While the NBA continues to struggle playing the 2020-21 season without a bubble, the league is looking to add localized game-day COVID-19 testing for teams to its current testing plan, according to ESPN.
ESPN obtained a copy of a memo sent to all NBA teams, asking them to attempt to find local testing providers over the next few days. The league hopes to discuss those findings with teams over the weekend and possibly implement the additional testing next week.
"The intent is to find a local provider of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests that can turn around at least 40 tests–enough to handle players on both teams, as well as that night's referees–that could be collected the morning of a game and returned at least one hour before tipoff," according to ESPN.
The NBA already uses both PCR and rapid tests but aims to use local testing in each team's city in case there are transportation issues with tests. The third option can ensure players have tested negative and are clear to participate in that night's game.
Many have questioned if the NBA should play in a league-wide bubble again this season after seeing a rise in players testing positive for COVID-19 and the postponement of nine games so far.
In response to its rising positive COVID-19 rates, the NBA announced additional COVID-19 protocols this week to supplement its current health and safety protocols.
Among the new protocols, the NBA will ban players from leaving their hotel when on the road, and they will not be able to interact "with non-team guests at the hotel." Players will now additionally be required to wear face masks on the bench at all times. They must also "avoid extended socializing" at games, limiting their pregame and postgame interactions to an elbow or first bump.