PGA updates policy for 10-day return from virus

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The PGA Tour has made a modification to its health and safety policy that will allow players and caddies who test positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms — but have gone 24 hours without a fever — to return to competition after 10 days.

They also will be allowed to use the clubhouse and locker room and will not be separated with special tee times, as has been the case in recent weeks. The policy goes into effect at this week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and the Barracuda Championship.

Per Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, it has been determined that someone who recovers from COVID-19 is no longer contagious after 10 days. Those who test positive without symptoms are required to have two negative tests 24 hours apart before being allowed to return to competition.

“This guideline is underpinned by research conducted by the CDC that indicates that in no instances yet discovered has there been a case where the virus is able to self-replicate beyond the 10th day following a positive test, and therefore an individual in this situation poses no harm to others,” the tour said in a memo.

Because the CDC has found that those who test positive and show symptoms often continue to test positive for weeks and sometimes months, the tour will no longer require those players or caddies to be tested for three weeks starting from the point of the first positive test.

Nick Watney, who was the first PGA Tour player to test positive on June 19, continued to test positive until last week. He was allowed to return to competition under CDC guidelines, but he was placed in groups with other players in a similar situation. Those stipulations will no longer be in force.

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