Detroit Lions stay vigilant about testing as NFL’s COVID list shrinks

Four more players came off the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, bringing the number of players on the list down to five league-wide.
But even as the number of infections continues to shrink, Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia said teams must remain vigilant about their coronavirus protocols.
“I’d say for us, I probably have blinders on, probably just head down, worrying about our building and just trying to make sure that we educate our guys continually,” Patricia said. “Certainly coming off of player day-offs and things where they maybe have a little bit more free time, just making sure that we continually educate everybody on what’s important to be done, to be safe and to keep everybody safe.
“From that aspect of it, we’re just kind of taking it day-by-day as it goes, and we’ll see how all the testing goes and how it works. For us right now, I think the guys feel like we’re doing the right things, we have to continue to do that so that we can get out there and go compete.”
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The Lions placed eight players on the reserve/COVID-19 list during the opening week of training camp, but have not had a player test positive since Matthew Stafford on July 31.
The team later said he had a false positive, and the NFL changed its testing protocols to account for “unconfirmed positives,” like the situation with Stafford.
Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye, who spent 10 days on the reserve/COVID-19 list, declined to discuss his battle with the virus Thursday.
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“I’d rather just leave that where it was at,” he said. “I don’t like really talking about the past and stuff. I kind of just, I’m healthy and good, here in the building right now practicing with all the guys, so that’s kind of what I’m focused on right now.”
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NFL players will be tested daily for the novel coronavirus through at least the end of the month.
Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said Wednesday the league and its players association remain in ongoing conversations about continuing daily testing during the regular season.
“We can never be lulled into the position of thinking that because we’re testing and people are negative, now we don’t have to wear PPE or we don’t have to do physical distance,” he said. “So I think there is a delicate balance to have there but those are active and ongoing conversations that we have together with the players union and with all of our advisers, and it’s something that we will certainly consider along the way. I do expect, as I’ve said before, that our testing protocol will evolve and will change throughout the course of the six-month season because of what we’re learning along the way.”
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