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When could we know if Terps’ COVID outbreak has affected Penn State?

Photo by Maryland Athletics

Maryland’s COVID outbreak has led the Terps to pause football activities and to cancel Saturday’s game against Ohio State.

In the past seven days, a total of eight Maryland football have tested positive, according to information from the school.

Since Penn State just played Maryland four days ago, the question comes up of whether the Nittany Lions should be concerned about transmission and/or possibly having to worry about if this week’s game at Nebraska can be played.

No one knows for sure, and only time will tell if Penn State will be dealing with its own COVID outbreak. The football players and coaches undergo daily testing, and that has taken place since the Maryland game, as well.

When can we expect to possibly know more about the tests and if Penn State will or will not be in the clear?

“The window on Penn State would be 2-5 days after the contact with the Maryland players,” Ray Eckenrode said on “Sports Central with Cory Giger” on Wednesday. “So if you’re looking for a window of concern, it probably started (Monday) and will run roughly probably though Friday; Saturday to be safe.”

Eckenrode has compiled a mountain of research on COVID cases since the pandemic began, from hospitalizations to deaths to daily outbreaks. He’s an amateur researcher, but has posted vast amounts of data on Twitter for months.

Eckenrode also is an NFL fan and has closely studied how COVID has spread throughout the league this season.

“As we’ve learned about this thing, the thinking of the CDC and everyone has evolved, but our original window on cases was a much broader one, like 2-13 or 14 days for symptoms to come up,” Eckenrode said. “They’ve narrowed that down to 2-5 days of primary concern, but there’s certainly concern outside that window.”

When it comes to daily testing, the tests that Penn State players receive Thursday could be the most revealing, Eckenrode said.

“The Thursday tests that come back Friday would be a fifth day, and I would think that would be a major window of concern,” he added.

When it comes to football, with NFL protocols, the concern has been centered around players who are within six feet for 15 minutes or more of opposing players who eventually test positive.

“When the Steelers players were identified, those were players that were probably within six feet of the person for 15 minutes or more,” Eckenrode said. “That’s probably the criteria they use to say this person’s a close contact.”

PSU’s weekly COVID results

Penn State released its weekly COVID testing results Wednesday, from tests administered for the period of Oct. 31 to Nov. 6. That’s before PSU played Maryland on Nov. 7.

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Penn State had six positive results out of 2,285 tests given. That number is down from 11 last week and 13 the week before that.

 

Here’s information from Maryland’s press release about its COVID outbreak:

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Maryland Football will pause all team-related activities due to an elevated number of COVID-19 cases within the Terrapin’s program. The Ohio State game scheduled for Saturday, November 14 has been canceled and will not be rescheduled.

The joint decision to pause football activities and cancel Saturday’s game was made by Director of Athletics Damon Evans and University of Maryland President Darryll Pines, following a recommendation from University health officials, and in consultation with the Big Ten Conference. Over the past seven days, eight football players have tested positive for COVID-19.

“There is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” Evans said. “We realize that this news is disappointing to all of the Maryland fans out there who were looking forward to the Terps taking on an outstanding Ohio State team, but the responsible thing for us to do is pause football activities, given the number of positive cases currently in our program.”

“We’re obviously extremely disappointed that we’ll be unable to host Ohio State this Saturday,” said head coach Michael Locksley. “It was an opportunity that our team was preparing for and excited about. However, we have and always will keep our players, coaches and staffs safety at the forefront of our decision making process. We’ll continue to operate as much as we can virtually as we monitor the situation in hopes of returning to play when it’s deemed safe.”

Maryland Athletics Testing Update
Between September 30 and November 10, 2020, 1,510 on-campus PCR screening tests have been conducted for student-athletes across all sports. A total of 10 student-athletes have tested positive.

Cumulative results of all athletics testing to date:

  • 5,333 tests
  • 120 positive results

As part of the Big Ten Conference protocols, football student-athletes began testing daily on September 30 and men’s and women’s basketball teams began testing daily on October 26. All other student-athletes will continue to be tested weekly. In order to protect the privacy of those student-athletes who test positive, Maryland Athletics will continue to publicly release the aggregate number of positive tests at regular intervals.

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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