Gators' Mullen Expects More COVID-19 Cases, Worried About False Positives

Zach Goodall

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Last week, the University of Florida athletic association released its weekly updated COVID-19 testing results among athletes that have returned to campus since May 26th, unveiling seven new positives including one on the football team.

RELATED: Latest Florida Gators COVID-19 testing results (9/9/20)

Speaking with the media on Monday, Mullen said that he anticipates more positive results to come in Tuesday's update, claiming that the football team is seeing a minor spike that should have been expected as students returned to campus for the fall semester.

One issue that has come along with the spike, however, is figuring out how genuine it is. Mullen stated that the team has identified some false positive tests since last week.

"We'll have a couple more guys that have tested positive," Mullen said on Monday. 

"We've also, right now, I think we might have some false positives that we've identified. That’s a huge concern, you know, you have these asymptomatic guys with multiple negative tests that, you know, they had one that was a false positive come back, some false positives come back. I don’t think that will be reflected in the numbers you get but we’re working very closely with all our local health officials."

Prior to the reported positive last week, Florida football had remained COVID-19-free since an outbreak occurred in late June that was controlled and extinguished as mandatory workouts got underway on July 14th.

With less than two weeks until the Gators travel to Oxford, Mississippi to face Ole Miss in their 2020 season opener on September 26th, Mullen is optimistic that the current spike in cases is minor and noted that these quarantines haven't hurt the program's outlook as a whole.

"You have guys having to quarantine, you have guys having to isolate," said Mullen. "The program as a whole has continued to move forward. It probably hurts a little bit more on individual growth with each person that we've dealt with throughout the whole time."

Mullen has said since fall camp began that the university had created a safe environment to practice and play football, alluding the UF's ability to keep COVID-19 out of the training regimen that began in July. He still feels the same way. 

 "I give a lot of credit to our players," said Mullen. "They've done an amazing job.

"I think any time you infuse, whatever, 50,000 students onto campus you're going to have a spike," he continued. "Our guys, we have a minor one, but when you look at the numbers, if you take out the false positives, I can't get into the specifics of all that, there's legal issues with those. I think I give our guys a lot of credit for what they've been able to do and continue to do moving forward."