What does positive COVID-19 case mean for USC football vs. Colorado?

USC football head coach Clay Helton. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
USC football head coach Clay Helton. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

A COVID-19 positive within USC football has the Colorado game in jeopardy

The coronavirus has finally infiltrated USC football’s COVID-19 prevention protocols.

One USC football player tested positive on Monday, is symptomatic and is currently in quarantine, the Trojans reported on Tuesday.

No other players have tested positive since Sunday, according to Clay Helton. However, the unnamed player traveled with the team to Utah, which means contact tracing could be a concern.

Is USC football’s game with Colorado now in doubt?

There should be serious concern about USC’s ability to play this coming Saturday against Colorado at the Coliseum. Frankly, the timing couldn’t be worse ahead of the game that may very well decide the Pac-2 South.

Los Angeles is on the verge of reinstituting a stay-at-home order. Officials have already shut down in-person dining with cases rising in the city.

The question for USC is whether the city will be stringent with their contact tracing and other regulations related to playing a game in Los Angeles.

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News pointed out the difficulty in guessing which way things will go.

The difference between UCLA’s positive and USC’s was the travel. A positive so soon after the Trojans got on an airplane together is worrying. Theoretically, a player who tested negative in the lead-up to that travel wouldn’t have been contagious but that’s far from a foolproof assumption.

It may not be as simple as hoping for limited contact tracing within a position group.

USC practiced on Sunday and Monday without the quarantined player.

It will all come down to the extent of contact tracing, which is in the hands of LA County health officials.

MORE: Studs and duds vs. Utah

If USC is lucky, the one positive case will be an isolated incident and negative tests across the week will convince health officials they have no reason for concern over a game being held.

Still, it may be time to start mentally preparing for a cancelation this weekend. It’s well within the possibilities.

As Ryan Kartje of the Los Angeles Times detailed, contact tracing guidelines may not be kind to USC. Close contacts are supposed to isolate for 14 days. A close contact is defined as “someone within six feet of proximity for more than 15 minutes” starting from two days prior to the onset of illness or a positive test.

That’s going to cut it very close for the Trojans.

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