The NFL will face its first big COVID-19 test this week, as it appears the Titans organization has suffered an outbreak. According to several sources now, eight Titans employees—three players, five personnel—have tested positive for the virus, and according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, these cases have been confirmed. They are not expected to be false positives.
As a result, both the Titans and the Vikings—the team they played on Sunday—have closed their facilities for the time being. For Tennessee, they are planning to keep the facility closed until Saturday, putting their game against the Steelers this Sunday (in Nashville) seriously in doubt. The Vikings will remain closed until their latest test results return negative. Per ESPN’s Dan Graziano, contact tracing revealed 48 “close contacts” with the eight people who tested positive for coronavirus. However, as of Monday, the Vikings had no new positive cases.
The NFL and NFLPA offered a joint statement on the situation:
“On Tuesday morning, the Titans COVID testing results returned three new player positives and five new personnel positives. The Titans will suspend in-person club activities starting today. Likewise, the Vikings, who played the Titans on Sunday, will also suspend in-person club activities. Both clubs are working closely with the NFL and the NFLPA, including our infectious disease experts, to evaluate close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments. All decisions will be made with health and safety as our primary consideration. We will continue to share updates as more information becomes available.”
The Vikings also offered the following statement on their situation:
“Today the NFL notified us that members of the Tennessee Titans organization have tested positive for COVID-19. As of this morning, we have not received any positive results from Vikings testing following Sunday’s game. Per the NFL protocol, we will suspend in-person club activities and close TCO Performance Center immediately. We will work closely with the NFL and NFLPA to monitor the situation, perform additional testing and determine when the facility can reopen. We will provide further updates regarding this week’s football schedule when appropriate.”