AUBURN — Gus Malzahn announced Wednesday that Auburn's latest round of COVID-19 testing returned another positive result, bringing the team's total to 13.
The coach said Tuesday that Auburn paused all team activities after nine players and three staff members tested positive for the coronavirus during the team's off week. The additional positive was a player.
According to SEC guidelines, anyone who tests positive must be quarantined for 10 days, then undergo a medical evaluation by a team physician before being cleared to return to the field. Those found to be in close contact with someone who tested positive must quarantine for 14 days and cannot test out.
Malzahn did not reveal an exact number of Auburn players currently in quarantine, but did say it was "about 50-50" between positive tests and contact traces. That could mean that close to 20 players are unavailable due to the virus, if not more.
The Tigers are already off Saturday after their game at Mississippi State in Starkville was postponed to Dec. 12 because of positive cases and subsequent quarantines within the Bulldogs' program. But it is worth wondering how many of those sidelined players will be able to exit quarantines in time to play in Auburn's next game against Tennessee on Nov. 21, which is just 11 days away.
"I think you got to be prepared for what you're dealing with. Things change on a day-by-day basis, so you've got to be flexible," Malzahn said. "But we have plenty of time to prepare right now. And like I said: Our No. 1 goal is to get this thing under control, and that's what we're trying to do right now, and I feel real strongly that we'll be able to do that in a short period of time."
The Volunteers are also off this week after their game against Texas A&M was postponed due to the Aggies' COVID-19 issues.
Auburn is preparing for that game with virtual meetings and film sessions while it waits for clearance from team physician Dr. Michael Goodlett to return to the practice field.
Malzahn said the program will lean on the experience it gained during preseason practice, when 11 positives led to 26 quarantines. Until this week, Auburn had not reported a positive case since Sept. 12.
"We had seven straight weeks without a positive and we played six straight games," Malzahn said. "I don't know if anyone, at the first of this thing, when it started, would've thought that. We knew there was probably going to be a week or so when we had to deal with some things, and it just happens to be this week. So it's just adjusting and getting prepared to play these last four games."