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OSU football: After testing positive for COVID-19, Malcolm Rodriguez spent quarantine in family camper

Oklahoma State's Malcolm Rodriguez (20) waits for a play during the college football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the McNeese State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]
Oklahoma State's Malcolm Rodriguez (20) waits for a play during the college football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the McNeese State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

WAGONER — Shanna Rodriguez knocked on the door of the fifth-wheel camper parked next to her home.

She left a plate of food on the step — probably some chicken, maybe some steamed veggies or a baked potato — and walked back to her house. Soon after, her son would emerge to collect his meal.

Oklahoma State linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez’s coronavirus quarantine wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, either.

Of the five OSU players reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 — all of whom were said to be asymptomatic — some were quarantined in on-campus housing designated specifically for that purpose.

Others, like Rodriguez, whose family home in Wagoner is just over 90 minutes from Stillwater, were allowed to go through the two-week quarantine in slightly more comfortable surroundings.

Rodriguez spent the two weeks living in his family’s camper, parked next to the house, hooked up for electricity and such. Having been exposed to him prior to his test, the family self-quarantined in the home and avoided direct contact with Malcolm.

“It’s hard to be in that situation and not be able to hug your baby,” Shanna Rodriguez said. “He was feeling like an outsider. You knock on the door and leave his meal there. It almost felt like a prisoner situation.

“I made sure he had everything he needed. I was pumping him full of vitamins, all the tried-and-true methods. I was doing my best to be mom from afar, being safe and making sure he made a full recovery.”

Malcolm never displayed any COVID-19 symptoms of any kind. In fact, his mother thought he was joking when he called to say he had tested positive upon his return to campus nearly three weeks ago.

Then reality hit.

“Panic,” Shanna said. “Fear of the unknown. You see all the other stories of the worst-case scenarios. People getting sick to the point where they’re hospitalized. Some even dying from it. This virus is ever-changing, and nobody knows what to expect.”

Malcolm was part of the second group of OSU players to report to campus in early June.

Once the positive test was confirmed, Rodriguez returned to Wagoner and settled into the camper for his two weeks of isolation.

He completed the quarantine a week ago, never showing any COVID-19 signs. That allowed for his return to OSU last Monday, where he underwent another coronavirus test, as well as an antibody test.

He was cleared Wednesday to rejoin the team for workouts in the facility.

“Malcolm is doing great,” Shanna said. “We’re just thankful to be on the other end of the spectrum, not one of the negative stories you see.”

Scott Wright

A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and... Read more ›

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