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NC State opponent Liberty’s coach says it hasn’t been testing for coronavirus recently

N.C. State’s plus one is in the news again.

Damien Sordelett, who covers Liberty for the News Advance, posted a tweet that said the program has not had a positive COVID-19 test in three weeks. That’s the good news. The alarming news is what Sordelett tweeted what Flames coach Hugh Freeze said next.

“The screenings in the past two weeks haven’t necessitated any tests because players are not showing symptoms” Freeze said according to Sordelett’s tweet.

It’s possible that COVID-19 carriers can be asymptomatic and have the disease and not show symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms include fever, headache, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches and loss of taste and smell.

John Hopkins University put out a newsletter in May saying that 50 percent of people who have COVID-19 show no symptoms.

Liberty is scheduled to play at N.C. State on Nov. 21. The ACC released a revamped schedule last month, allowing each member school to play 10 conference games, plus one out of conference opponent. All ACC schools had to play the non-conference game in its home state and the visiting school is required to follow protocols set by the league.

One of those protocols is that team members (coaches, athletes, staff) should be tested each week, beginning with the week of first competition against an opposing team. The ACC protocol also states that teams should test three calendar days ahead of a game. The Wolfpack and Flames are scheduled to play on a Saturday, which means both teams are required to test on the Wednesday before. So, even though it is not testing at this point, it does not seem that Liberty is breaking the ACC protocol, at this point.

Fred Demarest, senior AD for communications at N.C. State, told the News & Observer last week that members of the Wolfpack team have been tested weekly. Liberty is scheduled to play three ACC opponents — N.C. State, Syracuse, Virginia Tech — in 2020.

“The ACC has clear testing protocols in place,” Demarest told the N&O in a text message Saturday morning. “We have communicated those protocols and expectations with Liberty if this game is to occur.”

Syracuse is the first ACC team Liberty is scheduled to play, on Oct. 17 in New York. Saturday afternoon Syracuse AD John Wildhack put out a statement regarding the Orange playing the Flames.

“Coach Freeze’s comments describing Liberty’s inadequate approach to COVID-19 testing are deeply troubling, and pose a threat to the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” Wildhack said. “The ACC has very clear testing protocols in place that all scheduled non-conference opponents must adhere to. Syracuse Athletics refuses to put the members of our football program or our campus community in a position that could potentially compromise the rigorous public health and safety strategy we have put into place.”

N.C. State released updated COVID-19 results on Friday. The Wolfpack have now administered 1,360 tests to student-athletes, coaches and staff since June, with eight total positive results. That number represents an additional 765 test since their most recent update with just one positive result. N.C. State won’t release which athlete, coach or staff member tested positive.

While major conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12 have already postponed fall sports, the ACC is still moving forward with expectations of playing.

Last week Cameron Wolfe, chairman of the ACC’s medical advisory team, told the Sports Business Daily that he believes football can be played this season and be done so safely.

Wolfe, a Duke infectious disease specialist, expects the conference to try and play. Wolfe’s confidence comes from all the information doctors have gathered since COVID-19 put a halt to college sports in March.

Just one more positive in latest testing

N.C. State athletics has administered another round of COVID-19 testing, with one additional positive result.

According to Fred Demarest, senior AD for communications, the Wolfpack have now administered 1,360 tests to student-athletes, coaches and staff since June, with eight total positive results. That number represents an additional 765 test since their most recent update with just one positive result.

At least 142,170 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 2,313 have died, according to state health officials.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday reported an additional 1,346 cases of COVID-19, down from 1,763 cases the day before. Thursday’s total, the highest daily count in more than a week, was still lower than the record 2,481 new cases reported in mid-July.

An additional 26 deaths were also reported Friday.

On June 2, N.C. State Athletic Director Boo Corrigan laid out a plan for student-athletes to return to campus. Members of the football and men’s and women’s basketball teams were allowed to participate in voluntary, on-campus workouts.

Before they started, the student-athletes had a physical examination and COVID-19 test. Once cleared, they were allowed to participate in workouts in small groups. Phase 2 started on June 20, with returning and incoming football players allowed into student housing.

Football players are tested weekly, Demarest told the N&O earlier this week. N.C. State won’t release which athlete, coach or staff member from what team tested positive.

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©2020 The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.)

Visit The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.) at www.heraldsun.com

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