We finally got some good news on a Monday!
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the NFL and NFLPA have come to an agreement on one of the biggest sticking points on the return to football: the consistency of coronavirus testing. Per Pelissero, players will be tested for the coronavirus on a daily basis through the first two weeks of training camp.
The NFL and NFLPA agreed to daily COVID-19 testing for the first 2 weeks of camp, after which they’ll look at positivity rates. If the rate drops below 5% for players and Tier 1/Tier 2 individuals, they’ll move to every other day. Important deal as talks continue on other issues.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 20, 2020
If the positivity rate among Tier 1 (players and coaches) and Tier 2 (team support staff) personnel ever drops below five percent, then the testing will decrease to every other day.
This is a huge step forward. While it’s only specifically for the first two weeks, it gives both sides some much need room to decompress with the plethora of report dates on the horizon.
Pelissero also noted that players will need more than one negative test before they are able to get inside the facilities for their team physicals and other activities. Per Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer, test results should be returned in roughly 24 hours.
According to NFL Network’s Judy Battista, if a player tests positive for the coronavirus but doesn’t show any symptoms, they are able to return to the facility just 10 days after their first positive test or if they receive two negative test results within five days of their initial test. However, the protocols will change slightly depending on how symptomatic the player is:
“If the player has a positive test and symptoms, he can return after at least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared and at least 72 hours have passed since he last experienced symptoms,” says Battista. “Players who have close contact with someone who has symptoms will be tested and isolated as soon as possible. If the test is negative, and the player continues to have no symptoms, he may return to the facility but will have increased symptom monitoring and more frequent testing.”
Contact tracing will also still be of the utmost importance. Players will be required to wear “proximity recording devices” during all team activities, whether it’s at the facility or on a trip for an away game. Per Sills, the data will “help identify which other players and staff an infected player has come in closest contact with, so that they can be tested quickly.”
Again, while this is a huge step forward for the sake of the 2020 season, the NFL and NFLPA still need to decide on how many preseason games will be played which will then allow for the rest of the offseason schedule to become a bit more concrete. Until those last few details get solidified, we can expect almost anything at this point.