In an important safety step, the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to daily COVID-19 testing for the first two weeks of training camps, which are set to open July 28.
Per Pro Football Talk, the NFL has contracted with a national lab for 120 tests per day at a flat rate with extra tests available for $125 per test needed.
Tom Pelissero reported that the league contracted with a national lab so as not to take tests away from local markets. During a recent appearance on the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast, Baylor College of Medicine assistant professor of adult and pediatric infectious diseases Dr. Jill Weatherhead and Oxford College of Emory University epidemiologist Dr. Zach Binney spoke eloquently about the need for NFL teams to consider community safety and not just team needs.
Pelissero also reported that players will need “multiple” negative COVID-19 tests between now and next Tuesday before they are allowed to enter team facilities. Pelissero also said the league expects a turnaround of less than 24 hours for test results.
Finally, Pelissero added that if the infection rate is below 5 percent for Tier 1/Tier 2 players and team personnel then the league and NFLPA will consider going to testing every other day.
The NFLPA, which saw players take to social media over the weekend in an organized call for more safety measures from the NFL, issued the following statement:
“Our union has been pushing for the strongest testing and tracing protocols to keep our players safe. The testing protocols we agreed to are one critical factor that will help us return to work safely and gives us the best chance to play and finish the season.”
There are still economic and other issues — including the structure of training camp and whether or not there will be preseason games — on the table. This, though, is seen as a big step in the right direction.