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NFL: Union, league agree to daily COVID-19 testing through September 5

(Reuters) - NFL players can expect daily COVID-19 testing through Sept. 5, the players’ union said on Wednesday ahead of the season kickoff next month.

FILE PHOTO: The NFL logo is pictured at an event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The league has conducted 109,075 COVID-19 tests among players, staff and coaches since the start of training camps through Tuesday, NFL Chief Medical Officer Allen Sills told reporters on Wednesday, with an overall positive rate 0.46% and a positive rate among players of 0.81%.

Sills said a total of 53 new infections were confirmed among players when they arrived at training camp last month.

Sills added that he was not aware of any individual who was “seriously ill” from COVID-19, adding that not every positive necessarily meant a person was “actively infected.”

“Our goal is all the same: to have the safest possible environment for everyone,” Sills said. “We want to try to ensure that there’s no one - player, coach, staff member, official, anyone - who steps onto a field with an active COVID infection.”

The league continues to enforce social-distancing measures ahead of its Sept. 10 season start.

More than 60 players have opted out of playing this season, according to media reports, amid the coronavirus pandemic that upended much of daily life this year.

The Washington Football Team said on Tuesday it would not allow any fans to attend out of an “abundance of caution,” but added that it would re-evaluate the decision if conditions improved.

The New Orleans Saints said on Wednesday that they would not permit attendees at their Sept. 13 home opener, becoming the latest franchise to limit spectators at games, adding that they would “continuously monitor trends” to evaluate whether they could welcome fans at their Sept. 27 home game against the Green Bay Packers.

“Although the current guidance we have received from our government leaders suggest this to be unlikely, we remain prepared to host fans if allowed,” the team said in a written statement.

But the Dallas Cowboys, which in July was again ranked by Forbes as the most valuable sports team in the world, “plan on playing all of our football games and we plan on playing them in front of our fans” at AT&T Stadium, owner Jerry Jones told reporters on Wednesday.

“Our safety precautions that we are doing won’t be unfamiliar to a lot of people when we look at the general protocol of the country,” Jones said.

Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris and Gerry Doyle

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