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NFL reports largest in-season COVID-19 surge with 56 positives

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NFL reports largest in-season COVID-19 surge with 56 positives
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald (89) on Monday became one of the latest NFL players to test positive for COVID-19 as the league has reported a spike in cases. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Fifty-six NFL team employees -- 15 players and 41 staff members -- tested positive for COVID-19 from Nov. 1 to Saturday, more than twice the number of cases reported at any other time this season.

The league and players union reported the latest test results on Tuesday. A previous league-high of 26 positive cases was reported from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3. That surge in cases included the Tennessee Titans COVID-19 outbreak, which kept the team off the field for more than two weeks, included two dozen positive cases and altered the NFL schedule for several teams.

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NFL officials and the union have since strengthened safety measures within the league's COVID-19 protocol.

Players and staff members who test positive must be isolated and are not permitted access to team facilities or to have direct contact with players or personnel. Individual team medical staffs also remain in communication with those who test positive to monitor their symptoms.

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NFL teams administered a total of 42,978 COVID-19 tests to 7,922 players and personnel as part of the latest round of tests. The league has now reported 218 confirmed positive cases -- 78 players and 140 staff members -- as part of its monitoring testing period from Aug. 1 to Saturday.

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About 600,000 tests have been administered to players and staff members as part of the same time period.

NFL team owners on Tuesday also approved a contingency plan to expand the league's playoff field from 14 to 16 teams if any games are canceled because of COVID-19.

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The NFL has yet to cancel a game in 2020 due to COVID-19, but has rescheduled more 14 matchups due to positive COVID-19 cases since the start of the season.

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