The club was notified this morning that a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is self-quarantining, under the team’s medical care, and contact tracing is taking place. The team is now in the NFL’s Intensive Protocol and working closely with the league and medical experts.
The health and safety of our players, coaches and staff members remains our number one priority.
The Chiefs will hold practice this morning and then out of precaution, the facilities will be closed this afternoon and meetings will be held virtually.
We’ll continue to monitor the situation and take any appropriate action necessary to protect the team and those around us.
The team will continue its preparation to play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
As the statement notes, the Chiefs have now entered the NFL’s Intensive Protocol, which includes enhanced measures to prevent the spread of the virus, such as PPE/face masks worn on the practice field at all times, gloves worn on field by all players and virtual meetings. The Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts are among other teams in the league that have had to adopt intensive protocols.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo added that the individual who tested positive is head athletic trainer and vice president Rick Burkholder.
#Chiefs VP of Sports Medicine and Performance Rick Burkholder is the staff member who tested positive for COVID-19, sources tell me and @MikeGarafolo.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 5, 2020
Athletic trainers are on the front lines in the NFL's fight against the virus and Burkholder is regarded as one of the best.
The news should not impact the Chiefs’ game against the Carolina Panthers this weekend — as long as there is no outbreak. The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers both have multiple players on the COVID list, but the league is still moving ahead with the game on Thursday night.
While Chiefs practice will still happen on Thursday, the team has postponed its media session with coordinators and linebacker Anthony Hitchens until Friday.