OU football: Lincoln Riley says contact tracing holds 'excruciating' for Sooners
NORMAN — OU football coach Lincoln Riley said Tuesday that a "high majority" of players held out for contact tracing never wound up testing positive for COVID-19.
According to guidelines currently in place, players who have "high-risk" contact with a person who has tested positive are subject to a 14-day quarantine.
"And then can come back and hit on another contact trace and all of the sudden, that's 28 days," Riley said. "I mean, gone. That has been difficult because not only do you do that, but then those guys obviously haven't got the virus and haven't built up any type of immunity, so they're still susceptible to hitting on a contact trace or the virus."
Most of the players who have been held out due to contact tracing are players whose roommates have tested positive.
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"We have seriously reduced our number of, I guess what you would call contact traces that we could have avoided — doing something dumb, going to a restaurant with somebody, getting into a car with somebody," Riley said. "We've really made big improvements there. But the one thing that's really difficult to get around unless you just sit there at home and wear a mask all day, which is difficult for everybody to do, is the roommate situation."
Riley said some players, though, are wearing masks when they're at their apartments if they are anywhere other than alone in their bedrooms.
"It's excruciating for the kid," Riley said of the players who are forced out due to contact tracing, so at least some of his players are taking extra precautions.
"That's been shown to be very, very effective," Riley said. "It still comes down to you've got to wear a mask when you're around anybody. It comes down to that. It's hard. It's part of it. If you want to play, you want to be around it, it's just what you've got to do."
Riley said the new rapid test, which was implemented by the Big 12 for testing the day before games, has made the window to learn results smaller but hasn't changed the outcome of contact tracing and he didn't expect contact tracing guidelines to be changed during the season.
"I think you could potentially see a situation where a state says it's only 10 days if you have two negative tests in the last few days but I still don't think guys will be eligible for competition because I know the league wants to keep it fair across the board, which makes a lot of sense."
He said results of last Friday's test were known two hours after they were administered, where for other testing, the results are known late that night or early the next morning for those tested early in the day.