Colts Report False Coronavirus Positives and Patriots Call Off Practice


The Indianapolis Colts on Friday briefly joined the growing group of N.F.L. teams dealing with a potential outbreak of coronavirus cases. Hours later, though, the team announced that the “four individuals” who tested positive for the virus had been re-tested and confirmed to be negative.

After the Colts said they were closing their practice facility, the New England Patriots — who had just emerged from a virus-inflicted week off — canceled their Friday practice session after recording one new positive. A second New England player initially tested positive as well on Friday, but the follow-up screening yielded a negative result.

The confusion in Indianapolis mirrored a similar series of events last Friday involving the Jets, who closed and then quickly reopened their training facility after an initial positive result was not confirmed in a second test. The uncertainty and disruption also cast new doubt on the reliance on rapid testing to spot, and prevent, virus outbreaks as the league plows ahead with its schedule.

The rash of false positives echoed several other incidents that have made headlines in recent months. In August, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio tested positive on a rapid test, only to confirm thrice by a laboratory test that he did not have the coronavirus. And on Oct. 2, officials in Nevada issued a statewide directive to nursing homes to halt use of two government-issued rapid tests that had produced a concerning number of false positives that could not be confirmed by more reliable tests. Under pressure from the federal government, the state reversed the order a week later.


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