NFL adjusts COVID testing to address false positives like Matthew Stafford's
After a false positive test landed Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the NFL's COVID-19 reserve list this past weekend weekend, requiring the team to send out a press release to explain the situation, the league has adjusted its testing policy to address such abnormalities.
While any asymptomatic player testing positive for the first time is still required to quarantine outside the team's facility, he can now be cleared 24 hours later if he passes two separate confirmatory tests.
Previously, any positive or presumed positive test required a minimum five-day stay on the COVID reserve list.
According to the NFLPA, as of Thursday afternoon, 56 players had testing positive since training camps opened. And Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jack Crawford was the only new addition to the reserve list Friday.
The league's chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, confirmed on a conference call that the league has conducted more than 75,000 tests.
Stafford's false positive came on his third COVID test, prior to entering the team's practice facility for the first time since the start of the pandemic. His wife, Kelly, released a statement on social media highlighting how the news negatively impacted the family's life the days following and criticized the NFL.
"Even after we knew it was a false positive, our school told us they were not allowed back, I was approached in a grocery store and told I was 'endangering others,' my kids were harassed and kicked off a playground, I was told I needed to wait in my car when trying to pick up food, and people closest to us had to get tested just so they could go back to work," Kelly Stafford wrote on Instagram. "And that's just to name a few things. I don't blame these scenarios on any of the people directly involved. I understand where they are coming from, but I do blame the NFL. I blame the NFL for not holding themselves accountable. These are people's lives and livelihoods that are in those results in their test sites. Maybe we should be absolutely positive a person has COVID before releasing that info into the world."
Days after claiming Daylon Mack off waivers from Baltimore, the Lions released the second-year defensive tackle with a failed physical designation.