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Sounders support staff member test positive for coronavirus

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Team says health officials don’t believe further precautions are required.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

A member of the Seattle Sounders support staff — meaning someone who is neither a player nor coach — has tested positive for COVID-19 (aka coronarvirus), the team announced on Sunday. Although players and coaches came into close contact with the individual, it was only in controlled areas during the March 7 game against the Columbus Crew. They did not start showing symptoms until four days after match and had not been in contact with the team between the game and their positive test.

The individual is apparently recovering and in good spirits and health officials do not believe the incident poses a present risk to the public, the visiting team or the Sounders. No Sounders players or coaches have exhibited symptoms consistent with coronavirus, either.

“Over this current weekend, we were informed of a confirmed case of COVID-19 that directly impacted our club,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey in a statement. ”In a situation like this, our aim is to provide as much information as possible in order to properly inform the public. We remain in constant communication with a number of regional and national health authorities, and based on the information we collectively have at this time, there is not felt to be a risk to any fans that attended our March 7 match at CenturyLink Field.

“The individual that tested positive for COVID-19 did not have access to the public on matchday, and fortunately we have no other confirmed cases within the club at this time. Alongside public health authorities, we are actively monitoring this situation, and should new details emerge, we will continue proactively communicating with our community. These are trying times, and this is a good reminder for all of us to remain vigilant and to take care of one another.”

This is the first reported coronavirus case involving MLS. A player on the XFL’s Seattle Dragons recently tested positive for coronavirus and a vendor at CenturyLink Field during the Dragons game on Feb. 22 also tested positive.

With MLS’s moratorium on training due to expire after Sunday, the league announced that the ban would be extend until at least March 20. The league has also postponed games until at least April 11. NBA owners are apparently preparing not to return to playing games until June.