NBA asks teams not to test for coronavirus without symptoms

An NBA memo declared “it is not appropriate in the current public health environment to regularly test all players and staff for the coronavirus.”


The NBA suspended its season on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.   -  Getty Images

The NBA has advised teams not to arrange coronavirus tests for players and staff not showing symptoms, ESPN reported on Friday, saying it was inappropriate with only limited public testing available.

Citing unnamed sources, ESPN said an NBA memo declared that “for the time being, it is not appropriate in the current public health environment to regularly test all players and staff for the coronavirus.”

The NBA had been criticized in March when Utah's Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus, leading to the league halting its season and teams being tested for the deadly disease.

There was criticism for the NBA being able to obtain and use tests for entire clubs when tests were difficult to find.

Across the United States, test availability remains far below levels recommended by health experts. Such a test deficit likely must be resolved before the NBA can obtain the test kits vital to any sort of resumption of the season.

ESPN reported the NBA expects to need 15,000 tests in any sort of a return at a single facility with players and other essential personnel sequestered and tested.

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The memo instructed players to make any decisions regarding tests for players and staff “in consultation with an infectious disease specialist, and in consideration of the patient's individual circumstances and guidance on testing related to COVID-19 from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and from the local health authority in the team's market.”

The NBA still seeks opportunities for leaguewide testing capabilities, and anticipates implementing such a system once team activities resume, according to the report.

NBA teams are set to take a small first step toward returning next Friday when players will be able to work out individually at team facilities, provided state and local governments allow such activities in easing of stay-at-home regulations.

Only four players would be allowed in the building at the same time and they will not be able to workout together.

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