Atlanta Falcons stop in-person work at facility after positive COVID-19 test
ATLANTA - The Atlanta Falcons have stopped all-in person work at their practice facility following a new positive coronavirus test.
The team released a statement saying they will conduct all operations virtually for Thursday.
"Out of an abundance of caution following one new positive test, we have made the decision to stop all in-person work at IBM Performance Field Thursday and will conduct all operations virtually. This decision was made in consultation with the NFL and medical officials. The health and safety of our team is our highest priority."
The Falcons (0-5) and interim head coach Raheem Morris are scheduled to take on the Minnesota Vikings (1-4) in Minneapolis Sunday. No word yet on how this will impact that game.
On Tuesday, the Falcons placed Marlon Davidson on the Reserve/COVID-19 list after the rookie defensive lineman tested positive for the virus.
The team announced Wednesday evening that they also entered the NFL's intensive protocol. Requirements for that protocol include:
- In addition to daily PCR testing, all players and Tier 1 and 2 individuals must receive a daily POC test and test negative before entering the facility and commencing daily activities. This includes PCR and POC tests on game day.
- All meetings must occur virtually unless held outdoors or in an indoor facility with masks being worn by all.
- Whenever possible, activities will take place either outdoors or in large, open spaces.
- PPE/face masks must be worn on the practice fields by players and staff at all times – no exceptions. Oakley face shields affixed to helmets are permitted to be worn during practice and/or walk-thrus.
- Players may remove helmet/mask for breaks but should be greater than 6 feet distant from each other when unprotected.
- Gloves should also be worn on field by all players except quarterbacks who may leave the throwing hand uncovered.
- Players receiving medical treatment or rehabilitation must wear a mask and face shield. Medical providers must wear the same as well as gloves.
- Rehab that involves cardio work may be done out of doors with player unmasked as long as they are by themselves or supervised by one therapist at an appropriate distance.
- The weight room will be limited to no more than 10 players at any time regardless of the size of the room. Other personnel in the weight room are limited to five total when players are present. PPE is required.
- The facility will be deep cleaned daily.
- No team or player gatherings or group football activities will be permitted away from the facility.
- Club ICOs must review close contact information provided by IQVIA with the club general manager and coach on a daily basis.
Over the weekend, Mercedes-Benz Stadium welcomed back some fans in the largest test yet for its cleaning procedures amid the pandemic.
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 22: General view of the interior of Mercedes-Benz Stadium from an elevated position before an NFL regular season game against the New York Giants and the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 22, 2018, in Atlanta,
The stadium introduced new safety and sanitization practices, including the use of drones, to keep patrons safe.
The stadium planned to introduce drones in the Spring of this year for window cleaning but repurposed the technology to clean the entire seating bowl in five hours -- a job that typically takes 15 times longer.