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Notre Dame Football

Rob Hunt | Notre Dame Families Unlikely To Have Played Role In Outbreak

October 2, 2020

Rob Hunt acknowledges there were areas where the Notre Dame football program may have gotten “a little loose,” which could have contributed to last week’s COVID-19 outbreak within the team, which caused the postponement of a game against Wake Forest and the Irish head football trainer athletic trainer says those areas will be tightened up moving forward.

“I think there's a component of our testing regimen that makes people feel comfortable with a negative test,” Hunt said during a call with members of the media on Thursday. “I think what we're realizing in this current situation is that a negative test on Friday doesn't necessarily mean that you're completely negative from the standpoint of clearing, you should maintain the protocols that are clearly established.

“A negative test doesn't mean that you're necessarily free and clear from the virus at that point. It just might mean you had a viral load that was low enough, that didn't test positive. We're going to tighten those pieces up and have strict adherence to the policies and procedures that we had prior to this outbreak.”

While the program underwent an extensive investigation as to what caused the outbreak, it doesn’t appear to be linked to the presence of friends and families coming in from out of town for the season’s first two games against Duke and South Florida.

After such encouraging results in the summer, Hunt acknowledged the introduction of outsiders was concerning to him.

“The word bubble is often overused,” Hunt said. “I think the only bubble that's actually out there is the NBA, but certainly our closed environment. We're bringing people from the outside.

“Looking back now over the last two weeks, or the last two games that we had, I'm not sure that the families were in any part of that source or part of that cause of where we're at today. Certainly, it's a possibility, but our contact tracing teams have dug deep into this.”

Following the opener, families were encouraged to follow protocols with regard testing and social distancing, but Hunt said none of the families showed any symptoms before or after the outbreak or had any positive tests.

“So, I'm not sure that that's a reasonable explanation. It's an easy one. It's an easy one to say that that's the problem, but it's probably not reality in terms of what we're doing there."

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