Daily Camera (Boulder)

BUFFS WORK OUT IN BUB­BLE,

CU will stay at Mil­len­nium Har­vest House ho­tel for at least 2 weeks

- Buf­f­zone.com By Brian How­ell Sports · Colorado · University of Colorado at Boulder · Boulder · Boulder County · Colorado Buffaloes · Quidel

The process of ad­min­is­ter­ing COVID-19 anti­gen tests to well over 100 foot­ball play­ers and staff mem­bers isn’t quick, but the Colorado Buf­faloes are mak­ing it as smooth as pos­si­ble.

On Fri­day, the CU foot­ball team con­ducted its first pre­sea­son prac­tice of the year and, as they’ll do an­other 25 times be­tween now and the Nov. 7 open­ing game, they started the day with a round of test­ing.

“I think it was maybe two hours, 15 min­utes to get ev­ery­body through,” said Miguel Rueda, CU’S di­rec­tor of health and per­for­mance.

Last month, the Pac-12 part­nered with Quidel Cor­po­ra­tion to pro­vide CU and other schools with daily, rapid-re­sults tests.

Rueda and the CU staff got the equip­ment from Quidel about 10 days ago and he said the staff has done “ex­ten­sive” train­ing on how to use the equip­ment. That train­ing in­cluded Quidel reps com­ing to CU to teach the staff, along with on­line ed­u­ca­tion. Rueda also said his peers in the con­fer­ence are in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion as they get up to speed.

“We’re still learn­ing a lot – a lot about the dis­ease, a lot about the test­ing, a lot about dif­fer­ent types of test­ing,” Rueda said. “(The staff has) be­come pretty flu­ent with it, thank God. We have some peo­ple that are re­searchers that have been do­ing test­ing across cam­pus and they’re join­ing our staff in the morn­ings to do some test­ing with our ath­letes, so we’re get­ting them up and run­ning.”

Meet­ings start around 8 or 8:30, fol­lowed by prac­tice, so the process of test­ing be­gins early. Play­ers are put into groups of 10 and

start ar­riv­ing to the fa­cil­ity at 6 a.m., with stag­gered ar­rival times.

“We’re fol­low­ing lo­cal health guide­lines on how our ath­letes are sup­posed to get to the fa­cil­ity,” Rueda said. “Some of that is coached dependent. They may want groups here to get cleared ear­lier to go ahead and do some other things, or maybe we’re let­ting some of the se­niors sleep in a lit­tle bit longer.”

The 10 mem­bers of the group are so­cially dis­tanced and staff will give each a nasal swab anti­gen test, along with do­ing an over­view of how they’re feel­ing. Af­ter the test is done, it is placed into a test tube and taken to the test­ing room. Staff has to wait 15 min­utes to process it, while those tested go to a hold­ing area to wait. When the test is pro­cessed, it takes two or three min­utes to get the re­sult, Rueda said.

“If they’re neg­a­tive, they go ahead into the fa­cil­ity and then they can start the morn­ing,” Rueda said.

If there’s a pos­i­tive test, that ath­lete or staff mem­ber will be put in quar­an­tine ei­ther at their off-cam­pus res­i­dence or, if they live on cam­pus, into an iso­la­tion dorm. Ac­cord­ing to Rueda, those who are asymp­to­matic are iso­lated for 10 days; those with symp­toms will have a longer pe­riod of iso­la­tion.

CU will also do PCR tests at var­i­ous times dur­ing the sea­son.

As CU has done tests through­out the sum­mer and fall, Rueda said any­one with symp­toms at CU has had loss of taste or smell or cold­like symp­toms, but “we haven’t seen any sig­nif­i­cant symp­toms or trou­bling is­sues.”

Head coach Karl Dor­rell was pleased with how the first day of test­ing went.

“You can’t get started on any­thing un­til you get ev­ery­body cleared to start meet­ings, and we had ev­ery­body cleared with all the test­ing we did to­day,” he said. “We al­lot­ted for the right amount of time and ev­ery­body was in the first meet­ing at eight o’clock, and ev­ery­body was cleared and ready to go.

“Ev­ery­body’s go­ing to have to go through a clear­ing mech­a­nism to make sure that they’re able to go to meet­ings and prac­tice. It’s off to a re­ally good start on the first day.”

To min­i­mize the chances of the coro­n­avirus in­fect­ing any­one or spread­ing through­out the team, the Buffs play­ers, along with 10 staff mem­bers, will spend the next two weeks stay­ing at the Mil­len­nium Har­vest House ho­tel, which is lo­cated a short walk from the fa­cil­i­ties. There will be two peo­ple as­signed to a room at the ho­tel and the play­ers will be en­cour­aged to walk, rather than drive, from the ho­tel to the fa­cil­i­ties each day. Play­ers will con­tinue to get grab-and-go meals from CU’S nu­tri­tion staff.

In two weeks, CU will work with Boul­der County Pub­lic Health to re­assess the sit­u­a­tion.

Se­nior line­backer Nate Land­man said he be­lieves stay­ing at the Har­vest House will be a ben­e­fit as the Buffs pre­pare for the sea­son.

“Be­ing a young team, I think de­vel­op­ing some team morale and some team chem­istry is a ne­ces­sity for us to be suc­cess­ful this year,” he said. “I think hav­ing that close quar­ters in­side the ho­tel will just be noth­ing but ben­e­fi­cial for us, keep­ing guys safe and, like I said, just hav­ing that time to bond and just build upon our team char­ac­ter­is­tics.”

Land­man said the staff will be strict in mon­i­tor­ing the play­ers’ ac­tiv­ity to keep them safe. Land­man and se­nior re­ceiver KD Nixon both said the team is fine with that, as they take a big pic­ture view of the sea­son ahead.

 ?? Cour­tesy photo / Univer­sity of Colorado ?? Colorado re­ceiver Daniel Arias looks to catch a pass in front of cor­ner­back Nigel Bethel dur­ing Fri­day's prac­tice.
Cour­tesy photo / Univer­sity of Colorado Colorado re­ceiver Daniel Arias looks to catch a pass in front of cor­ner­back Nigel Bethel dur­ing Fri­day's prac­tice.
 ?? Cour­tesy photo / Univer­sity of Colorado ?? Colorado head coach Karl Dor­rell watches his team's first prac­tice on Fri­day.
Cour­tesy photo / Univer­sity of Colorado Colorado head coach Karl Dor­rell watches his team's first prac­tice on Fri­day.

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