The AFL has confirmed that a Collingwood staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 after being informed by the footy club on Saturday.
Collingwood made the AFL aware of the situation on Saturday and released a club statement to stress that the staff member in question had not been in contact with anyone from the club.
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The Magpies revealed that the individual in question went into a 14-day self-isolation period after returning from a trip overseas.
A Collingwood staff member has tested positive to COVID-19. https://t.co/YtO0O13FMe— AFL.com.au (@AFLcomau) March 21, 2020
The staffer’s test for COVID-19 came back positive and as such they will not be returning to the club until given medical approval to do so.
"He is recovering at home and being monitored by the Department of Health and Human Services," the club statement said.
"Due to quarantine requirements, the staff member has at no point been in any contact with players or staff members at Collingwood since returning and has therefore presented no transmission risk to the club."
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire spoke on Fox Footy to insist that the staff member had done the right thing.
"A staff member in isolation, did the right thing, did the two-week isolation and has come down with coronavirus. Has had no contact with anyone at the club,” McGuire told Fox Footy.
Plenty of fans reacted with confusion to the news out of Collingwood, with many wondering whether the season will be suspended for 30 days.
However, the fact that the staffer had been in isolation and away from anyone associated with the footy club since returning from overseas, leads many AFL supporters to believe the season should go ahead as planned.
Collingwood staff member TESTED POSITIVE— Anthony Pollifrone (@anthonypollifro) March 21, 2020
Season will no doubt lock down for 30’days #AFL
Reports a #Collingwood staff member has tested positive for #coronavirusaustralia. What does this mean for the pies season - will the 30 day player suspension come into effect? #AFLDogsPies #AFL #AFL2020— Chloe Hart (@chloehart2) March 21, 2020
So he didn’t test positive or he doesn’t work at Collingwood? I’m a bit confused?— Scott Dima 🐯🏆🏆 (@sdima_07) March 21, 2020
Seriously? Bye bye AFL— YzeRohan (@YzeRohan) March 21, 2020
This guy hasn’t been around the club since coming back— Anthony Pollifrone (@anthonypollifro) March 21, 2020
A Collingwood staff member who has not had any contact with the club since self-quarantining after an overseas trip has tested positive.— Ace Previews (Steve) (@Ace_Previews) March 21, 2020
Play on. https://t.co/lKUWnU8nPf
Collingwood staff member in the AFL has tested positive for COVID-19.— Ian Cameron (@bobano) March 21, 2020
My advice is enjoy this weekend of AFL Footy while u can. There may not be many left. Can't see them going through with the entire season.
This could be the beginning of the end of the AFL season. I'm not wishing for that, I just hope they act responsibly based on proper risk assessment advice rather than the desire to proceed at all costs. https://t.co/EwLeSFPbjB— Brett Debritz (@debritz) March 21, 2020
A Collingwood staff member has tested positive for COVID-19.— Laurence Rosen (@LaurenceRosen) March 21, 2020
Hasn't been at the club at any point since returning from overseas, the club says.
It's the most important part of the story, for sure. Probably means we can keep playing.— Laurence Rosen (@LaurenceRosen) March 21, 2020
Absolutely that staff member hasn’t ”been at the club” and created an opportunity to halt a multi million dollar operation.— Whats our vector Victor? (@TKYC) March 21, 2020
Collingwood had a coronavirus scare earlier in the week when captain Scott Pendlebury was tested for the virus after displaying flu-like symptoms.
He was later cleared of the virus and played in the Pies' thumping round one victory over the Western Bulldogs.
AFL boss McLachlan stressed earlier in the week that the competition would be suspended for 30 days if and when any player tests positive for COVID-19.
Bulldogs coach baffled by virus inconsistencies
Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge questioned the AFL's decision to play under compromised conditions after his side's opening-round loss to Collingwood.
The league delivered new protocols this week amid the coronavirus crisis, ordering players to avoid unnecessary contact.
They were advised to cease sharing water bottles, hugging and shaking hands.
A leading doctor blasted the AFL after players did all three in Thursday night's season opener.
The AFL were already under fire for going ahead with the start of their season on Thursday night amid the crisis, with many believing it’s a bad look when the rest of society is under strict measures to stop the spread of the virus.
So it was particularly grating when Richmond and Carlton players were seen shaking hands and sharing water bottles during the game at the MCG - two massive no-no’s amid the crisis.
Now the 'high-five' has also been outlawed despite far more contact occurring during the natural course of a match.
The Magpies celebrated one of their goals during a 52-point at Marvel Stadium on Friday night with a 'foot shake' and social distancing measures put in place meant they did not link arms during their team song.
While Beveridge showed his support for the AFL competition continuing, he found the contradictions around many of the coronavirus safety protocols baffling.
"You can't have your cake and eat it too," Beveridge said.
"If we're playing, we're playing. We can't then be saying don't sing the song with your arms around each other.
"If you're playing, the assumption is that everyone who is playing hasn't got the virus. That's the assumption.
"If you're bumping each other, tackling each other, flying against each other and hitting each other, I reckon that's a lot worse than singing a song with your arms around each other.
"All that peripheral stuff, if we can't do that, then why are we playing the game?"
Beveridge acknowledged there were positive social effects of playing football during the coronavirus crisis.
"Maybe we can bring a bit of brightness into peoples' lives when there's so many things that they've got to consider," he said.
Can someone please educate afl players on the safe use of water bottles- disgraceful example to community & kids! #poorhygieneexample— Dr Peter Larkins (@doclarkins) March 19, 2020
How can the govt allow contact/close sports like AFL/AFLW/NRL when we are all supposed to social distance? Disgraceful— Ben (@fromthedale) March 21, 2020
Restaurants x, schools x, businesses x, beaches x, gatherings x, planes x, boarders x, supermarkets x, the world x, AFL ✔️— Sam Newman (@Origsmartassam) March 20, 2020