The Toronto Raptors players, coaches and staff have been advised to go into self-isolation for 14 days on Friday.
The news comes after the National Basketball Association (NBA) suspended its season after a Utah Jazz player “preliminarily” tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
“The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena,” the NBA said in a statement shared Wednesday evening.
“At that time, tonight’s game was cancelled. The affected player was not in the arena.”
The Raptors released a statement Friday confirming the self-isolation and that the focus is on the safety of the “players, staff, fans and the media who cover the team.”
“The Toronto Raptors played the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Monday night, and as is usual during an NBA game, the players were in close physical contact,” the statement read. “On Wednesday evening, testing revealed that a Jazz player tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.”
The team said “out of an abundance of caution” that players and whoever travelled with them were tested for coronavirus. They said they are waiting on the results.
The statement acknowledged that two Raptors members — head coach Nick Nurse and forward Norm Powell — made two public appearances since coming back from Utah.
“According to Toronto Public Health, being in close contact with someone who does not have COVID-19, but was exposed to someone with COVID-19, does not constitute a risk for getting COVID-19 and does not require public health follow up,” the statement said, adding those who were at the events should still monitor their health and see a doctor if any symptoms begin to be displayed.
“The Raptors are very grateful to our community of fans, friends, and family for their support through this season, and for their understanding as we face this unprecedented situation together.”
There are currently 59 coronavirus cases in Ontario.
Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), who owns the Raptors, issued a statement Thursday evening which stated it is in full support of the league’s decision.
“We are fully engaged with each League as they continually work with public health officials to determine next steps and make decisions related to their operations,” the statement read. “MLSE will be an active and supportive partner in those conversations.”
“The health and safety of our fans, teams, employees and the general public is our highest priority at all times,” said Michael Friisdahl, President & CEO of MLSE. “As we work through this difficult and unprecedented situation, we are thankful for the understanding and support we have received from our fans and partners, including our Leagues and the live entertainment community.
The company said it is currently finalizing programs which will assist its close to 4,000 part-time and event staff.
“In addition to the suspension of the NBA, NHL and MLS seasons at Scotiabank Arena and BMO Field, and current touring arena shows domestically and internationally, Toronto Rock Lacrosse games and private events at the venues have also been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MLSE LaunchPad will also suspend operations to protect users of the facility.”View link »