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Report: Raptors and travelling staff test negative for COVID-19

Per MLSE, the Raptors and travelling staff underwent testing on Wednesday night for COVID-19 and have — pending one case — been cleared of the virus. They will continue to self-isolate out of precaution.

Milwaukee Bucks v Toronto Raptors Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images

We’ve been updating the broader COVID-19 situation over here, but this deserves its own post because it suggests some positive news coming out of the Raptors’ camp. Last night, MLSE and Raptors PR released an official statement regarding the health of the Raps and the staff travelling with the team, who may or may not have come into contact with patient zero Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz.

As per that statement, it sounds like the Raptors organization is clear of any infection from the Coronavirus, which is a relief to hear. The official word:

The Toronto Raptors travel party underwent testing for COVID-19 on Wednesday evening, after learning that an opponent we had recently faced had acquired the virus.

All of the members of the travel party who were tested on Wednesday in Toronto have received their results, and they are all currently negative. Results for one additional person are pending.

These results will not affect our protocols, however. Those asked to self-isolate by Toronto Public Health will continue to do so. We will all practice social distancing and good hand hygiene, and — most importantly — carefully monitor our health.

We continue to be in close contact with public health authorities and infectious disease experts, and are very grateful for their guidance. As always, we appreciate the support of our fans, families, and friends.

UPDATE: The “pending” results noted above have been obtained and deemed negative.

Some other good news coming from MLSE has now been made official via more statements from the organization — and some reporting from Sportsnet’s Steven Loung. The pertinent section is in regards to the financial well-being of all the arena staff and other MLSE workers who will have their livelihoods put on hold for a few weeks while we all work through this pandemic.

Take a read:

In a statement obtained by Sportsnet, new details about MLSE’s plan for their workers have been revealed.

“Anyone who is affected by this temporary halt in our operations will receive a financial payment from MLSE to bridge employees between their [Employment Insurance] benefits and 95 per cent of their regular average earnings (the maximum allowed by Service Canada for them to be eligible for full EI benefit) for four weeks,” an emailed statement from MLSE reads.

“Those employees who do not qualify for EI benefits will be paid the equivalent MLSE top-up portion.”

As much as I would like to resist giving props to a corporation, credit to MLSE here for stepping up in this time of crisis to cover their employees. While it’s nice to see NBA players — like Kevin Love and Zion Williamson — making donations to help their franchise’s workers, it really is on the billionaire owners to get that done. Here’s hoping eventually every team owner (corporate or otherwise) comes around to this way of thinking and does the right thing.

We’re not any closer, really, to seeing live sports any time soon, but it’s heartening to know some positives are emerging day by day.