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NBA players not vaccinated, staff must test weekly for COVID

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Unvaccinated NBA players and team personnel must undergo weekly COVID-19 testing this season, the league told its clubs in a memo Tuesday.

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There will be certain exceptions to that mandate, the league said, such as when the unvaccinated person is considered to have been “recently recovered” from COVID-19.

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But for everyone else, testing won’t be necessary except when “directed by their team physician or a league physician or government authority,” the league said. Face masks will also not be required, although they are recommended for indoor use in markets where coronavirus levels are classified as high by government officials.

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The policy for the upcoming season – endorsed by the National Basketball Players Association – has been developed over the past few weeks and is consistent with what commissioner Adam Silver said last month.

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“It looks like we’ll be on our normal path when it comes to the start of the season, when it comes to our protocols around the game, especially when it comes to the health and safety of our players,” Silver said during of the meeting of the league’s board of governors in mid-July. “I’ve learned over the past 2 1/2 years not to make predictions when it comes to COVID, just say we’ll be ready for whatever comes up.”

The overwhelming majority of NBA players and team personnel were vaccinated last season, and the league said it strongly urges those individuals to stay up to date with their vaccination status. This means not only having received all doses of the initial series of vaccinations, but also all the boosters recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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All players and team personnel will be required to get tested when they show symptoms, and they will be required to report those symptoms, as well as any positive or inconclusive results from tests not administered by the team or league. Players and staff will also be required to report when a member of their household tests positive for COVID-19.