Restart Notes: COVID-19 Testing, Campus Hotline, More

There has been some concern that the daily coronavirus testing taking place in the NBA’s Walt Disney World – as well as the quick turnaround on those test results – has placed some strain on BioReference Laboratories’ testing capacities for the general public. However, Dr. Jon R. Cohen of BioReference insists to Joe Vardon of The Athletic that that’s not the case.

“Our current capacity is somewhere in the vicinity of 50,000 to 70,000 tests a day,” Cohen said. “So the amount of testing we’re doing for the sports franchises is minimal compared to our total number of testing.

“Secondly, we have continued to increase the amount of testing not just nationally, but specifically in the state of Florida. So I have hospitals, urgent care, physicians, all of these other clients in Florida, and not only did we bring more equipment to the lab in Florida, but we devoted more resources. I will tell you in the last two weeks, we’re doing more testing in Florida than we did two weeks beforehand. Hospitals, urgent care, all of that has increased, and we’ve done it without missing a beat.”

The optics of the NBA getting preferential treatment has been a cause for concern for the league since March, when the Jazz and Thunder were able to get tested immediately following Rudy Gobert’s diagnosis. In the four months since then, nationwide testing has ramped up greatly, meaning the NBA’s extensive testing program at Disney is no longer the outlier it once would have been.

Here’s more on the NBA’s restart:

  • Multiple tips have been placed to the NBA’s anonymous hotline to report campus protocol violations, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links). According to Charania, some players have received warnings for those violations.
  • According to Malika Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link), the NBA is working on addressing concerns about players who continue to test positive for COVID-19 despite having already recovered. Teams are concerned about the possibility of false positives sidelining healthy players once games begin, says Andrews.
  • In his latest newsletter, Marc Stein of The New York Times outlines the restrictions that will face the 15 or 20 NBA reporters who are on location (and currently self-quarantining) at Walt Disney World.
  • ESPN provides a roundup of quotes from players and coaches about life on the Disney campus.
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7 thoughts on “Restart Notes: COVID-19 Testing, Campus Hotline, More

  1. HubcapDiamondStarHalo


    1) “Multiple tips have been placed to the NBA’s anonymous hotline to report campus protocol violations…”
    Do those involved with this bubble not realize that this is by FAR the biggest threat to the success of the restart? Do they realize the potential consequences?

    2) “Teams are concerned about the possibility of false positives sidelining healthy players once games begin…”
    Another statement that seems to support the attitude that “cash is far more important than people.” If it were vice versa, the league would err on the side of caution EVERY time.

  2. nentwigs

    Enthusiasm for the restart is decidedly underwhelming. From both fans and players.

  3. El Don

    Reality is that a lot of positive tests are false ones. What is the point? If a player is healthy should play, it is what it is, don’t see the need to quarantine healthy young super athletes, right?

  4. Buckman

    You name a test and there are going to be false positives and false negatives. Different tests have different probabilities for each. COVID is new so still being refined. The only way to confirm either way is to retest.

    If a test has a 1% chance of a false positive or false negative that means if 400 people are tested then 4 will show up in each category. A re-test would clear it up.

    In the current situation, both have consequences but the false negative could lead to an outbreak within Bubbletown or anywhere else.

    • Buckman

      Math check: We have to assume a rate of infection so out of 400, let’s assume 10 are infected. So out of the 390 uninfected, there will be 3-4 false positives. Of the 10 infected, the odds are that you will get them all with one test. Testing 2x almost assures it for a small population and will weed out the false positives.

  5. x%sure

    Cohen of Bioreference is going all out to pacify, perhaps to pivot the issue to favor the interest of his revenue source. I read the article and did not see where he might realize he’s just employing rhetoric, not pertinent truth. That could be Vardon’s fault in not being skeptical enough. Cohen brags about his capacity but wants to ignore that regular patients often have to wait two weeks for a result once a test is ordered, making the results too slow to matter, not to mention prioritizing the wrong patients.
    What difference does his capacity mean, comparitively?

    I feel like having to consol him. Too bad things did not go optimistically world-wide, but cheer up, that would just mean more business for a testing lab.

    It’s amazing how unable to adapt America is. Probably by this time the world is more surprised about that than the c19 itself. I recall the international reaction to the ‘floods’ in NOLA in about 2003… everyone thought we were better than that helplessmess. Insuranse companies refused to cover, calling them backflows or something.

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