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NFL sends updated COVID-19 testing protocols to clubs with shorter re-testing window

With less than two weeks left before the start of the regular season, the NFL on Monday sent its 32 clubs updated COVID-19 protocols.

Most notable among the updated protocols is a change that allows players and other team personnel with a preliminary positive test to return to club facilities the same day if rerun and point-of-care tests both come back negative, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported, per sources informed of the updated protocols.

If the point-of-care test is positive, it is treated as a new confirmed positive case, subject to additional protocols. If the rerun test is positive, but the point-of-care test is negative, the person in question will still stay away from the team until at least the next day, pending results of the second point-of-care test, Pelissero added.

The change in protocol allows for NFL teams to get an accurate result quicker on a potentially positive test in a move that Pelissero referred to as "streamlining" the process with just 10 days to go until kickoff.

Following a rash of false-positives that alarmed many across the league on Aug. 23, the league has taken steps to protect against such an undesirable outcome. Previously, there was a 24-hour wait period for the results of a second point-of-care test to come back negative before being able to identify a false positive. With multiple test types in play in a shorter time frame to potentially identify a false positive, the league appears to be closing the waiting gap for results.

We'll see how it affects roster management in the regular season.

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