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New details emerge about Nets decision to test

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Minnesota Timberwolves v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images

In a report on how the “rich and powerful” have secured access to tests, ventilators and other equipment, even hazmat suits, Bloomberg News provides new and more detailed information on how the Nets secured testing kits ... and the chronology that led up to last weekend’s testing and disclosure that four players had tested positive for corona virus.

Of the four, only Kevin Durant has been identified as testing positive.

As reported, the Nets were tested on March 14, one day after arriving back from San Francisco. They had been in the Bay Area since the 11th, getting ready for the Warriors game that never happened. What has not been reported until now are the measures the team took to prepare the team for the tests ... and the process that led to them being tested by Viracor, the suburban Kansas City company, within a day of their return from San Francisco.

Bloomberg also secured a quote from Sean Marks, the first time he’s talked on the record about what happened.

Here’s the part of the Bloomberg report dealing with the Nets...

Staffers for the Brooklyn Nets boarded a March 13 charter flight from California before the team’s stars and their families got on. The staff disinfected the plane and placed hand sanitizers and masks alongside vitamins in the common area. The NBA had just suspended its season and players were on edge. Some team personnel had coughs and runny noses, so each player was given a piece of paper and asked to write how they were feeling, if they’d been around anyone who was sick, or if they have any family members in a high-risk category. “Players wanted to be tested. It wasn’t even close,” Nets General Manager Sean Marks said in an interview. “Everybody wanted the testing.”

The team owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. billionaire Joe Tsai arranged for tests using a private lab called Viracor Eurofins Clinical Diagnostics. On March 17, the Nets announced that four players had tested positive — Kevin Durant, a former league MVP, said he was among them. The private lab told Bloomberg News it’s cleared to analyze samples of patients based on a physician’s discretion.

The private lab told Bloomberg News it’s cleared to analyze samples of patients based on a physician’s discretion. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s testing guidelines prioritize patients with symptoms who are sick, elderly, or have chronic conditions. But many of the basketball players didn’t have symptoms. In a statement, the Nets said the team was fully transparent with the private lab and didn’t “misrepresent the condition of those tested.”

David Morgan, an executive with Eurofins, the lab’s parent company, said the lab wouldn’t do testing without the proper authorization from a health-care professional. “If they put a diagnosis code down for coronavirus infection and send us a specimen, we have to assume the patient falls under the criteria for the testing which is symptomatic,” he said.

In its statement defending the test, the Nets noted that some players had exhibited symptoms that could have been caused by coronavirus. It was at that point, the statement said, the team went ahead with testing. Indeed, one of the four who tested positive has exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus.

As we learned NBA players on other teams had tested positive for COVID-19, we noticed that several of our players and staff had symptoms. Based on this information, and the judgment that all of our players are subject to high exposure due to the close physical nature of basketball, the communal nature of teams and the possibility of an accelerated spread from team to team, our medical experts advised that our players get tested...

If we had waited for players to exhibit symptoms, they might have continued to pose a risk to their family, friends and the public. Our hope is that by drawing attention to the critical need for testing asymptomatic positive carriers, we can begin to contain the spread and save lives.

By March 14, it was publicly know that three players had tested positive: Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz and Christian Wood of the Pistons. As of Saturday, 11 players and several staffers on the eight teams that have been tested have come up positive.

Other than Quinn Cook telling an NBC Sports podcast that KD is “good,” there have been no updates on the condition of the others who tested positive.