Tigers shift focus to 'Bama amid 7 positive cases
Less than two weeks away from Missouri’s season opener against No. 2 Alabama, the Tigers have seven positive cases of the coronavirus on the team.
Tigers head football coach Eli Drinkwitz provided that update during a Zoom call with reporters.
That number is three more than the case total reported last week by Drinkwitz, who will make his MU coaching debut against the Crimson Tide. Fourteen players were out of practice last Tuesday because of COVID-19 cases and contact tracing. It is unclear how many players are not participating in practice this week.
Any player who tests positive or is exposed as a close contact to the virus from now on would have to miss at least one game because of protocols set by the Southeastern Conference’s Medical Guidance Task Force.
The league’s third-party COVID-19 testing takes effect this week on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. All of the Tigers’ games are slated for Saturdays.
“Every time you test, you’re going to have to deal with the results. I think we’ve been kind of handling it,” Drinkwitz said last week. “... We anticipated this would be the case with students back on campus and just kind of the way this thing is operating. I think our guys are still trying to do a really good job of practicing safe social distancing and trying to do the very best they can not to catch it or spread it.
“But we have a lot of guys who live together. Anytime one of them gets it, the rest of them are going to be quarantined. ... We’ve all got to do our part.”
Boone County’s latest update indicates 638 active confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 15 people currently hospitalized because of the virus. An additional 1,170 people are quarantining after coming in contact with someone who tested positive.
MU is currently reporting 387 active student cases, or 1.4% of the student body, with 927 students recovering from positive cases.
Last week at this time, Mizzou had 635 active cases, or 2.4% of the student body.
The downward trend is a good sign for the overall health of the student body, but still concerning for a campus that will allow up to 25% capacity next Saturday at Memorial Stadium, which holds more than 62,000.
Acclimation for Alabama
Drinkwitz said Saturday was the team’s last specified day of fall camp, with direct preparation for the Crimson Tide beginning this week.
Alabama moved up one spot in the latest Associated Press poll despite being idle. Ohio State dropped out of the rankings because of the Big Ten Conference’s decision to not play football this fall.
The only team ranked ahead of Alabama is Clemson, with No. 4 Georgia, No. 5 Florida and No. 6 LSU all featured on Missouri’s 2020 schedule.
The Tigers’ schedule doesn’t ease up from there, with No. 15 Tennessee and No. 23 Kentucky also on the docket.
Mississippi State received 14 points in the poll, with Missouri picking up only three.