Seattle Sounders announce positive coronavirus test for team staffer
The Seattle Sounders announced Sunday that a member of their support staff has tested positive for COVID-19 and that the individual is "currently in an appropriate isolation protocol."
No other cases within Sounders FC have been identified. The case is believed to be the first instance of an MLS staff member or player testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.
The Sounders said that the individual in question worked the March 7 match between Seattle and the Columbus Crew at CenturyLink Field, but that the individual didn't have access to the general public and had access only to the team in controlled areas during the game.
The individual became ill four days after the match but hadn't been present for Sounders FC operations or soccer activities at any time between the match and the positive test.
The club has been advised that additional precautions aren't required at this time.
"In a situation like this, our aim is to provide as much information as possible in order to properly inform the public," said Seattle general manager and president of soccer Garth Lagerwey. "We remain in constant communication with a number of regional and national health authorities, and based on the information we collectively have at this time, there is not felt to be a risk to any fans that attended our March 7 match at CenturyLink Field.
"Alongside public health authorities, we are actively monitoring this situation, and should new details emerge, we will continue proactively communicating with our community. These are trying times, and this is a good reminder for all of us to remain vigilant and to take care of one another. I'm also pleased to relay this impacted individual is recovering and is in good spirits."
The Seattle area has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Seattle Times reported that according to the Washington state Department of Public Health, there have been 769 confirmed cases and 42 deaths as of Saturday.
Last Wednesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee also announced a stoppage in major public events throughout Puget Sound, including Seattle's March 21 home match versus FC Dallas.
MLS announced last Thursday that it was suspending the regular season for 30 days due to the coronavirus pandemic. MLS suspended full-team training sessions through March 20.
The league also announced on Sunday that all players should remain in local team markets for the time being, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that all events of 50 people or more be called off for eight weeks.