Nationals Among Teams Shutting Down Workouts to Wait for COVID-19 Test Results

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The Nationals, Astros and Cardinals canceled workouts Monday, citing the safety of their players and personnel while awaiting the results from last Friday's coronavirus tests.

"Per MLB's protocol, all players and staff were tested for Covid-19 on Friday, July 3rd. Seventy-two hours later, we have yet to receive the results of those tests," Mike Rizzo, Washington's general manager, said in his statement. "We cannot have our players and staff work at risk. Therefore, we have canceled our team workout scheduled for this morning. We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff and their families.

"Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp. Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, Summer Camp and the 2020 season are at risk."

The Nationals have shut down training until they receive the test results. Once they come in, the club will decide how to move forward.

Astros general manager James Click also announced that the delay in testing results led the team to cancel Monday's workout.

"We're optimistic that this process will be ironed out and we'll be back on the field and ready to compete for a championship soon," Click said in a statement.

Following both clubs' decisions, MLB addressed the intake screening period in a statement.

"As of today, more than 95% of the tests under the Intake Screening period have been conducted, analyzed and shared with all 30 clubs. The remaining number of outstanding tests are expected to be completed today," the league said. 

"Our plan required extensive delivery and shipping services, including proactive special accommodations to account for the holiday weekend. The vast majority of those deliveries occurred without incident and allowed the protocols to function as planned. Unfortunately, several situations included unforeseen delays. We have addressed the delays caused by the holiday weekend and do not expect a recurrence. We commend the affected Clubs that responded properly by canceling workouts."

Later on Monday afternoon, the Cardinals also canceled Monday's workout after they failed to receive the results to Friday's coronavirus tests. 

Over the weekend, the Angels experienced difficulty with getting players tested when administrators failed to show up at their facilities in Anaheim and Long Beach Sunday. The team collected saliva samples and sent them to MLB's testing facility in Utah, reports ESPN.

The club pushed back their workout Monday morning from 9 a.m. PT to 1 p.m. PT and were informed testers would be on-site by then.

Reports of positive COVID-19 tests around MLB continue to rise after teams like the Braves, Twins, Red Sox, Cardinals and more announced their results over the weekend. 

On Sunday, manager Dave Martinez said two players out of 60 tested positive for the coronavirus. He said both players were tested last Wednesday before arriving at Nationals Park for summer camp. All MLB clubs began workouts last Friday after players passed intake screening for the virus.

Despite widespread testing, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle expressed frustration Sunday with the coronavirus safety resources available to his team.

"We need help to make this work. Faster test results, PPE for high-risk individuals and players/staff with high-risk family members. The individual efforts have been great so far but we can’t rely solely on individuals. The efforts have to be structural as well."

Doolittle said he is still deciding whether to play this season. If he chooses to opt-out, he'd join several other players who have already elected to sit out the season out due to COVID-19 concerns