The NFL rolled out a number of improved protocols on Thursday that teams must follow after exposure to the COVID-19 virus, as it navigates an outbreak between the Tennessee Titans and potential transmission to the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings, who have not yet returned a positive test result after playing with the Titans last Sunday, used the protocols after reopening their facility and practicing on Thursday.
Advanced protocols include two daily tests; one is the traditional PCR (nasal swab) test and the other is a POC (point of care) test which returns faster results. All Level 1 and Level 2 employees must test negative on the POC test before entering the facility.
PPE and masks must also be worn by all players and coaches on the driving range and gloves must be worn by all but the quarterbacks on the throwing hand. All meetings must be virtual and there will also be daily deep cleaning of the structure. The protocols also include a ban on gatherings of teams or players outside the facility.
NFL Chief Medical Officer Allen Sills will determine if and for how long post-exposure protocols should be followed. Regardless of whether they are exposed or not, all NFL employees were urged by the memo to “act as if every person you come in contact with has a COVID infection and take appropriate precautions.”
On Monday, several Las Vegas Raiders appeared on Monday at a fundraising event hosted by Raider Darren Waller at a country club in a Las Vegas suburb. Players were seen on video without masks during the indoor event as they talked and mingled with guests, who were also not wearing masks. The league said it was investigating the incident and the players apologized.
A total of 13 Titans employees, including six players, returned positive tests for COVID-19 last week. Sunday’s Titans game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed and will be rescheduled for the end of the season.