Phillies close all Clearwater facilities amid virus outbreak

A sign announces that Phillies (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
A sign announces that Phillies (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Phillies have closed all Clearwater facilities indefinitely due to their COVID-19 outbreak

In response to the Friday afternoon report that eight members of the Philadelphia Phillies organization, five players and three staff, have recently tested positive for coronavirus, Managing Partner John Middleton announced the indefinite closure of all Clearwater facilities.

“The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of  our players, coaches, and staff as our highest priority,” Middleton said in a press release. “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.”

The Toronto Blue Jays, whose facilities in Dunedin, Florida, are just miles away from Clearwater, also shut down their facilities on Friday after a player showed COVID-19 symptoms. The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning did the same as well, after several players and staff members reportedly tested positive.

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The Phillies officially confirmed the initial NBC Sports Philadelphia report, which stated the infections occurred at the club’s Clearwater facility. According to the organization, the first of their eight confirmed cases occurred this past Tuesday, June 16.

While three staff members tested positive, eight have tested negative, according to the press release. Results are still pending for tests of 12 more staff members and 20 players, both of the major league and minor leagues who have been to the Florida facility.

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The Phillies declined to comment on the implications of this outbreak as it relates to ongoing negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA to agree on a 2020 season, adding they believe “it is too early to know.”

The Phillies had closed their Florida facility, Spectrum Field, in mid-March and did a thorough cleansing. Still, players rehabilitating from injury were allowed to continue their recovery work under supervision, and in recent weeks, the organizaton allowed several more players to begin working out there. While strict health and safety precautions were taken and group sizes were limited, there still was an outbreak.

Now, all of the team’s facilities in Clearwater are closed until further notice.