Major League Baseball plans to implement extensive COVID-19 testing for players and team employees ahead of its 60-game regular season, according to an operations manual obtained by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic.
The process will be broken up into three phases - prescreening, arrival screening, and regular monitoring - with most diagnostic testing done through saliva.
The "covered individuals" will submit a questionnaire regarding symptoms and exposure a few days prior to arrival. Shortly thereafter, they will be subject to a temperature check and a saliva or nose-swab test for diagnosis as well as a blood test for antibodies.
After that, the individuals will have their temperatures and symptoms tested at least twice daily. All uniformed employees, plus trainers and physical therapists, will undergo saliva tests every other day.
The frequency of the tests can change depending on need.
If someone is found to have a temperature above 100.4 degrees, they will not be allowed to enter a ballpark and will be required to self-isolate. It's up to the teams to identify people who had close contact with employees who either show symptoms or test positive.
Anyone who tests positive must remain in daily communication with the team from a remote location, as they won't be permitted to travel with or be around other covered individuals. They will have to test negative twice at least 24 hours apart, not exhibit a fever for 72 hours, and take an antibody test in order to return.
An additional COVID-19 injured list will be implemented for this season. It will not include a minimum or maximum length.
Other safety protocols will include a ban on spitting, smokeless tobacco, and sunflower seeds. Physical contact must be avoided and regular hand washing will be mandated. Showering at ballparks is "discouraged but not prohibited" but only for uniformed personnel.
Several players and team employees throughout the league have already tested positive for COVID-19. Most recently, outfielder Charlie Blackmon was identified as one of three Colorado Rockies to test positive for the coronavirus.