PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies confirmed on Friday that five players and three staff members working at the team’s facilities in Clearwater, Fla., have tested positive for COVID-19.
Thirty-two others, including 12 staff members and 20 players on Major League and Minor League rosters, have been tested and await results. Eight staff members tested negative. None of the eight who tested positive has been hospitalized, according to a source.
“The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority, and as a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected,” Phillies managing partner John Middleton said in a statement.
The names of the infected players and staff members have not been reported since the first positive test Tuesday, but several big leaguers remained in the Clearwater area when Major League Baseball canceled Spring Training in March because of the pandemic. The Phillies believe they followed proper protocols to minimize the risk of infection at their facilities the past few months, including staggered workout schedules to remove any possibility of large gatherings and constant cleaning and disinfecting of clubhouses and equipment. But as sources noted Friday, once players and staff members leave the facilities they are on their own.
COVID-19 infections in Florida have climbed steeply in recent weeks.
The Phillies said in their statement that “in terms of the implications of this outbreak on the Phillies’ 2020 season, the club declines comment, believing that it is too early to know.” The team planned to hold a potential second Spring Training in Philadelphia, although there had been no official announcement. The recent events in Clearwater have done nothing to change those plans.
NBC Sports Philadelphia first reported news about the outbreak in Clearwater. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that some family members also tested positive for the coronavirus.