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Washington Football Team COVID-19 outbreak worsens; 21 players now on reserve list

A Tier 3 staffer with the Washington Football Team tested positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19.

WASHINGTON — The COVID-19 outbreak within the Washington Football Team continues to get worse. On Thursday, The Washington Football Team placed three more players on their COVID-19 reserve list. That increases the team's total to 21 players now in coronavirus protocols and the 22nd player in eight days. 

Cornerback Darryl Roberts was activated earlier this week. He was deemed a "close contact" and had a shorter quarantine period. Washington has 30 total players on injured reserve and COVID-19 lists. 

The Washington Football Team has now enhanced its COVID-19 protocols. All players and staff, regardless of vaccination status, are required to get tested daily, wear masks indoors at the team's facilities and meet virtually. 

In order for a vaccinated player to return to the team, they will need two negative tests, 24 hours apart. Unvaccinated players face tougher protocols, including a mandatory 10-day isolation period after a positive test. 

On Monday, WUSA9 confirmed a Tier 3 staffer with the Washington Football Team tested positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19. This is the first known case of that variant in the NFL. This person is not a member of the football operations. Per the NFL/NFLPA's protocols, Tier 3 consists of "individuals who perform essential facility, stadium or event services but do not require close contact with Tier 1 individuals," which are players and essential football personnel. 

On Monday, 37 NFL Players – 25 on active rosters,11 on practice squads – were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the largest number of additions to the list since its creation in 2020. On Tuesday, 29 more were placed in COVID-19 protocols. Of those 66 players, all but one tested positive for coronavirus.

Before the season, Head Coach Ron Rivera said 90% of the team's players received the coronavirus vaccine.

RELATED: NFL updates protocols in response to COVID-19 cases

On Thursday, the NFL updated its COVID-19 protocols, including among the changes: 

  • Requiring masks regardless of vaccination status 
  • Holding only remote or outdoor meetings. 
  • Stopping in-person meals
  • Prohibiting outside visitors while on team travel

The NFL is now mandating that all Tier 1 and 2 personnel "who have previously been vaccinated and are eligible under [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines, must receive a booster shot" by Dec. 27. The Washington Football Team announced that all media interviews will be conducted virtually as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

RELATED: First omicron case in NFL history, part of The Washington Football Team

Last season, The Washington Football Team only had one player test positive for coronavirus during the regular season. The Washington Football Team announced the positive test on Nov. 17, 2020, during week 11 of the NFL season.  

In a statement from the team, all meetings were conducted virtually that week. The positive test never postponed or canceled a Washington Football game.  

RELATED: Washington Football Team has had the fewest COVID issues of the major DC sports teams