sunny.png
Tuesday June 15th, 2021 9:36AM

As Florida virus test numbers rise, NBA prepares for Disney

By The Associated Press

The rate of positive coronavirus tests in the Orlando, Florida, area has been soaring in recent days. The NBA hopes that doesn’t matter.

After spending weeks putting together an incredibly elaborate series of health and safety protocols — the word “testing” appears 282 times in the document — the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association believe they have done what’s necessary for the health and safety of the 22 teams and others that will be part of the season restart at the Disney campus near Orlando next month.

Ready or not, basketball is almost back.

“No one is suggesting that this is going to be an infection-free, guaranteed environment,” NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told The Associated Press. “I guess, unless we go to ... well, where would we go? What state has the lowest rate? There’s just no way of finding a sterile environment probably on this planet, but certainly, not in this country.”

Among the details that were included in the protocols released to teams Tuesday night: players will be invited to wear what the league calls a “proximity alarm” that will set off an audio alert when the person is within 6 feet of another person for more than five seconds and therefore not following social distancing guidelines, plus they can choose to wear a ring that will generate “a wellness assessment derived from metrics such as body temperature and respiratory and heart rate.”

Players and staff also will be given thermometers and a pulse oximeter so they can track their data and record it on the league’s daily health platform.

“I am optimistic about the NBA’s return-to-play policies and procedures,” said Denver coach Michael Malone, who found out last month that he had already beaten COVID-19 after an antibody test showed he had the virus. “They are going to do whatever it takes to make this the safest environment as possible. There are no guarantees and there will be a risk, but I feel confident in the measures to be taken pre-Orlando and once in Orlando.”

True, there will be a risk.

And the league acknowledges that no plan can be perfect.

“These Protocols are designed to promote prevention and mitigation strategies to reduce exposure to, and transmission of, the coronavirus,” the league said. “However, it is possible that staff, players, or other participants in the resumption of the 2019-20 season nonetheless may test positive or contract the coronavirus.”

But by following strict rules — including regular testing, no leaving the Disney campus without returning to quarantine, no unauthorized guests, no family members being permitted to arrive until late August and, though this likely didn’t need to be said, no spitting on the court — the NBA and the NBPA hope the risk is minimal as teams prepare for a Disney stay that could exceed three months for the teams that make the NBA Finals.

“It’ll still probably bother everybody that we’re not home,” Miami center Bam Adebayo said. “But at the end of the day, we’ll be happy to play basketball.”

The NBA’s arrival at Disney is looming as the rate of positive tests around the state is rising, and officials such as Gov. Ron DeSantis are facing criticism for re-opening many parts of the state’s economy. But if NBA players aren’t venturing out among the public, the hope is that no matter what’s going on beyond Disney’s fences, the quasi-bubble for basketball won’t be affected.

The rate of positive tests in Orange County, which includes Orlando, in the seven-day period ending Tuesday was 6.5%. For the seven days immediately preceding that, it was 2.5% — meaning the rate has more than doubled in a one-week span.

For tests conducted Tuesday, state officials said that Orange County's positive rate was 11.9% — almost 10 times the rate of 1.4% recorded as recently as June 3.

“It’s concerning but not surprising,” Roberts said. “I’ve watched this governor behave as if the virus is an inconvenience as opposed to a virus. So I guess watching the way the state is adhering or not adhering to CDC guidelines, it’s not surprising that these numbers would go up.”

DeSantis has said Florida’s rising numbers reflects more testing and other factors, though the percentage of positive tests is also significantly higher than was the case just a couple of weeks ago across the state and in the Orlando area.

The state’s agriculture commissioner, Nikki Fried, tweeted Tuesday that DeSantis “has lost control” of Florida’s response to the pandemic and recklessly reopened the state “despite the data screaming for caution.”

DeSantis is a Republican; Fried is the only elected Democrat to hold a statewide office.

“My solace is that our guys are not going to be out and about in the city of Orlando,” Roberts said. “The players will be flown in noncommercial, and they will essentially be on campus for the entirety of their stay until such time as their season ends.”

___

AP Sports Writer Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this report.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Business, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Senate GOP proposes policing changes in 'Justice Act'
Senate Republicans have unveiled proposed changes to police procedures and accountability , countering Democratic policing legislation with a bill that stays clear of federal mandates
12:03PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Atlanta awaits decision on charges in black man's killing
Atlanta is awaiting a decision on whether the district attorney will pursue charges against two police officers in the shooting death of a black man, Rayshard Brooks
12:01PM ( 13 minutes ago )
The Latest: Virus pandemic changes shape of UN elections
The president of the United Nations General Assembly has banged his gavel to open U.N. elections under dramatically different voting procedures because of the coronavirus pandemic
11:55AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
As Florida virus test numbers rise, NBA prepares for Disney
The rate of positive coronavirus tests in the Orlando, Florida, area has been soaring in recent days
11:29AM ( 44 minutes ago )
The Latest: French Open moves another week later on calendar
The French Open already was postponed from May to September because of the coronavirus pandemic and now is being pushed back an additional week
11:21AM ( 52 minutes ago )
The Latest: Rogers Cup men’s tennis tournament pushed to '21
The Rogers Cup men’s tennis tournament in Canada won’t be played in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic
11:12AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
As Florida test numbers rise, the NBA prepares for Disney
The rate of positive coronavirus tests in the Orlando, Florida, area has been soaring in recent days
2:13AM ( 10 hours ago )
NBA lays out its vision for Disney restart to teams, players
Here’s some of what awaits NBA players going to Disney next month: game rooms, golf course access, cabanas with misters to combat the heat, fishing areas, bowling, backstage tours and salon services
10:18PM ( 13 hours ago )
The Latest: 32 positive virus tests for Superdome workers
Superdome officials say positive COVID-19 tests have come back for 32 of 275 workers contracted to perform renovations at the stadium in New Orleans
7:20PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Watchdogs warn of strain on agencies from pandemic response
A new oversight board is warning about the strain of the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. government
11:41AM ( 32 minutes ago )
France sentences Syrian leader's uncle for money laundering
An uncle of Syrian President Bashar Assad was sentenced to four years in prison in France for illegally using Syrian state funds to build a French real estate empire
11:36AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Swedish lawmakers honor virus victims; citizens denied entry
Sweden’s lawmakers have held a memorial service for the more than 5,000 people with COVID-19 who have died in a country that declined to implement the strict lockdown measures widely adopted in Europe
11:20AM ( 53 minutes ago )
AP Business
Heat is on: Hectic NASCAR tests drained drivers at Homestead
Some fans will be back
11:46AM ( 4 days ago )
NBA gives teams, players more detailed schedule for restart
The NBA has given teams a more definitive timetable for the restart to the pandemic-interrupted season
5:26PM ( 4 days ago )
Jordan talks to Hornets about being uncomfortable, winning
Hornets players say team owner Michael Jordan recently spoke to them about what it takes to be a champion
6:56PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Senate GOP proposes policing changes in 'Justice Act'
Senate Republicans have unveiled proposed changes to police procedures and accountability , countering Democratic policing legislation with a bill that stays clear of federal mandates
12:03PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Atlanta awaits decision on charges in black man's killing
Atlanta is awaiting a decision on whether the district attorney will pursue charges against two police officers in the shooting death of a black man, Rayshard Brooks
12:01PM ( 13 minutes ago )
The Latest: Virus pandemic changes shape of UN elections
The president of the United Nations General Assembly has banged his gavel to open U.N. elections under dramatically different voting procedures because of the coronavirus pandemic
11:55AM ( 18 minutes ago )
New video offers closer view of police SUV hitting black man
A second video has emerged that appears to show a police SUV driven by a white suburban St. Louis police officer striking a black suspect and knocking the man to the ground as he screams in pain
11:51AM ( 23 minutes ago )
The Latest: Russian soccer club goes into isolation
Russian soccer club FC Rostov says its entire team and staff will go into isolation for two weeks after six players gave anomalous results in testing for the coronavirus
11:49AM ( 24 minutes ago )