NJ lab’s COVID-19 positive tests could be false

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The NFL revealed on Sunday that several positive COVID-19 tests had been found a day earlier by one of its testing partners. Among the teams reporting false positives, the Minnesota Vikings said they had 12, the New York Jets 10 and the Chicago Bears nine.

The league has asked New Jersey’s BioReference lab to investigate the results “as clubs work to confirm or rule out positive tests.” The NFL has not identified the teams or indicated how many tests in total were positive.

The Jets canceled a tour on Saturday night, but had full practice Sunday morning after previously positive tests came back negative. The Bears have moved their scheduled practice from Sunday morning to afternoon.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have said they have six false positives and those players will return to training on Monday. The Philadelphia Eagles barred four players from training on Sunday. The Cleveland Browns canceled their practice all together.

The number of positive COVID-19 tests from a specific facility that could in fact be false demonstrates the precarious position of the NFL in less than three weeks after the opening of the regular season.

“Definitely probably better of it happening now than in three weeks,” said Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane, whose club has had some of those positive results. “But it seems like every few weeks, if not every week, something happens. Who knows what the next curve ball will be? ”

Beane said testing in the Northeast had gotten “out of whack”, and called it “a lab problem and not a real problem with our guys right now” after several bills were held out of practice.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 – even a false positive on a retest – must have two more negative tests before being allowed to return.

The NFL uses BioReference for all of its COVID-19 tests, although the tests are managed by labs across the country to ensure teams get results quickly – hopefully within 24 hours. As this weekend approached, there had been four confirmed positive tests for players who were at training camps.

“Clubs take immediate precautionary measures as outlined in NFL-NFLPA health and safety protocols to include contact tracing, isolating individuals and temporarily adjusting the schedule, if necessary,” he said. the NFL said in a statement. “Other labs used for NFL testing did not get similar results.”

Jets offensive lineman Leo Koloamatangi, who has chosen not to play this season due to family health concerns, tweeted: “I wish my brothers nothing but safety and good health. and their families at this time. Turns out the tests aren’t as reliable as we all would have hoped. ”

The Bears were alerted Sunday morning of the test results. “We followed the NFL-NFLPA supplemental testing protocol and confirmed all nine results as false positives,” the team said in a statement.

Beane stressed the need for transparency throughout the Bills organization and said some players were on a conference call with NFL chief medical officer Dr Allen Sills.

“We had an open dialogue with our players,” he explained. “We even had some of our management team with Dr Sills this morning just hearing directly from him, who is aware of all these tests that have gone a bit off here in the North East.

“And I think it was good for them to hear, because naturally if you want to be in there for tackle and block and things like that pass the ball, people might be pissed off if some guys were missing. ”

The Browns said early lab results indicated several “suspected positive cases” that included coaches, players and staff.

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“Although the NFL has told us they are investigating irregularities in the lab results that have impacted other clubs as well, as a precaution we will immediately follow our emergency response plan for illness. infectious disease and suspend all activity in our building. today and conduct meetings virtually, ”said a spokesperson for Browns. “As per the procedure of the plan, the team is also diligently reviewing proximity data for contact tracing and has requested self-isolation of those who tested positive and others as appropriate, even if they all remain asymptomatic.

“Our facility is currently undergoing a thorough cleaning and disinfection process and is closed to all staff for the day.”

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