The NFL implemented a series of advanced protocols Thursday for teams to follow after exposure to the COVID-19 virus as it navigates into a hearth among the Titans in Tennessee and potentially betrays the Vikings in Minnesota.
The Vikings, who have not yet returned a positive test result after playing the Titans last Sunday, used the protocols after reopening their facility and training on Thursday.
Improved protocols include two daily tests; one is the traditional PCR (nasal swab) test and the other is the POC (point of care) test, which returns faster results. All Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees must test negative in the POC test before entering the facility.
PPE and face masks must also be worn by all players and coaches on the training field, and gloves must be worn by all but a quarterback on their throwing arm. All meetings must be virtual and there will be daily deep cleanings of the facility. The protocols also include a ban on gathering teams or players away from the facility.
NFL Chief Medical Officer Alan Sils will determine if and for how long post-exposure protocols should be followed. Whether exposed or not, all NFL employees are encouraged in the note to “act as if everyone you come in contact with has a COVID infection and take appropriate precautions.”
On Monday, several athletes in Las Vegas appeared at a fundraising event on Monday hosted by Raider Darren Waller at a country club in a Las Vegas suburb. Players were seen on video without masks at the indoor event as they talked and mingled with guests who also did not wear masks. The league said it was looking into the incident and the players apologized.
A total of 13 Titans employees, including six players, have returned positive tests for COVID-19 in the past week. The Titans’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday has been postponed and will be rescheduled for later this season.