Bills delay practice after dealing with COVID-19 testing irregularities


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) -Several teams are dealing with COVID-19 testing irregularities from the same laboratory in New Jersey and the Bills are one of them.

In response to this, the Bills delayed practice by an hour and had many players sit out of practice as a result of the positive tests which the league is investigating to see whether or not these are false positives.

If they are false positives, those Bills players who sat out of practice Sunday can return on Monday after providing two negative tests in a row.

The NFL released this statement:

“Saturday’s daily COVID testing returned several positives tests from each of the clubs serviced by the same laboratory in New Jersey.  We are working with our testing partner, BioReference, to investigate these results, while the clubs work to confirm or rule out the positive tests.  Clubs are taking immediate precautionary measures as outlined in the NFL-NFLPA’s health and safety protocols to include contact tracing, isolation of individuals and temporarily adjusting the schedule, where appropriate.  The other laboratories used for NFL testing have not had similar results.”

Bills general manager Brandon Beane could not say which players were dealing with this but said any player that was not at practice and did not show up on a prior injury report is one of them.

Beane addressed the media before practice on a zoom call to explain how they’re handling the situation.

“They get a point of care test here today which those have been negative as long as they’re negative tomorrow those guys can come back in. The protocol says you have to have two negatives after a positive to return so assuming that all of these ‘false positives’ come back negative again tonight or all of the time we get these in the middle of the night then we let these players know they can come back tomorrow morning ready to roll,” GM Brandon Beane said.

Even though this happened, Beane said it doesn’t shake his confidence in the lab they’ve been using.

“I’m sure they’ll get to the bottom of what happened now if it was happening a lot I think that would start to shake anyone’s confidence but we’ve been using them for a month or so now and this is the first time this seems to have happened,” Bean explained.

“Sean and I will always err on the side of caution and that’s what we did whenever it was three plus weeks ago when we sent everybody home. We’re still feeling this out even though it is a month in but as I sit here today I just look at is as something went wrong in this lab it sounds like and we’ll adjust and hopefully guys who did have these positives that are having to sit out hopefully they’ll be able to be negative on the next test and be able to come back tomorrow and join the team,” Beane said.

The Bills open the season in three weeks when they host the Jets which has a number of questions come up about how to handle these types of issues on game day.

“My question immediately would be if you realize it’s a lab issue would a point of care test on the game site if it was negative would that allow the player to play? And I don’t have that answer but that’s the question that we’ll have to see how the league would respond to that and they might not even know that answer yet so definitely probably better that this happened now than three weeks from now,” Beane said.

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