Reports: COVID-19 exposure puts majority of LSU offensive linemen in quarantine

Nearly all of LSU’s offensive linemen are in quarantine because they either tested positive for COVID-19 or had “high-risk exposure” to the virus, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported Wednesday.

Per both the Advocate and The Athletic, “all but four” from the Tigers’ offensive line group are currently away from the team to observe the SEC’s COVID-19 protocols. The school, which recently saw the general student body return to campus, has not commented on the situation.

Players who test positive for the virus are required to isolate for at least 10 days and “at least 24 hours have have passed” without symptoms for isolation to end, per the SEC’s health guidelines:

Infected individuals should be isolated for at least 10 days from onset of symptoms, at least 24 hours must have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and symptom improvement (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) has occurred, in accordance with current CDC guidance in order for isolation to end. When returning from isolation, athletes will need 1) cardiac evaluation, 2) clearance from a team physician, and 3) must adhere to an appropriate period of acclimatization following the period of inactivity.

Those determined to have been in “prolonged close contact” with an infected individual — more than 15 minutes within six feet, per SEC health guidelines — are considered “high-risk” contact and must quarantine for 14 days in accordance with national guidelines. Return to activity after quarantine is allowable if “no symptoms develop while quarantined” and the person “has quarantined for the recommended time.”

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 21:  Austin Deculus #76 and Damien Lewis #68 of the LSU Tigers play against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Nearly all of LSU’s offensive linemen are in quarantine, according to multiple reports. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Back in June when the team returned to campus, the LSU football team dealt with multiple positive cases with others being placed in quarantine reportedly as a result of players “frequenting a string of nightclubs” in Baton Rouge.

LSU, the defending national champions, opened preseason practice last Monday with head coach Ed Orgeron telling reporters that “two-to-three” players were being held out of practice due to the virus. The Tigers are slated to begin their season on Sept. 26 at home against Mississippi State.

Oklahoma dealt with a similar situation earlier this month. Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley did not offer specifics, but said that nearly an entire position group was wiped out by COVID-19 at one point during preseason camp. It would be a nightmare scenario for teams if it were to happen during the season, and it’s part of the reason the start of the season was pushed back. The influx of students has predictably brought an uptick of infections on campuses around the country, and football programs are being forced to adapt.

Other programs like East Carolina, Texas Tech and NC State are also dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks.

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