All 22 teams arrived at the NBA bubble last week to begin preparations to resume the 2019-20 season inside Disney World. Upon arrival, everyone was sent to their rooms, where they were to remain isolated until they returned two negative COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart.
On Monday afternoon, the league announced the results of those tests, noting that two out of 322 players had tested positive. In addition, 19 additional players tested positive before teams traveled. They did not release any information about coaches or staffers.
Of the 322 players tested for COVID-19 since arriving on the NBA Campus July 7, two have returned confirmed positive tests while in quarantine. Those players never cleared quarantine and have since left the Campus to isolate at home or in isolation housing.
Since July 1, during in-market testing, 19 NBA players newly tested positive. These players are staying in their home markets and recovering until they are cleared under CDC guidelines and NBA rules for leaving home isolation and joining the Campus.
On the one hand, it’s good that the number of positive tests inside the bubble was quite low. However, the fact that there were any at all is still somewhat worrisome. Those players who tested positive traveled down with teammates and were on planes or buses with them for hours.
Even if those players took all the proper precautions, it’s certainly possible that the virus could have been passed along in transit. And if it was, we may not know for many days. Hopefully, the league’s stringent testing protocols and health and safety standards will prevent an outbreak from occurring, but the fact that some players managed to test negative before leaving their home markets, then positive upon arrival shows how tricky it is to fully contain this virus.
Dating back to Rudy Gobert on March 11, dozens of players have tested positive for COVID-19. Some, including Spencer Dinwiddie and Taurean Prince, have been prevented from returning to play inside the bubble because of the effects of the virus and will sit out the remainder of the season. Others, including Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook, have not been able to join their teams in Orlando due to positive tests.