Vikings’ head of infection control tests positive for COVID-19 right before training camp

The Vikings announced Monday that the man in charge of the team’s COVID-19 protocols has tested positive for the virus.

Eric Sugarman, the team’s head athletic trainer who recently was appointed Minnesota’s infection control officer as part of its effort to start the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, has not had recent contact with players, according to the team, and no additional cases within the Vikings front office have been identified.

The last of Vikings veterans are scheduled to report to training camp Tuesday, but players are not permitted to enter the facility until they receive three negative COVID-19 test results during an initial testing period. As is the case for all NFL teams, the Vikings’ training camp activities for veterans are scheduled to begin Aug. 1 with physicals and equipment distribution.

“We learned over the weekend Minnesota Vikings Head Athletic Trainer and Vice President of Sports Medicine and the team’s Infection Control Officer Eric Sugarman, along with members of his family, tested positive for COVID-19,” the Vikings said Monday in a statement. “Eric immediately shared his results with the organization and began to follow the previously established comprehensive protocol created by the NFL and national and local health experts. Eric and his family are currently in self-quarantine and providing daily updates on their well-being.

“We have followed the team’s protocol for sanitizing the facility and for notifying any personnel who may have been in close contact with Eric. Those individuals have been tested and are returning under the established guidelines. …

“Eric will continue to fulfill his role as the team’s ICO virtually as much as possible, and his athletic training staff and other Vikings personnel will assist where necessary. We wish Eric and his family a quick and full recovery and look forward to him returning to the Vikings when appropriate.”

Added Sugarman in his own statement: “This weekend my family and I tested positive for COVID-19. We immediately quarantined and began to follow the established protocols. At this time we are all doing fine and experiencing only mild symptoms.”

NBC Sports’ Peter King noted Monday that Sugarman “has been one of the league leaders in formulating anti-COVID plans for team facilities.” Sugarman recently took King behind the scenes at the Vikings’ facility in Eagan, Minn., to provide an example of how NFL teams had prepared for the players’ arrival.

Minnesota has installed four COVID-19 testing bays and a single entry point, complete with temperature checks and sanitation, at its facility. The team also established social distancing protocols in its locker room, cold/hot tubs, showers, training rooms, meeting rooms and cafeteria.

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