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Major League Soccer announced Sunday 18 players and six staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The league has conducted a total of 668 tests of players dating back to early June. Players have been tested every other day since training began as clubs prepare to travel to Orlando, Florida, for the MLS is Back tournament that starts July 8.
MLS is using Polymerase Chain Reaction tests, and its guidelines call for the completion of two such tests 24 hours apart and within 72 hours prior to the start of training before beginning the every-other-day testing.
The league is mandating that any individual who tests positive while in Orlando must participate in a “clinical assessment by a healthcare provider.” Those infected will be moved to an isolation area of their team hotel until they have been medically cleared to leave.
“Prior to traveling to Orlando, all players, coaches, referees, club personnel and league staff are required to complete an additional two PCR tests 24 hours apart and within approximately 72 hours of travel. Upon arrival in Florida, all individuals are required to immediately take another PCR test and are quarantined until they receive the results of that test. To date, 329 people have been administered PCR tests on-site, and two were positive, both of which were players who had just arrived.”
Players who enter isolation will have access to daily communication with healthcare professionals and receive remote care. The league will also work with Orange and Osceola counties on contract tracing.
Additionally, MLS will provide updates every other day beginning June 30 on the results of its testing process.
The league is not expected to disclose which players or staffers have previously tested positive to the public.