The NBA is launching a new community testing program that will provide thousands of no-cost COVID-19 PCR tests in Orlando and other team markets. The program, which is a part of NBA Together, the league’s global community and social engagement campaign that aims to support, engage, educate and inspire youth, families and fans in response to the coronavirus pandemic, tipped off earlier this month and will run through August.
Public health data has made it clear that the impacts of the coronavirus are most concentrated in historically marginalized communities of color where access to testing is scarce.
To meet this need, the NBA collaborated with Unidos US and the National Urban League as well as several private laboratories to identify communities most in need and provide access to no-cost testing programs in addition to communicating public health information to community members.
In partnership with BioReference Laboratories, the league’s testing provider on the NBA campus in Orlando, the NBA is providing free, daily COVID-19 PCR tests at a mobile collection site at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets.
As part of the NBA’s community testing program, the league, Orlando Magic and Orlando Sports & Entertainment District hosted a pop-up testing event on Saturday, July 11 at the Geico Garage at the Amway Center, providing hundreds of drive-through and walk-up tests to members of surrounding communities.
Earlier this month, the NBA identified Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in 29 team markets nationwide and provided additional tests funded by the NBA. In total, these programs are providing thousands of tests across the United States.
The NBA is also working with the Fight Is In Us, a nationwide coalition of health officials and other partners, to encourage COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma for virus research and treatments and to share the latest health and safety information and resources regarding the pandemic.
The NBA’s support of expanded access to testing is focused on validating and obtaining FDA approval for a non-invasive saliva test for the coronavirus that reduces test turnaround times and costs less than current tests, which would allow the test to become widely available across many communities.
In addition, the league is supporting multiple other academic and industry partners on pooled testing and rapid turnaround testing that could provide models for businesses reopening safely and for important public health uses including outbreak assessment and control.
The NBA is leading the way when it comes to how they have handled playing sports in the midst of a pandemic. So far, no players have returned positive coronavirus tests since they have arrived in the Orlando bubble in July.