As the NFL attempts to curtail its first coronavirus outbreak, it has expanded the COVID-19 protocols it already had in place.
ESPN reports that two more Tenessee Titans players have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing their team total to a combined 13 players and team personnel who have tested positive this week. In response to this disturbing news, the league is making some changes.
The enhanced protocols include two daily tests; one is the traditional PCR (nasal swab) test and the other is a POC (point of care) test that returns faster results. All Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees must test negative on the POC test before entering the facility.
PPE and face masks must also be worn by all players and coaches on the practice field and gloves must be worn by everyone except quarterbacks on their throwing hand. All meetings must be virtual and there will also be daily deep cleanings of the facility. The protocols also include a prohibition on team or player gatherings away from the facility.
Additionally, the NFL has extended its agreement with the NFL Players Association to continue daily COVID-19 testing during bye weeks and non-game days. In accordance with daily testing requirements, players and coaches will be prohibited from leaving their team’s city during bye weeks, while those exempt from testing will be subject to daily screenings and temperature checks at the team’s facilities. And for teams that have been exposed to the coronavirus, NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills will be tasked with determining how long post-exposure protocols must be in place.
Per the NFL’s memo, teams are to “act as if every person you come into contact with has a COVID infection and take appropriate precautions.”
As Donald Trump can personally attest to, the coronavirus ain’t no joke. So it’s good to see the NFL making its best efforts to get this situation under control and attempt to prevent outbreaks in the future.