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.