting area where we were eating and then it got guys in contact tracing.”
During the game, one player was vomiting on the sidelines and was treated for dehydration. That player later tested positive for COVID-19.
“In trying to discern the difference between somebody who may be dehydrated in a game and having the effects of COVID on the sideline, [it] becomes very tricky,” Kelly said.
Kelly said going forward that this experience has served as a reminder of the importance to remain vigilant in public health measures at all times.
“The basic parameters of this are still in play, and you’ve got to be diligent with them, even when it’s right up to game time, and that’s the lesson we learned,” he said.
According to a Sept. 28 tweet by the team account, despite having 39 players currently in quarantine or isolation, the team has “resumed conditioning activities, and will continue to adhere to testing protocols and procedures throughout this week and the season.”