/What If? Life in the NBA Orlando Bubble

What If? Life in the NBA Orlando Bubble

It’s the last thing anyone wants to see happen, but there is a strong possibility that an NBA player, coach, or staffer will contract the COVID-19 virus once the league resumes play in Orlando. 

The NBA has put in motion a return to play to finish out the 2019-20 season by inviting 22 teams to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Teams will head to the site in July with the first games scheduled for July 31.

But, what if a player tests positive for the coronavirus that started this whole mess? It’s a great question and one that the league spent a great deal of time on before deciding to resume the season.

Should someone test positive, there is protocol consisting of several steps to follow. After a confirmed positive test result, the individual will be place in “Isolation Housing.” An area on the resort – a house, hotel, or other facility – will be designated for those who have tested positive. This area will not be near the individual’s original room and will be separate from everyone else.

To ensure there is not a false positive reading, a second test will be administered once the individual reports to Isolation Housing. If the second test is also positive, the individual will remain in Isolation Housing. 

Should the second test come back negative, the person will be administered a third test within 24 to 48 hours of the first test. If that third test is negative, the individual can re-enter the NBA campus. If the third test is positive, the individual would remain in isolation.

The protocol states that two negative tests within a span of 24 hours means a player can leave isolation. That does not mean the player can resume play. According to CDC guidelines, players do not have to quarantine after two negative tests, but they do have to undergo cardiac screening. That means a player must wait two weeks from the first positive test before resuming play.

Everyone who shows up in Orlando must certify in writing they will follow the league’s protocols. Each team will be permitted 37 people inside the NBA campus. There will be 15 to 17 players, 18-20 support staff, a public relations person, and a content creator. Teams will share medical and training staff.