NFL Confirms 0 Positive COVID-19 Tests Among Players from August 12-20

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2020

An NFL logo is stamped on the upright before the first half of an AFC Wild Card NFL football game between the Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills said Monday that of the 23,260 COVID-19 tests administered to players from Aug. 12 to Aug. 20, there were no positives.

According to ESPN's Dan Graziano, Sills added that there were also 35,137 COVID-19 tests given to personnel during that time, which yielded six new positives.

The start of the 2020 NFL regular season is just over two weeks away, as the Kansas City Chiefs are set to host the Houston Texans on Sept. 10.

Graziano noted Sills also said the low positive rate during that time frame caused the NFL to look into the spike in positives over the weekend.

Per ESPN's Kevin Seifert, the NFL said Monday that the 77 players across 11 teams who tested positive over the weekend were cleared because they were false positives. The BioReference lab in New Jersey that tested the samples said an "isolated contamination during test preparation" was the culprit.

Sills told Graziano"All of us want to have a fast and accurate tests, but our overarching goal is to have a safe team environment."

As a result, the NFL has decided that even if a false positive is suspected, the player who tested positive will be kept away from their team until it is confirmed they are negative.

Given the testing inaccuracies over the weekend, there is cause for concern regarding how false positives could impact teams during the season in terms of players having to miss practices or games even if they don't have COVID-19.

According to Graziano, Sills said the NFL and NFLPA are having "a very active discussion" about how pregame testing will be handled during the season.

NFL teams have been gathered for training camp for the past few weeks, and although there will be no preseason games, the plan remains for the regular season to start on time.

While roughly half the league has ruled out the possibility of fans attending games in their stadiums to start the season, others are hoping to fill their stadiums to partial capacity to maintain some level of home-field advantage.

After the Chiefs and Texans face off, most other Week 1 games will be played Sept. 13, which is the first Sunday of the season.