Union set to leave for Orlando tomorrow, but COVID remains a threat

With only a week remaining until Head Coach Jim Curtin and the Philadelphia Union travel south to Orlando, COVID concerns are still very prevalent.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Yesterday, Major League Soccer released updated testing information. They will continue to release updated aggregate reporting – meaning names will not be released, only numbers – every two days  Over the last two days at the Wide World of Sports Complex 392 players, coaches, referees, and team and league staff members have been tested. There were 4 positive tests, all players who will remain unnamed.

Philadelphia won’t be traveling south until tomorrow, July 2nd. They have a charter flight scheduled that day.

But concerns over a COVID resurgence remain.

As of Monday, the Orlando Sentinel reported breaking news regarding COVID cases from the Florida Department of Health. The report detailed a record-breaking number of new coronavirus cases Saturday which shattered the previous day high this past Friday. 9,5858 new coronavirus cases were documented by the Florida Department of Health Saturday. The state, as a whole, has 132,545 positive cases as of Monday.

According to orlando.gov and their COVID-19 data tracker, the city of Orlando itself has 2,008 cases – as of June 26th. Compared to neighboring areas, that number isn’t as high. Here’s a heat map from that site showing the most affected areas. Orlando overall isn’t as bad as it may seem from the outside looking in.

Mandatory Credit: Orlando.gov

But still, COVID is lurking and waiting.

Ideally, the ‘bubble’ like environment should help keep positive test numbers down considering the ability to quickly whisk away anybody that does test positive into isolation protocol. The only people entering and exiting the bubble are hotel staff members, who presumably are tested or at least screened for symptoms on a near regular basis.

Since teams began arriving in Orlando last week, there have been 6 total positive cases so far. Will that number increase? Given the nature of the virus, it sure sounds likely. Will they increase enough to severely impact a team or the tournament as a whole? Only time will tell. For now, mask-wearing and handwashing remain the most effective way to remain COVID free in Orlando.

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

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