The NFL and NFL Players Association reported a big jump in COVID-19 infections for their most recent testing period, a reflection of growing case counts around the country.
A total of 56 employees, including 15 players and 41 staff members, returned confirmed positive tests between Nov. 1 and Nov. 7. That's more than twice the total of any other period (26, from Sept. 27-Oct. 3), the period that accounts for most of the Tennessee Titans outbreak that forced multiple changes to the league's early-season schedule.
Since then, the NFL has managed to play its games on schedule after deciding to isolate any high-risk close contacts for five days. But league officials are making contingency plans for future game cancellations, including the possibility of a 16-team playoff field.
The NFL and NFLPA are testing roughly 8,000 different employees during each period.
After deciding last summer against operating in a bubble environment, the league has been focused on preventing spread of inevitable infections. Its chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, has said repeatedly that rising case counts across the country make that job more difficult. Nationwide, more than 100,000 COVID-19 infections have been reported for six consecutive days.