(WTNH) — The biggest concern in professional sports during the COVID-19 pandemic is how to keep players and staff healthy and safe – from travel to game day. The same holds true for Hartford Athletic, who will be traveling to one of Connecticut’s travel advisory states this week.
“We’ve got testing with the players once a week, with results coming in 48 to 72 hours; and if we don’t get those results, they don’t go forward and play,” said Jim Burda, CEO of Hartford Athletic.
Most of Hartford’s opponents are nearby, mainly Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but this week the team heads to Indiana — which is on the long list of travel advisory states that require a two-week quarantine upon return. However, because of the team’s (and league’s) strict protocols, they’ll be able to play later this week as long as there are no COVID-19 positive test results.
“For example, as we go on the road this week, players pretty much go to their living quarters, when they’re out of those living quarters they’re in masks and gloves without exception, they come straight here to practice and when practice is done, they go back to their living quarters,” said Burda.
The USL Championship League has seen a few positive tests since play resumed weeks ago but those cases have stayed isolated — and the league credits those strict protocols.
“Contact-tracing, quarantine, and isolation, follow up testing, and quite a few other techniques to make sure teams are addressing positive tests when they arise, however rare, and taking care of people,” said Ryan Madden, VP of Communication for USL.
If a player, in Hartford or anywhere in the league, tests positive for COVID 19, that protocol includes the potential to postpone games, but the league says there’s plenty of time built into their schedules to make up for that.