NFL clears all 77 false positive coronavirus test, testing partner releases statement

The league managed to solve the issue quickly, allowing the affected teams to resume training camp practices

The NFL had quite the scare over the weekend. After Saturday’s round of coronavirus testing, 77 of those tests came back positive. This caused many teams to alter their practice schedules, forcing players who tested positive to miss their team’s practice Sunday. Coaches and staff members who also tested positive were also affected.

Fortunately, all 77 of those positive tests were retested and came back negative. These were considered false-positive tests, which has many wondering how could there be so many false positives during this round of COVID-19 testing?

How could the NFL end up with 77 false-positive tests?

It seems like there was an error on the side of the lab the NFL uses for their coronavirus tests. BioReference is the NFL’s testing partner, who has testing facilities around the world that ensure they get their results in 24 hours or less. Their lab in New Jersey was where the 77 false-positive tests were determined at.

On Monday, BioReference released a statement about the situation saying that the results were “caused by an isolated contamination during test preparation in the New Jersey laboratory.”  The NFL uses BioReference labs across the country, but the New Jersey location was the only one to have this contamination issue resulting in false-positive tests. According to the statement, “all individuals impacted have been confirmed negative and informed.”

Eleven teams were impacted by this coronavirus testing situation. The teams that were hit the hardest were the Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, and the Chicago Bears who had 31 false-positive tests between the three of them. According to the health and safety protocols the NFL and NFLPA agreed on for training camp, a positive test requires two consecutive negative results in order for it to be considered a false positive.

The NFL has been on top of coronavirus testing and safety measures during training camp, as they have managed to have a low infection rate. There have no reported outbreaks during the first month of training camp, and only three out of the nearly 3,000 players who were at camp are on the reserve/COVID19 list.

Even though these 77 tests were classified as false positive, this testing situation over the weekend is going to be a talking point for the NFL and NLFPA. The sides have until Sept. 5 to decide if daily testing should continue. They are also trying to solidify COVID-19 testing protocols for the regular season, which is less than three weeks away. This rise in false-positive cases is something the players are going to mention, as that could impact their eligibility to play in games once the season starts. All 77 individuals can partake in their normal activities Monday.

Next: NFL announces changes to COVID-19 testing protocol

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