Cleveland Browns cancel practice today amid COVID-19 testing ‘irregularities’

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cleveland Browns players and staff are reportedly working from home today amid coronavirus concerns.

The Browns said in a statement that some COVID-19 tests came back positive for multiple people in their organization. However, the NFL has also reported some “irregularities” in recent results from a lab they have been using to conduct tests.

“Saturday’s daily COVID testing returned several positives tests from each of the clubs serviced by the same laboratory in New Jersey,” the NFL said in a statement. “We are working with our testing partner, BioReference, to investigate these results, while the clubs work to confirm or rule out the positive tests. Clubs are taking immediate precautionary measures as outlined in the NFL-NFLPA’s health and safety protocols to include contact tracing, isolation of individuals and temporarily adjusting the schedule, where appropriate. The other laboratories used for NFL testing have not had similar results.”

Read the full Browns statement below:

“After consistently receiving encouraging results from daily testing since returning to the facility in July, the Cleveland Browns’ COVID-19 testing process conducted yesterday initially indicates multiple individual presumptive positive cases that include players, coaches and support staff. Although, we have received indication from the NFL that they are investigating irregularities in lab results that have also impacted other clubs, out of an abundance of caution, we will immediately follow our comprehensive Infectious Disease Emergency Response plan and pause any activity in our building today and conduct meetings virtually. As per plan procedure, the team is also diligently reviewing proximity data for contact tracing and instructed self-isolation for those who tested positive and others as appropriate even though they all remain asymptomatic. Our facility is currently undergoing a thorough deep-cleaning and disinfecting process and is closed to all personnel for the day. We will provide updates as testing results are confirmed and more information is available.”

According to the AP, among teams reporting false positives, the Minnesota Vikings said they had 12, the New York Jets 10 and the Chicago Bears nine.

The Jets canceled a walk-through on Saturday night but had a full practice Sunday morning after the previously positive tests came back negative. The Bears moved their practice scheduled for Sunday morning to the afternoon.

The Pittsburgh Steelers said they had six false positives and those players will be back at practice Monday. The Philadelphia Eagles held out four players from working out Sunday. The Cleveland Browns called off their workout altogether.

“Definitely probably better that this happened now than three weeks from now,” said Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane, whose club had some of those positive results. “But it seems like every few weeks, or even every week, something’s going on. Who know what the next curveball will be?”

Beane said tests in the Northeast had gone “haywire,” and called it “a lab issue and not a true issue with our guys currently” after several Bills were held out of practice.

Jets offensive lineman Leo Koloamatangi, who opted out of playing this season because of family health concerns, tweeted: “Wishing nothing but safety and great health over my brothers and their families right now. As it turns out, testing isn’t as reliable as we’d all hoped.”

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