Major League Soccer reported 26 positive Covid-19 tests as the league prepares for its “MLS is Back Tournament” beginning next month in Florida.
The positive tests involved 18 players and six staff members prior to teams arriving in Orlando for the event at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and two more player positives on site. The league has conducted a total of 668 player tests since the start of training camp early this month, and the 2.7 per cent rate of positive Covid-19 tests among players is roughly half that for the NBA as that league also prepares for a Florida-based, quarantined restart.
MLS teams were able to return to full training earlier this month, so long as activities did not conflict with local health guidelines. Players and staff were subject to two initial Covid-19 tests, and have been tested every other day since.
Upon arriving in Orlando, all individuals involved with the MLS tournament are required to immediately take another Covid-19 tests, and are quarantined until results are known. The league has conducted 329 tests among teams that arrived in Florida already in preparation of the event, with two players testing positive there. Those individuals will received clinical assessment by healthcare providers, and be isolated until cleared. Those in close contact with positive cases could also be isolated.
“Close contacts will also receive follow-up testing and may be restricted from participating in group meals and recreational activities until cleared,” the league said.
MLS’s resumption efforts, like those for the NBA and Women’s National Basketball Association, are colliding against soaring Covid-19 cases in Florida as the state has become a US hotspot for the virus. Florida on June 28 reported 8,530 new cases and surging numbers over the past several weeks has prompted state officials to re-close bars.
The “MLS is Back Tournament” will begin July 8 with a doubleheader involving Orlando City SC against expansion club Inter Miami CF, and Nashville SC playing Chicago Fire FC.