Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press
With players set to report to team facilities for training camp this week, the Minnesota Vikings showcased to Peter King of NBC Sports their additions to keep all team personnel safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
The testing is especially extensive, with all 80 players and 100 employees receiving COVID-19 tests when entering the building. This is followed by temperature checks with a thermal-scanner tablet.
Everyone will also have to answer 10 health-related questions in an app that will approve their entry into the facility, and no one will be allowed in without a mask.
More additions have been made to ensure social distancing once in the building, including meeting rooms with specified seating to keep six feet between each person. Lockers will also go unused, shower heads have been removed and hot/cold tubs have been moved in order to keep more distance between players.
Players are no longer expected to eat in the cafeteria, which will only hold 40 people instead of the usual 100.
It is hoped sanitizing stations at the entrance of the facility and plans to clean meeting rooms between every event should also help reduce the risk of spreading anything.
These protocols come amid calls from the NFLPA for the NFL to mandate safety instructions across the league. Some of the league’s biggest stars, including Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, sent tweets Sunday asking the NFL to help keep players safe and healthy with agreed upon protocols.
Vikings athletic trainer Eric Sugarman, who is the team’s infection control officer, explained to King what happens when someone does test positive:
“The sick player will get a care package. Three different kinds of face coverings in the care package. A fingertip pulse oximeter because we know COVID-19 can affect oxygen levels, and we want to be able to track that. A thermometer. Hibiclens soap, to clean. Gloves. A meal schedule; we can deliver meals to them if they’re isolated. So they’ll get this bag, with all this, and they will be either removed from the building or not allowed in the building, once we examine them.”
Sugarman and three other COVID protocol coordinators will do what they can to help control the spread of the virus within the organization this season.
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