Atlanta Falcons logo in end zone during NFL season
Nov 28, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; The Atlanta Falcons logo is shown in an end zone before the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons are shutting down their facility following a positive COVID-19 test on Thursday, becoming the latest NFL team to experience an outbreak during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just a few days before Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Falcons learned of a new case of the coronavirus and moved to virtual practices and meetings.

NFL Week 6: Schedule and game-by-game predictions

NFL news: Atlanta Falcons join growing list of teams with COVID-19 outbreaks

Just days after the NFL postponed the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots game, following multiple Patriots’ players tested positive for the coronavirus, a new problem has popped up in Atlanta.

Originally, the Falcons placed rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Sept. 26. Atlanta was able to play through Week 5 and Terrell recently returned. However, fellow rookie Marlon Davidson tested positive earlier this week. Now, an unidentified staffer has a confirmed positive test for the coronavirus.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL still intends for Sunday’s Week 6 clash between the Falcons and Minnesota Vikings to be played. But this isn’t surprising given the league has always looked to stick to its original schedule until the last minute, when forced to make changes if the situation doesn’t improve.

New changes to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols will also come into play. Following the Patriots and Tennessee Titans’ COVID-19 outbreaks, the league enhanced its policies during the pandemic. Moving forward, teams will test personnel every single day. Additionally, anyone identified to be a “high risk” close contact with someone who tested positive must isolate for five days.

The Falcons are already going through contact tracing to determine which players came in close contact with the staffer who tested positive. Under the new restrictions, anyone who is deemed to fit into a “high risk” close contact would likely not be available for Sunday’s game.

Matt Johnson
Writer at Sportsnaut. Journalism student at San Diego State University. Seen on MSN. Previously: eDraft, The Connection