NFL Updates Covid Protocols As Virus Disrupts Game Schedules

The new NFL protocol, a copy of which was obtained by CNN, does not call for testing asymptomatic and fully vaccinated players, coaches and other staff in close contact with players – a change from previous rules, which required weekly testing of all fully immunized people.

Instead, asymptomatic vaccinated staff will now undergo what the league calls “strategic and targeted” testing and can choose to undergo voluntary testing as often as they wish.

Players will also receive Home Test Kits for their own use and that of fellow residents.

In a statement, the league and its player association said they were working with medical advisers to deal with the new Omicron variant and how to stop the spread of the virus “to keep everyone safe and to finish the rest of the season responsibly. “

“After this weekend’s games, we have agreed to implement a new set of protocols, which will include a more focused test plan, more flexibility for players to virtually attend meetings and also an option to opt out of meetings. high risk players for the remainder of the season, “the statement added.

All individuals will undergo “rigorous symptom screening” before entering team facilities, according to league protocol.

Fully vaccinated individuals who show symptoms should isolate themselves from other staff and produce a negative test result before being allowed to enter team facilities.

People not fully vaccinated will continue to have daily testing, according to the updated protocol.

“The NFL and NFLPA medical teams believe this holistic approach to testing, which reflects public health recommendations and best practices used in healthcare, offers the best opportunity to identify and treat cases quickly. and avoid spreading within the facility, ”wrote NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. in a note to all teams that was obtained by CNN.

Other changes to the league’s Covid-19 protocols outlined in the memo include new restrictions on the number of essential personnel allowed inside team facilities while players and coaches are present.

In his memo, Goodell said booster shots for all eligible players are “an important part of an overall effort to fight Covid” and said the league and the players’ association “will continue to educate players. on the benefits of “recalls.

The football league is not the only one affected by the upsurge in infections.

The NCAA men’s basketball schedule has been in turmoil, with more than a dozen games recently canceled or postponed due to issues with the virus.

And at least five NHL teams have been forced to shut down over the past week over concerns over positive cases and the spread of the virus. On Saturday, the NHL and its players’ association announced new and improved Covid-19 protocols that will be in effect at least until January 7, citing an increased number of positive cases in the past two weeks and growing concern over the variant. Omicron as the reasons for the update. Under the new NHL protocols, all fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals will be required to wear masks at all times inside team facilities and during travel and daily testing will be required for all members of the team. team travel group.

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