We’ll start with the bad news. NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill first reported on Monday that several New Orleans Saints offensive assistant coaches tested positive for COVID-19, which ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed on Tuesday. Breakthrough infections are rare (unvaccinated NFL personnel have been seven times more likely to contract COVID-19 than those vaccinated), but they aren’t unheard of. Because the entire Saints coaching staff is vaccinated, the infected coaches must return two negative test results on consecutive days before being cleared to return.
In the meantime, they’re conducting position meetings virtually while the team continues enhanced mitigation protocols — identifying close contacts of the breakthrough cases, mandatory masks around the facility, daily testing, things of that nature. While New Orleans’ coaches have achieved a 100% vaccination rate, a handful of players remain unvaccinated, and the immediate concern is an infection spreading throughout the roster.
For now, it’s business as usual as the team prepares for its Week 2 road game with the Carolina Panthers. It’s a situation to monitor, but maybe not something to fret about. Schefter cited one Saints source as saying, “We’ll be just fine.”
Update: Schefter later reported that the group of positive COVID-19 cases has grown to include six coaches and a team nutrionist, all vaccinated, as well as a player — who NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports is on the injured reserve list. The Saints will continue testing all players, coaches and staff members daily, so stay tuned for further updates.
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