The NBA informed teams in a memo Saturday that COVID-19 testing for players and staff taking part in the league’s restart will begin June 23 and take place every other day.
The memo, which was obtained by ESPN, says players and “essential team staff” — any coaches, trainers or medical personnel who will be working with players directly, or will be part of the travel party to Orlando, Florida — will be administered both a COVID-19 test and an antibody test on June 23.
Each person will then be administered another COVID-19 test every other day, as well as the two days directly before the team leaves for Walt Disney World. All teams are currently scheduled to arrive at Walt Disney World between July 7 and July 9.
The memo doesn’t say what type of testing the league will use, but sources told ESPN’s Zach Lowe that it is a less invasive nasal swab, and possibly much less invasive than the one that has been common so far.
The memo also doesn’t say what the protocol will be for anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus. It also doesn’t include any details about what the testing protocols will be after teams arrive in Orlando.
The NBA has partnered with Quest Diagnostics to provide the tests and has assured that the tests the league use won’t take away from the tests necessary for front-line health care workers, first responders or symptomatic patients in each team’s city. The league also plans to offer both a COVID-19 test and an antibody test to household members of players and essential staff on June 23, and will also provide free, public testing in each of the 21 cities with teams participating in the league’s restart next month.
International players who left the country have been asked to return to their home markets by Monday, with the remainder of players scheduled to return by June 22. Teams are expected to have close to three weeks after arriving in Orlando to prepare for the season to resume on July 30.