The Toronto Raptors announced Monday morning that three members within the organization have tested positive for COVID-19. The Raptors, who had to relocate to Tampa Bay, Florida for the upcoming season after the Canadian government decided that the franchise couldn’t play in the country due to the pandemic, determined that there was not any further spread within the organization after contact tracing.
From the Raptors’ released statement:
“During the league-mandated testing period prior to training camp, three members of the Toronto Raptors organization tested positive for COVID-19. All three are, and will continue to, self-isolate away from the rest of the organization. Adherence to protocols, follow-up testing and contact tracing has so far revealed no spread to other members of the Raptors organization. We continue to follow safety protocols, and will update the situation as appropriate.”
The Raptors did not mention the need to close their practice facility as these tests took place before training camp opened on Dec. 1. Toronto is the third team in the league so far to report positive COVID-19 test results, with the Blazers most recently closing training camp to undergo deep cleaning after three members within the organization tested positive. The Golden State Warriors had two players test positive for the virus prior to the start of training camp, which forced them to delay the start of their practices.
As the league continues to gear up for the start of the 2020-21 season, the possibility of other teams testing positive for the virus is something the NBA will have to be prepared for. Last week, the league sent out health and safety protocols that have to be followed by all players, coaches and team staff during the season, which includes limiting outside interactions. If those protocols aren’t followed, serious punishments could be handed down to players and teams that include loss of draft selections and decrease in player salary.
Unlike the bubble environment the league pulled off safely over the summer, the NBA is in a far more difficult situation as teams begin to travel to different markets in order to play games. Therefore, more caution must be taken in order for the league to get through the upcoming season as smoothly as it possibly can during a pandemic.