Vaccinated NBA players and coaches who are asymptomatic can now lift quarantine after six days if COVID-19 test data shows they are no longer at risk of infection, according to a note distributed to teams on Monday and obtained by ESPN .
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed to changes that will replace a protocol requiring league staff to wait 10 days to test out of quarantine when returning to competition. The new protocol includes players, coaches, staff and referees.
Individuals can also still perform out-of-quarantine tests with two negative results 24 hours apart.
NBA players are testing positive and are heading into quarantine at an unprecedented rate. As of Monday afternoon, 214 players had entered the league’s health and safety protocols this season, with 201 in December and 170 in the past two weeks. Six NBA head coaches have entered into protocols this season, all in December.
Twenty-eight players entered Protocols on Sunday, a new one-day high for the season, eclipsing the previous record of 17 on December 17-23. Monday, which saw 13 players and two head coaches entering Protocols, marked the 12 day in the past 14 that there have been double-digit player additions to the Protocol roster.
As of Monday, 541 NBA players have played at least one game this season, setting the record for most in one season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
The league has started a two-week post-Christmas test increase which is expected to continue to return a significant number of positive tests.
This reduction in quarantine time should have an immediate impact on the status of many players who are already in Protocols.
Players are considered to have tested positive on day zero, so they would be back to play on day seven if they meet the new standard. The data shows that people who are boosted continue to clear the virus from their systems at a much faster rate than those who are not, league sources told ESPN.
The decision to shorten the quarantine to six days, sources say, is based on research and data from experts – including that from the league – indicating that no one with a cycle threshold (TC) above 35 is was found to be contagious again after five or six days, according to sources.
Computed tomography measures the number of times a test must be repeated to find the virus in an individual. For example, a 35 CT is lower than a 20 CT. The NBA and NBPA drew on data from the league’s own infectious disease experts, the CDC and models and research in the UK.
In addition to relying on its own experts, the NBA is also taking advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which announced on Monday that it would shorten its recommended isolation period for people who test positive for COVID to five. days instead of 10 if they are asymptomatic. .
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently told ESPN’s Malika Andrews on The NBA Today that the omicron variant was responsible for 90% of the league’s recent COVID cases.