Since the beginning of December, more than 300 players have entered protocols, per ESPN. Thankfully, the number of players joining the list has decreased in recent weeks. Daily surveillance testing for players, coachers and “Tier 1” team staffers will be over as of Saturday, Jan. 15 according to The Athletic. More than 500 tier 1 staffers have tested positive for COVID-19 this season, according to ESPN.
Another change: Some players can now clear health and safety protocols and return to play as soon as five days after testing positive, provided that they are asymptomatic, vaccinated and likely not contagious. Between the tweaked return-to-play policy and the new rule mandating teams to use hardship exceptions when multiple players are in protocols, the NBA is aiming to avoid postponing more games.