Pruitt discusses positive COVID-19 tests, protocols in place

    by -

    Photo by Caitlyn Jordan/RTI

    Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt spoke to the media following the Vols first fall camp practice on Monday.

    Among the topics brought up during the press conference was COVID-19 testing, as well as how the football program has handled positive tests during the offseason. According to Pruitt, several Tennessee players have tested positive for COVID-19 since returning to campus in June.

    “We have had a total of 23 guys on our team test positive (since June),” Pruitt said. “The first time we tested, we had zero. Over the period of the time we’ve been back, we’ve had 23 total.”

    For Pruitt, the positive test results came during a time when college football programs across the country were learning how to handle the virus. The third-year head coach said that the experience with players returning from their homes over the summer was a learning one.

    “There was lots of lessons for us to learn in there,” Pruitt said. “We gave our guys an eight day break around the Fourth of July, so they had a chance to go home. That was in the point in time where we thought the season was going to start on time, so we wanted to give them a chance to spend time with their family. We had some guys come back and test positive.”

    Pruitt also said that the medical protocols put in place by team doctors have been followed thoroughly since they received the positive tests results, which were solely a result of players going home. He added that contact tracing showed that none of the spread has “been within our building” and that “it’s all come from outside our building.”

    Following those protocols continue to be a point of emphasis moving forward for the players.

    “Our positivity rate is slightly under two percent (since weekly screenings began), so Dr. (Chris) Klenck and our guys have really done a nice job of exercising the protocol we have in place here and we’ve learned a lot of lessons from our team. There’s not been any contact tracing that’s been within our building. It’s all come from outside. We’ve got to do a better job when we’re out and about in public. It’s something we learned right after Fourth of July.”

    As for players that are dealing with the virus as of Monday, Pruitt says that there are a few.

    “We had a few guys that are in quarantine right now that will be back here in a couple of days,” Pruitt said.

    According to the Vols fall camp schedule, Tennessee will not practice on Tuesday, but will be back out on the practice field on Wednesday.