Ash Loveridge
Wednesday 29 July 2020

Head of Medical Ian Weston insists Forest Green players are adapting well to the “new normal” caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Mark Cooper’s squad returned to the New Lawn this week to undertake a minimum of three rounds of testing before the new season starts on September 12.

Weston revealed meticulous behind-the-scenes preparation had been put in place ahead of testing.

He said: “Mark Smith (Operations Manager) Joe Baker (Senior Physio), James Mooney (Head of Football Operations), and Richard Hughes (Director of Football) made sure we had a full risk assessment in place ahead of the squad returning this week. The players have returned in good shape, but ultimately, we’ve had to make sure they came back into a safe environment. They’re required to fill in a daily questionnaire and have a temperature check and must wear face masks during testing, turn up in their own kit and bring food.”

The squad and staff face the uncomfortable Covid test on Thursday, but will be set for contact training for the first time next Monday at Rovers’ Stanley Park training complex.

Weston added: “EFL guidelines stipulate five days of non-contact training and we will Covid test the whole squad and staff on Thursday, which will mean swobs being stuck down the back of their throats and up their nose to determine whether or not they had the virus. Friday, we will begin our fitness testing at our Stanley Park training ground and on Saturday we will do our fifth non-contact training session and then we will be able to enter Stage Two, which is contact training on Monday.”

Clubs will also have the option, should they wish, to continue testing their players and staff twice a week

There is also no cost to the UK taxpayer for the testing of EFL players and staff, with clubs paying the bill.

Here are the various scenarios that exist for the COVID-19 testing.

Positive test result with symptoms – must exclude for seven days minimum off-site or until symptoms resolve.

If necessary, for symptom resolution, individuals to remain away for a further seven days whilst undertaking a gradual return to activity.

Positive test result with no symptoms: Must first confirm if they have experienced any symptoms in previous month.

If they have not experienced any symptoms, they must exclude from training for 10 days and return on day 11.

Through days 11-14 they will be under strict surveillance and if the individual does develop symptoms, they must then exclude for seven days from this point.

Negative test result with symptoms: Will return to training at resolution of symptoms.

Negative test result with no symptoms: Allowed to continue training as usual.

If an individual test positive, they do not get tested again for 28 days as a further positive test is linked to the previous infection in that period. Currently there is no scientific evidence for reinfection.