Updates to Protocol - 2020 Season FAQ

What is the process that is followed when a player or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?


Clubs typically receive test results from routine monitoring samples between 10 pm and 12 am mountain time, and in some cases, where testing is done over-night, results are received early the next morning. By utilizing both the Utah and Rutgers laboratories, MLB has often been able to report test results on the same day the samples were collected or early the next morning when the circumstances have required expedition. After a Club receives notice of a positive test result for a Player or staff member, the Club notifies the infected individual, requires him or her to isolate (meaning no contact with anyone other than medical professionals) until they are cleared to return to Club facilities, and conducts an immediate contact tracing investigation. When the Club is on the road, infected individuals are provided with accommodations designated in each city to safely house and isolate infected players or staff until they recover or can be safely transported back to the home city. Each Club has a plan to maintain contact with and remotely monitor players or staff members who are notified of a positive test while on the road until they recover or are relocated to the home city.)




What is contact tracing?


Contact tracing is the process of identifying and notifying individuals of potential close contact with an infected person, which is a key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19. MLB’s contact tracing process follows the Centers for Disease Control’s contact tracing guidance, with additional insight from medical experts regarding how to classify someone as a “close contact.” Generally, “close contact” requires that an individual spend about fifteen minutes within six feet of someone who tests positive, being in contact with the infected person’s secretions (e.g., being coughed on), or having certain physical contact that is more likely to pass secretions in a manner that would lead to infection (e.g., bare handed palm-to-palm handshakes, or hugs). Close contact does not include passing interactions, such as walking past someone and standing next to them for a short period of time, or physical contact unlikely to pass secretions and lead to infection (e.g., elbow bumps). The 15 minutes of exposure can be all at once or in multiple separate time blocks. Each Club has at least two individuals who have been trained and certified as contact tracers. When a Tier 1 or Tier 2 Individual tests positive, the contact tracers immediately interview the infected person using a MLB-provided set of standard questions to determine who (if anyone) at the Club, another Club, or otherwise within MLB (including umpires) may have had sufficient contact with the infected player or staff member to be classified as a close contact. Contact tracing generally covers the person’s potential infectious period, which is generally 48 hours before either illness onset or, if asymptomatic, the collection date of the sample that tested positive. If a Player or staff member did not have close contact with the infected person and adhered to all of the protocols in the Manual (e.g., wearing face coverings at all times except while on the field), the risk of that person having contracted COVID-19 from the infected individual is low. After a Club completes the contact tracing process, any Tier 1 or Tier 2 Individuals who had close contact with the infected player or staff member must isolate until they test negative for COVID-19 and are cleared to play by the Club’s medical staff and the Joint COVID-19 Health & Safety Committee (which includes medical experts from MLB and the Players Association) (the “Joint Committee”).




Will Games Be Postponed Every Time a Player or Staff Member Tests Positive?


No. The protocols contemplate that games will be permitted to continue when a Player or staff member test positive after the contract tracing process is completed. After any persons who had close contact with the infected Player or staff member are identified and isolated, the rest of the team is cleared to resume normal operations. MLB has had numerous situations this season in which a Player or staff member on a Club tested positive, that individual was isolated, and games continued without any further spread of the virus.)




Why was the Marlins situation treated differently?


The circumstances surrounding the Marlins are unique in several different respects, including the number of individuals who tested positive, the spread of the virus among both players and staff, and the timeline of when the additional infections were identified. After consulting with our experts, MLB, in consultation with us, made the decision to postpone all Marlins games for more than a week to contain the spread of the infection. At the time, the rate of positive results and close contacts had increased substantially, and they wanted to pause to prevent further infection while we all gained a better understanding of the circumstances underlying the spread. MLB investigators have now conducted a thorough investigation of the factors contributing to the spread of the virus within the Marlins traveling party, and our decision to revise the protocols (as described below) is based on many of the things that we collectively learned.




Why were Phillies games postponed for more than a week?


The Phillies played the Marlins in the middle of what were later told was a developing outbreak on the Marlins. Even though the Clubs played three games against one another and many Marlins Players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19, no Player or coach on the Phillies contracted COVID-19 from anyone on the Marlins. To date, only one Phillies employee (who is not on-field personnel) has been confirmed as having been infected with COVID-19 since the series with the Marlins, and MLB’s experts have not determined whether the staff member was infected by a Marlins Player or some other source. This underscores that the risk of transmission on the field and between Clubs is low because, under the protocols, opposing Players should not have close contact with one another, and, if they do, that contact is outdoors where the risk of transmission is significantly decreased.




Why were the Cardinals’ series with the Brewers and Tigers postponed?


The Cardinals were notified late on Thursday night that two Players on the team had tested positive. The Friday game between the Cardinals and Brewers was scheduled to be played at 1 p.m., and given that multiple close contacts had been identified, including anticipated on-field personnel, the game was postponed to allow for further testing. Once it was determined that additional Players and staff on the Club had tested positive, MLB decided, after consulting with us and their experts, to have the Cardinals quarantine in Milwaukee to prevent any further the spread of the virus. MLB later postponed the Cardinals’ series against the Tigers in order to ensure that no additional Cardinals Players or staff were infected before allowing those who had consistently tested negative to resume playing against other Clubs. MLB has been testing the Cardinals every day since Friday, and there were no new positives among the Cardinals Players or staff on Monday or Tuesday. MLB will be conducting daily testing of all Cardinals Players and staff for the next several days; and assuming there is no evidence of further transmission within the organization, and the experts are comfortable with the Cardinals Players and staff who have not tested positive resuming play on Friday.




Should members of a team’s traveling party be concerned about occupying the visiting clubhouse when the prior visiting team had a player test positive?


After each positive test result, the clubhouse undergoes a deep cleaning in which all areas are scrubbed by a disinfectant that kills the virus. Our experts inform us that COVID- 19 is an easy virus to kill when the proper disinfectant is used. Also, if a visiting clubhouse attendant had close contact with a Player or other individual who tested positive, the attendant is sent home and cannot return to work until he tests negative and is cleared by the Joint Committee to return. Visiting and home clubhouse attendants are not permitted to enter the other clubhouse to help prevent the spread of the virus.





Actualizaciones al Protocolo - Temporada 2020

What is the process that is followed when a player or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?


Clubs typically receive test results from routine monitoring samples between 10 pm and 12 am mountain time, and in some cases, where testing is done over-night, results are received early the next morning. By utilizing both the Utah and Rutgers laboratories, MLB has often been able to report test results on the same day the samples were collected or early the next morning when the circumstances have required expedition. After a Club receives notice of a positive test result for a Player or staff member, the Club notifies the infected individual, requires him or her to isolate (meaning no contact with anyone other than medical professionals) until they are cleared to return to Club facilities, and conducts an immediate contact tracing investigation. When the Club is on the road, infected individuals are provided with accommodations designated in each city to safely house and isolate infected players or staff until they recover or can be safely transported back to the home city. Each Club has a plan to maintain contact with and remotely monitor players or staff members who are notified of a positive test while on the road until they recover or are relocated to the home city.)




What is contact tracing?


Contact tracing is the process of identifying and notifying individuals of potential close contact with an infected person, which is a key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19. MLB’s contact tracing process follows the Centers for Disease Control’s contact tracing guidance, with additional insight from medical experts regarding how to classify someone as a “close contact.” Generally, “close contact” requires that an individual spend about fifteen minutes within six feet of someone who tests positive, being in contact with the infected person’s secretions (e.g., being coughed on), or having certain physical contact that is more likely to pass secretions in a manner that would lead to infection (e.g., bare handed palm-to-palm handshakes, or hugs). Close contact does not include passing interactions, such as walking past someone and standing next to them for a short period of time, or physical contact unlikely to pass secretions and lead to infection (e.g., elbow bumps). The 15 minutes of exposure can be all at once or in multiple separate time blocks. Each Club has at least two individuals who have been trained and certified as contact tracers. When a Tier 1 or Tier 2 Individual tests positive, the contact tracers immediately interview the infected person using a MLB-provided set of standard questions to determine who (if anyone) at the Club, another Club, or otherwise within MLB (including umpires) may have had sufficient contact with the infected player or staff member to be classified as a close contact. Contact tracing generally covers the person’s potential infectious period, which is generally 48 hours before either illness onset or, if asymptomatic, the collection date of the sample that tested positive. If a Player or staff member did not have close contact with the infected person and adhered to all of the protocols in the Manual (e.g., wearing face coverings at all times except while on the field), the risk of that person having contracted COVID-19 from the infected individual is low. After a Club completes the contact tracing process, any Tier 1 or Tier 2 Individuals who had close contact with the infected player or staff member must isolate until they test negative for COVID-19 and are cleared to play by the Club’s medical staff and the Joint COVID-19 Health & Safety Committee (which includes medical experts from MLB and the Players Association) (the “Joint Committee”).




Will Games Be Postponed Every Time a Player or Staff Member Tests Positive?


No. The protocols contemplate that games will be permitted to continue when a Player or staff member test positive after the contract tracing process is completed. After any persons who had close contact with the infected Player or staff member are identified and isolated, the rest of the team is cleared to resume normal operations. MLB has had numerous situations this season in which a Player or staff member on a Club tested positive, that individual was isolated, and games continued without any further spread of the virus.)




Why was the Marlins situation treated differently?


The circumstances surrounding the Marlins are unique in several different respects, including the number of individuals who tested positive, the spread of the virus among both players and staff, and the timeline of when the additional infections were identified. After consulting with our experts, MLB, in consultation with us, made the decision to postpone all Marlins games for more than a week to contain the spread of the infection. At the time, the rate of positive results and close contacts had increased substantially, and they wanted to pause to prevent further infection while we all gained a better understanding of the circumstances underlying the spread. MLB investigators have now conducted a thorough investigation of the factors contributing to the spread of the virus within the Marlins traveling party, and our decision to revise the protocols (as described below) is based on many of the things that we collectively learned.




Why were Phillies games postponed for more than a week?


The Phillies played the Marlins in the middle of what were later told was a developing outbreak on the Marlins. Even though the Clubs played three games against one another and many Marlins Players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19, no Player or coach on the Phillies contracted COVID-19 from anyone on the Marlins. To date, only one Phillies employee (who is not on-field personnel) has been confirmed as having been infected with COVID-19 since the series with the Marlins, and MLB’s experts have not determined whether the staff member was infected by a Marlins Player or some other source. This underscores that the risk of transmission on the field and between Clubs is low because, under the protocols, opposing Players should not have close contact with one another, and, if they do, that contact is outdoors where the risk of transmission is significantly decreased.




Why were the Cardinals’ series with the Brewers and Tigers postponed?


The Cardinals were notified late on Thursday night that two Players on the team had tested positive. The Friday game between the Cardinals and Brewers was scheduled to be played at 1 p.m., and given that multiple close contacts had been identified, including anticipated on-field personnel, the game was postponed to allow for further testing. Once it was determined that additional Players and staff on the Club had tested positive, MLB decided, after consulting with us and their experts, to have the Cardinals quarantine in Milwaukee to prevent any further the spread of the virus. MLB later postponed the Cardinals’ series against the Tigers in order to ensure that no additional Cardinals Players or staff were infected before allowing those who had consistently tested negative to resume playing against other Clubs. MLB has been testing the Cardinals every day since Friday, and there were no new positives among the Cardinals Players or staff on Monday or Tuesday. MLB will be conducting daily testing of all Cardinals Players and staff for the next several days; and assuming there is no evidence of further transmission within the organization, and the experts are comfortable with the Cardinals Players and staff who have not tested positive resuming play on Friday.




Should members of a team’s traveling party be concerned about occupying the visiting clubhouse when the prior visiting team had a player test positive?


After each positive test result, the clubhouse undergoes a deep cleaning in which all areas are scrubbed by a disinfectant that kills the virus. Our experts inform us that COVID- 19 is an easy virus to kill when the proper disinfectant is used. Also, if a visiting clubhouse attendant had close contact with a Player or other individual who tested positive, the attendant is sent home and cannot return to work until he tests negative and is cleared by the Joint Committee to return. Visiting and home clubhouse attendants are not permitted to enter the other clubhouse to help prevent the spread of the virus.





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