The NBA has given teams the green light to begin re-opening practice facilities in states and cities that have loosened social distancing guidelines starting on May 8, and when they do some teams will be able to test all players and staff for COVID-19.
The league previously stated that no teams should be testing players who were asymptomatic due to the concern of the NBA taking too many tests away from the general public. However, franchises in cities where there are tests readily available to at-risk healthcare workers are allowed to test all players and staff who will enter practice facilities for individual workouts, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Teams who will be allowed to administer the tests right away are the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers and Orlando Magic. In order for teams to be given the go-ahead to test players and staff members, though, the league must approve written authorization from a local health authority in the team’s community who states that there is a surplus of testing available for at-risk healthcare workers. The Magic have already received permission from the Orange County Department of Health and approval from the league to test their players, according to Wojnarowski. In a statement, the Magic confirmed the approval.
“We have received written authorization from Dr. Raul Pino, the Health Officer of the Orange County (FL) Department of Health, that there is a robust COVID-19 testing program in place by the Orange County Health Department and our local health systems for our healthcare workers, and that asymptomatic testing is taking place in Orange County.
With the Orange County Department Health authorization, thus the NBA has advised us that we are able to have our players tested. We have been assured we are not taking any tests (anti-viral and coronavirus tests) from healthcare workers, first responders or anyone whether they are experiencing symptoms or asymptomatic. As we’ve been told, the general public in our community can go to numerous locations to receive a coronavirus test.
The Orlando Magic’s foremost priority remains everyone’s health and well-being connected to the game and we will continue to follow the NBA’s guidelines, while also continuing to listen to public health experts and observe local governmental directives.”
For the Cavaliers and the Trail Blazers, the option to test players and staff entering practice facilities isn’t available. However, both teams are participating in a coronavirus antibody study that is being organized by The Mayo Clinic that will be capable of returning test results to players in two days.
Widespread testing has always been one of the major hurdles for the NBA to clear in order to try and restart the season. The fact that some teams will be able to test players and staff members without taking tests away from the general public who desperately need them is a positive sign.