CLEARWATER — The Philadelphia Phillies confirmed today that five players and three staff members working at the club’s Clearwater facility have tested positive for COVID-19.
The first confirmed case occurred Tuesday, June 16. In addition, eight staff members have tested negative for the virus, while 12 staff members and 20 players (both major league and minor league players) living in the Clearwater area are in the process of being tested and are awaiting the results of those tests.
“The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority, and as a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected," Managing Partner John Middleton said in a press release.
In terms of the implications of this outbreak on the Phillies’ 2020 season, the club declined comment, believing it is too early to know.
The Spectrum Field facility, which is home of the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training and the team's Single-A Florida State League affiliate, the Clearwater Threshers, has been closed to all non-essential personnel since March 19 when spring training was brought to a halt by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Phillies aren't the only team that have been forced to close their facilities because of the coronavirus.
A Blue Jays spokesperson confirmed to Tampa Bay Newspapers that personnel at the club’s spring training facilities in Dunedin have undergone testing for COVID-19, after a player presented symptoms consistent with those of the virus.
According to the team, "The Blue Jays are following protocols put in place for this scenario, including guidelines from MLB and the club’s medical team. As a result, the Blue Jays have suspended operations at their Dunedin facilities for the time being."
This spring training season was supposed to be an exciting one for the Blue Jays and the city of Dunedin, where the team unveiled its new $100 million TD Ballpark. Like the Phillies, however, the new facility has been closed since mid-March.