It’s not uncommon to find Twitter rants complaining about how NBA players are tested every day, but most Americans can’t afford to get COVID tests or can’t travel to free-testing centers. In many cases, there simply just aren’t enough tests. In fact, wsj.com asserts that “states are narrowing access to COVID-19 tests as the demand for Covid-19 testing outpaces supply.”
Some health agencies are even narrowing recommendations for who should get a test.
With the disenfranchised in mind, The Health and Safety Protocols for the Resumption of the 2019-20 NBA Season, which were finalized with the National Basketball Players Association in June, included plans for several community testing programs.
The NBA announced (July 29) a new community testing program providing thousands of no-cost COVID-19 PCR tests in Orlando, Fla. and team markets nationwide. The program, which is a part of NBA Together, the league’s global community and social engagement campaign that aims to support, engage, educate and inspire youth, families and fans in response to the coronavirus pandemic, tipped off earlier this month and will run through August.
Public health data has made clear that the impacts of the coronavirus are most concentrated in historically marginalized communities of color where access to testing is scarce. To meet this need, the NBA collaborated with UnidosUS and the National Urban League as well as several private laboratories to identify communities most in need and provide access to no-cost testing programs in addition to communicating public health information to community members.
In partnership with BioReference Laboratories, the league’s testing provider on the NBA campus in Orlando, Fla., the NBA is providing free, daily COVID-19 PCR tests at a mobile collection site at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets. Those interested can register for an appointment by completing a brief survey before being redirected to a scheduling tool to select a convenient date and time for the COVID-19 test.
Please visit Appointments.BioReference.com/NBAOrlando to complete the survey and for additional details regarding appointments, transportation and scheduling.
As part of the NBA’s community testing program, the league, Orlando Magic and Orlando Sports & Entertainment District hosted a pop-up testing event on Saturday, July 11 at the Geico Garage at the Amway Center, providing hundreds of drive-through and walk-up tests to members of surrounding communities. Earlier this month, the NBA identified Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in 29 team markets nationwide and provided additional tests funded by the NBA. In total, these programs are providing thousands of tests across the United States.
The Fight Is In Us, a nationwide coalition of health officials and other partners, to encourage COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma for virus research and treatments and to share the latest health and safety information and resources regarding the pandemic.
The league is continuing its support of scientific research into more accessible testing through research partnerships with the Yale School of Public Health, the Mayo Clinic, and other leading research institutions. In addition, the league is supporting multiple other academic and industry partners on pooled testing and rapid turnaround testing that could provide models for businesses reopening safely and for important public health uses including outbreak assessment and control.