April 22, 2024

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NBA amends COVID protocol;  Less time for isolation

NBA amends COVID protocol; Less time for isolation

NBA players who have tested positive for COVID-19 can now return to play after a short absence, after the league issued a significant update to its health protocols on Monday.

The most notable change: isolation periods for players who test positive can be significantly reduced – from 10 to six days – as long as players are asymptomatic and meet other testing criteria. The teams received the new information in a memo sent out by the league on Monday and seen by the Associated Press.

The memo was sent the same day the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lowered isolation restrictions for Americans with coronavirus, from 10 days to five days. CDC officials made the decision, noting that evidence shows that people with coronavirus are most contagious in the two days before and three days after the first symptoms appear.

The National Basketball Association also relied on the information, telling teams that the new protocols “reflect analysis of information from tests collected by NBA experts, infectious disease experts and epidemiologists throughout the pandemic.” The changes were made in agreement with the players’ union.

The NBA has seen an increase in coronavirus cases in recent days, even with 97% of players vaccinated and 65% of eligible players receiving boosters. Two coaches — Monty Williams of Phoenix and Shaunsea Billups of Portland — went into sanitation protocols on Monday.

Phoenix hosts Memphis on Monday while Portland, which has seven players in the protocols, hosts Dallas. This will be the first match for the Trail Blazers since December 21. Their December 23 meeting with Brooklyn has been postponed due to COVID-19 issues in the Nets. It is one of nine games the NBA has postponed so far.

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The number of players in health protocols remained around 120 on Monday, and at least 63 players were excluded from Monday’s matches due to coronavirus issues. Notable additions to the roster include Olympic champion and Boston Celtics star Jason Tatum.

Atlanta has 12 of its players – 10 due to the virus and two due to injuries – in its game against Chicago, although the team has recovered from points guard Tra Young, who got a pass about 90 minutes before kick-off.