NEW YORK — Giants left guard Will Hernandez tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and will be placed on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list, according to sources.
The Giants continued to practice Thursday afternoon at Quest Diagnostics Training Center, but the team has quarantined eight players, including Hernandez, and two assistant coaches for contact tracing purposes, per sources.
Outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema and defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson are the assistants in quarantine. All but four of the Giants’ offensive linemen are quarantined. The eight players now quarantined include six offensive linemen and two practice squad players, according to sources.
The offensive linemen who were not at practice Thursday along with Hernandez were Nick Gates, Andrew Thomas, Cam Fleming, Spencer Pulley and Shane Lemieux. Right guard Kevin Zeitler was the only starting O-lineman to practice. Also not at practice were practice squad players Chad Slade (guard) and WR Binjimen Victor.
The Giants (1-6) host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2) on Monday night. The game remains on as scheduled. If more positive tests pop up Thursday and Friday, that could change. But for now, only Hernandez is going on the reserve list.
The other seven players quarantined were determined to be close contacts and not high-risk, per sources, which means they could be back with the team as early as Friday, per the terms of the NFL’s and NFLPA’s COVID-19 protocols.
For those determined to be close contacts and not high-risk, the protocols require a PCR virus test as soon as possible and isolation until the results are available, likely later Thursday in this case.
If that first virus test is negative and the close contact individual remains asymptomatic, he may return to the facility subject to a second PCR test conducted 24 hours after the first PCR test. And he also must enter an increased symptom monitoring program that includes daily PCR Virus testing in days one through eight.
Hernandez, it should be noted, was not one of the Giants players who were caught partying maskless Friday night in New York City, according to a source.
The Giants released a statement on Thursday morning:
“Late (Wednesday) night, we were notified that a Giants player tested positive for COVID-19,” the team said. “The player was immediately self-isolated, and the contact tracing process was initiated. All of the player’s close contacts were identified and were informed to remain home (Thursday).
“Those individuals will participate in meetings remotely,” the Giants said. “We are working closely with the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer regarding next protocol steps. Quest Diagnostics Training Center will remain open, and the rest of the team will follow their normal practice and meeting schedule.”
This is the first Giants positive COVID-19 test of the regular season. Wide receiver David Sills V tested positive early in training camp but was asymptomatic and spent a week in quarantine (July 28-Aug. 4) before rejoining the team. Former linebacker Josiah Tauaefa was a false positive on Aug. 4, as well.
The entire NFL was hit by a rash of 77 false positive tests in late August due to contamination of the laboratory testing process. The Giants had two staffers (not coaches or players) who tested positive that were later confirmed false during that situation. And they had two other individuals were placed in an isolated protocol due to contact tracing who tested negative, as well.
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