Wednesday morning, the Columbus Crew provided an update on COVID-19 testing with the announcement that one more player received a positive coronavirus test. That means currently eight Crew players have received positive tests over the last week and a half. The most recent positive test came at the beginning of the week with Tuesday’s round of testing returning no new positive cases.
The club confirmed that daily testing for all players and members of the coaching staff will continue in preparation for Sunday’s Eastern Conference Final against the New England Revolution. With the news of a new positive case amongst the players, the team is not holding training this Wednesday while the facility will undergo a deep cleaning and sanitization. Last week, the Crew did not have any kind of training for two days before playing Nashville SC. Most of the Black & Gold’s preparation for the MLS Cup playoffs game was limited to individual training on the field rather than team training or film study.
Once the team does return to training, indoor interaction between players will be limited to avoid a higher chance of virus spread. The club will limit interaction to on-field training with medical experts recommending, based on research, that COVID-19 does not spread as easily outdoors as it does in an indoor setting.
Last week in the build-up to the Nashville match at MAPFRE Stadium, seven Crew players received positive COVID-19 tests and did not feature in the match. Those seven players along with the most recent individual that has COVID-19 have remained and will remain in isolation. The Crew’s medical staff is closely monitoring all individuals in isolation.
This is the third instance during the 2020 season the Crew has dealt with positive COVID-19 tests. The Black & Gold had a player test positive early in Orlando, Florida prior to the MLS is Back Tournament in July. That player had to quarantine away from the team before he was cleared to play. Columbus then had to postpone the team’s Oct. 11 game against Orlando City SC game after two staff members, not coaches, tested positive for the virus two days prior to the game.
COVID-19 cases in Franklin County ballooned in an upward trend throughout most of November, causing the county to reach Level 4, the most severe level of spread and exposure of COVID-19. In recent days, cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Columbus have started to decline. The city of Columbus is currently under a stay-at-home advisory that will last through much of December. This has affected the Crew’s decision making for fan attendance in the playoffs. Neither the match against the Red Bulls or Nashville SC allowed public fans to attend.
Sunday’s game against the New England Revolution will have fans in attendance as announced by the club on Wednesday morning.
At the time of this writing, the Crew is still scheduled to play New England for a chance to play in the MLS Cup Final at 3 p.m. ET on ABC.
Massive Report will continue to provide updates on this story as they become available.