The NFL plans to take a cautious approach that may force players and coaches reporting flu symptoms to miss games without testing positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, made it clear in a conference call Thursday that one negative test won’t be enough to clear someone with symptoms.
“We all know that we’re going into cold and flu season. It’s going to be a lot more sore throats, stuffy noses, coughs that develop,” Sills said. “With the situation we’re in, we always have to rule out COVID first. So when someone reports symptoms, even if they have a negative test that same day, we’re going to hold that individual out of the facility.”
Sills added that anyone else deemed high risk through contact tracing with those individuals also will be removed from the team facility.
“It’s really just an abundance of caution that we’re using in those situations,” Sills said.
The Atlanta Falcons closed their facility Thursday following a second positive test for COVID-19. One player tested positive earlier in the week. The team remains scheduled to play at Minnesota on Sunday and could return to the facility Friday.
The Tennessee Titans played Tuesday night following a 16-day layoff due to an outbreak. The New England Patriots have twice had their original Week 5 matchup against Denver postponed following four positive coronavirus tests by players. They’re set to play Sunday.
“Clearly, we affirmed again the great importance of mask use and also the risk of