Dozens of Rutgers football players now positive for COVID-19, report says
NEW BRUNSWICK – More than two dozen individuals connected to the Rutgers football have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report.
Rutgers confirmed on July 27 that it paused its football program and quarantined the entire team after 10 individuals who were part of the team organization tested positive during pre-season training on campus.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, last Wednesday during Gov. Phil Murphy's coronavirus briefing, said 15 football players had tested positive after attending a campus party.
NJ.com, citing three unnamed sources close to the team, reported that as of this week 28 players as well as multiple staff members have tested positive. The sources told NJ.com that the entire team is quarantined in an on-campus facility and coaches and staff are bringing meals to players.
Head coach Greg Schiano told parents in at least three video conferences that Rutgers had the best COVID-19 testing program among Big 10 football programs, according to the report.
Gov. Phil Murphy during a briefing about Tropical Storm Isaias on Tuesday morning said that the outbreak "was not related to athletic activity."
"In other words, it was outside the line of their preseason preparations," Murphy said, adding that he wasn't aware of many of the details about the Rutgers situation.
Murphy recently allowed contact sports to resume in New Jersey, with certain safety precautions for those involved.
"I'll bet you a buck they were related to indoor closely congregated activities that didn't have a lot of face coverings. You're seeing that fallout in Major League Baseball, you're seeing that in house parties in my Middletown or LBI," Murphy said.
Murphy noted the Last Dance high school baseball tournament did not have any positive COVID-19 cases, and said he is still comfortable with the Scarlet Knights playing football although travel to and from novel coronavirus hotspot states presents a challenge.
Rutgers athletic department spokesman Hasim Philips has not yet responded to our request for more information.