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With COVID-19 surging across the country, the NBA is significantly scaling back its testing of players, coaches and other major employees.
The league informed teams on Thursday that daily COVID-19 testing for Tier 1 personnel will cease after Saturday, though employees will remain subject to testing if they are symptomatic, recently exposed to an infected person or under the league's enhanced directive.
Players who are unvaccinated or are eligible for the booster, but have not yet received it, will remain under daily testing through Feb. 17.
Further clarification: Players who remain unvaccinated or eligible for booster will remain under daily surveillance and game day testing through Feb. 17.
Number of player and staff cases have declined substantially recently — and 100 percent of staff have received booster. https://t.co/CTE9In9viO
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 14, 2022
Players and coaches testing positive for COVID-19 has been a regular occurrence across the league this season. Per ESPN's Baxter Holmes, more than 300 NBA players have entered health and safety protocols and more than 500 of the league's 2,400 Tier 1 employees (essentially players and staff who work in close contact with players) have been confirmed cases.
Those cases have created real issues for several teams. The NBA recently rescheduled 11 games postponed in December due to teams not having enough players for a game, and the Toronto Raptors are back to playing games in an empty arena.
The NBA had previously adjusted to its crush of positive tests amid the Omicron variant's surge by reducing the number of days a vaccinated player testing positive has to wait to return from 10 days to six days.