With little more than a week remaining before it returns to action, MLS announced Sunday that the league has 26 positive COVID-19 tests out of 668 taken among players and staff.
There were 24 positive tests prior to teams heading to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla., for the MLS is Back Tournament, with two more positives once teams started arriving for the World Cup-style tournament.
Among the initial 24 positive tests, 18 were MLS players with the other six to staff members.
Tests began among players and staff when teams returned to full training on June 4. The numbers equate to a 2.7 percent positivity rate, compared to the 5.3 percent rate for NBA players ahead of that league’s return in late July.
The two positive results in Orlando were out of 329 tests among five teams in the city thus far: Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, Minnesota United, Orlando City SC and the San Jose Earthquakes. None of the players or staff who tested positive were identified.
Anybody who tests positive will be moved to a hotel isolation area to receive medical care and follow-up testing until receiving a clean bill of health.
MLS has no plans, as of yet, to cancel or postpone the tournament, which will be played among the league’s 26 teams. Group play will be followed by a knockout stage.
The tournament is set to kick off July 8, with Orlando City facing expansion Inter Miami FC. The semifinals will take place Aug. 5-6, followed by the final on Aug. 11.
Each MLS team had played just two games when the season was suspended in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.