NFL extends protocols for teams exposed to COVID-19

The NFL implemented a series of augmented protocols Thursday for teams after being exposed to the COVID-19 virus as it navigates an outbreak between the Tennessee Titans and the possible transmission of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings, who have yet to produce a positive test result after playing the Titans last Sunday, used the protocol after reopening their facility and practicing Thursday.

The augmented protocol includes two daily tests; One is a traditional PCR (nasal swab) test and the other is a POC (point of care) test that produces rapid results. All Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees must perform a negative test on the POC test before entering the facility.

PPE and face masks should also be worn by all players and coaches on the practice field and gloves except for the quarterback on their throwing hand. All meetings must be virtual and there will also be daily deep cleaning of the facility. The protocol also includes a ban on team or player congregation away from the facility.

NFL Chief Medical Officer Alan Sills will determine whether or not the post-exposure protocol should be followed. Whether they were exposed or not, all NFL employees were urged by the memo to “act as if everyone you come in contact with has COVID infection and takes appropriate precautions.”

On Monday, several Las Vegas Raiders appeared on a fundraising event on Monday hosted by raider Darren Waller at a country club in the Las Vegas suburb. Players were seen on video at the indoor event without masks and interacting with guests who did not even wear masks. The league said it was watching the incident, and the players have apologized.

A total of 13 Titans employees, including six players, have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week. The Titans’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed to Sunday and will be remodeled later this season.