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Two additional positive COVID-19 tests force Browns to briefly close facility

The Browns' run-in with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has added two new members to their group of positive tests.

A coach and practice squad player have tested positive for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported, per a source informed of the situation. Cleveland closed its facility for most of Wednesday while conducting contact tracing.

The team announced the player and staff member positives and closing of its facility a short time later.

"The team will continue to work remotely and follow the NFL-NFLPA intensive protocols as the health and safety of our team, staff and the entire community is our highest priority," the Browns said in a statement.

The Browns announced around 4 p.m. ET that they were cleared to reopen their facility.

Cleveland lost six players to COVID-19 protocol-related issues less than 24 hours before it faced the New York Jets, ultimately falling to the Jets 23-16 in a game that could prove to be pivotal if the Browns don't bounce back in Week 17. Linebacker B.J. Goodson's positive test resulted in the isolation of five other Browns, including the team's top four receivers.

Those players identified as close contacts -- Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, KhaDarel Hodge and Jacob Phillips -- could return Thursday if they continue to test negative, coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday, and the coach added Wednesday they remain on track to return. The additional positive tests suggest that this issue isn't near resolution within the organization, though, with just one regular-season game left to play and a win needed to end the franchise's 17-year playoff drought.

To that effort, Stefanski told reporters Wednesday he was confident the team would be able to practice later in the day, as long as the Browns receive clearance from the NFL to proceed.

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said during a Wednesday conference call that there is "no evidence of transmission within the [Browns'] facility" and therefore no reason to believe Sunday's game is in jeopardy at this point, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported.

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