The NBA announced Friday that 16 players have tested positive for COVID-19 out of 302 tests that were conducted.
“Any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until he satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician,” the league said in a statement.
The NBA began testing players in-market this week as part of Phase 2 of the league’s return. A number of players across the league on teams such as the Pacers, Kings and Nuggets have already tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days.
The 2019-20 NBA season is set to resume on July 30 in Orlando, where teams will be contained in the league’s bubble. Florida has seen a recent spike in coronavirus cases throughout the state. On Friday, the Florida Department of Health reported another 8,942 cases, which set a new record for the highest single-day jump. It eclipsed Wednesday’s previous record of 5,508 new cases.
Over the weekend, ESPN reported that various factions of the NBA, including players, executives and those in the league office, have raised concerns about the league’s resumption of play. According to ESPN, in at least one call last week, commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Florida while also expressing a resolve to continue with the league’s restart.
The NBA has established rules for players leaving the Orlando bubble. As it currently stands, players can leave the bubble, but if a player leaves without league approval, he must quarantine for at least 10 days upon return and will have to do a deep nasal COVID-19 test. If a player leaves for an excused absence, a player would have to quarantine for just four days upon his return, so long as he tests negative every day of isolation.
Last week, the NBA sent teams a 113-page health and safety manual having to deal with the NBA’s restart. At the beginning of the manual, the NBA is explicit that it will continue to monitor developments with the coronavirus and will “distribute additional information or modify these Protocols as appropriate.”