PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Eight members of the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization, including five players who had been working out at the team’s facility in Clearwater, Florida, have tested positive for COVID-19. The Phillies say the first confirmed case came down this past Tuesday.
None of those players or staff members have reportedly required hospitalization.
The team also announced that eight staff members have tested negative. Meanwhile, 12 staff members and 20 players — a mixture of major and minor league players — are waiting for their own test results.
The Phils have since closed its Clearwater camp indefinitely.
Spectrum Field had been closed down in mid-March when the coronavirus initially forced shutdowns and it was reportedly thoroughly cleaned. It had been slowly opening back up, along with the rest of Florida, allowing more staffers and rehabbing players inside.
MLB is reportedly considering closing all 30 spring training sites and reestablishing a testing system for all of its team.
The Phillies would not confirm if any of these five positive tests are from its major league roster, but this is the first reported outbreak of coronavirus at a baseball facility.
“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,” Managing Partner John Middleton said.
The Tampa Bay area has seen multiple professional teams with COVID-19 cases pop up just in the past 48 hours.
Eyewitness News spoke with Justin Grant of TSP-TV Tampa on the increasing number of positive tests among athletes all living in the Tampa Bay Area.
“If you just go and look at a map, there are so many athletes,” Grant said. “Felt like it was only a matter of time before something like this hit the area.”
Eyewitness News spoke with Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley on Friday afternoon.
“It’s unfortunate that some of them tested positive. Most of these people are young and otherwise healthy and we know that most young, otherwise healthy people will get over this infection,” Farley said. “We’re hopeful that they will and I think that they have testing protocols is a good thing. I do think that a team can operate safely and testing is part of that.”
How this affects the current negotiations between the Major League Baseball Players Association and owners on the start of a shortened MLB season remains unclear.
The Phillies would not comment on it because they simply do not know.