NFL implements enhanced protocols for teams exposed to COVID-19

The NFL implemented a series of enhanced protocols Thursday for teams to follow after exposure to the COVID-19 virus, as it navigates an outbreak among the Tennessee Titans and potential transmission to the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings, who have not yet returned a positive test result after playing the Titans last Sunday, used the protocols after reopening their facility and practicing Thursday.

The enhanced protocols include two daily tests; one is the traditional PCR (nasal swab) test and the other is a POC (point of care) test that returns faster results. All Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees must test negative on the POC test before entering the facility.

PPE and face masks must also be worn by all players and coaches on the practice field and gloves must be worn by everyone except quarterbacks on their throwing hand. All meetings must be virtual and there will also be daily deep cleanings of the facility. The protocols also include a prohibition on team or player gatherings away from the facility.

NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills will determine whether and for how long the post-exposure protocols must be followed. Whether they are exposed or not, all NFL employees were urged by the memo to "act as if every person you come into contact with has a COVID infection and take appropriate precautions."

On Monday, several Las Vegas Raiders appeared at a fundraising event hosted by Raider Darren Waller at a country club in a Las Vegas suburb. Players were seen on video without masks at the indoor event while talking and mingling with guests, who also weren't wearing masks. The league said it was looking into the incident, and the players have apologized.

A total of 13 Titans employees, including six players, have returned positive tests for COVID-19 in the past week. The Titans' game Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed and will be rescheduled for later this season.