NBA Amends COVID-19 Protocols, Reduces Isolation Time to 6 Days After Positive Test

Doric SamDecember 27, 2021

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 08: A detail of the 75th anniversary NBA logo prior to the game between the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks at FTX Arena on December 08, 2021 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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In the midst of a leaguewide COVID-19 outbreak, the NBA made adjustments to its health and safety protocols Monday.

Per The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov, the league reduced the isolation time to six days for asymptomatic players and coaches who test positive for COVID-19. Vorkunov noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced people can exit isolation after five days if they are asymptomatic.

Vorkunov added that while isolation can end after six days for those who are asymptomatic, players or Tier 1 personnel who return a positive or inconclusive result will still get tested through 10 days. If someone gains or regains symptoms or has a cycle threshold value below 30, they must reenter isolation. He also reported that players who return two consecutive negative PCR tests taken within 24 hours can leave isolation.

The NBA's recent spike in COVID-19 cases has affected several teams. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Baxter Holmes, this season has seen 205 total players enter the league's health and safety protocols, with 192 coming in December alone and 169 in the past two weeks.

A season-high 27 players were placed in protocols Sunday, eclipsing the previous single-day high of 17. It was the 11th day in the past two weeks that double-digit players entered protocols.

Six head coaches entered protocols this month as well. On Monday, the Portland Trail Blazers confirmed head coach Chauncey Billups entered protocols. Wojnarowski reported Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams did the same.

The other coaches currently in protocols are the Los Angeles Lakers' Frank Vogel and Chicago Bulls' Billy Donovan. Sacramento Kings coach Alvin Gentry and the Indiana Pacers' Rick Carlisle recently returned to their teams after getting cleared.