Several Major League Baseball players and team staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Associated Press. The New York Post‘s Joel Sherman reports a pitching coach contracted the virus weeks ago, though at least one player tested positive more recently.
Identities of the players and personnel to test positive are unknown and may not be disclosed. It is unknown whether anyone who tested positive was at a team facility or came into contact with other club members, and potentially spread the virus. MLB‘s proposed safety plan includes contact tracing.
Among other things, MLB and the MLBPA are currently working through safety and health protocols as part of their return-to-play plan. Players would undergo multiple daily temperature checks and be tested for COVID-19 multiple times a week during the season. MLB has commissioned a lab in Utah to process the tests and provide results within 24 hours.
Earlier this year thousands of MLB employees took part in a vast and unique study on the viability of COVID-19 antibody testing. Less than one percent tested positive for antibodies, lower than other notable antibody studies, and roughly 70 percent of those who tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic.
COVID-19 cases are on the rise in many states, particularly in the south and southwest, which are home to roughly one-third of MLB teams. Once MLB finalizes a return-to-play plan, most teams are expected to hold training camp in their home ballpark rather than at their spring training site in Arizona or Florida.
as MLB and the MLBPA continue to haggle over player salaries. The pandemic remains a very real threat and could force games to be canceled even with an economic agreement.