Saquon Barkley returns to Giants' facility after false positive for COVID-19

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Saquon Barkley running no pads hat on
Saquon Barkley running no pads hat on

Saquon Barkley and Xavier McKinney were removed from the COVID list and back at the Giants' facility on Friday after further COVID-19 testing revealed that their positive COVID tests were false positives, the team announced.

The Giants released a statement Thursday after multiple players and RB coach Burton Burns tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week.

Per the team, Bio-Reference Laboratories, which conducts the rapid COVID-19 tests for everyone at the Giants' facility, is experiencing "an unusually high number of false positives using the Rapid Mesa Test at our facility."

"With the exception of one individual, all of the positive Mesa test results over the last two days have come back negative through PCR testing," the team said. "The laboratory is working with experts to determine the source of the problem."

Head coach Joe Judge gave an update on Thursday, saying there were more positive COVID tests, "a good amount" in his words. They're hoping they will come back as false positives, too.

"It wasn't a quick glance-over number," Judge said on the exact number of players.

When the Giants went through their rapid COVID-19 testing on Tuesday, they had 13 positive results among players, coaches and staff. All 13 were retested with PCR tests and only one was returned as a confirmed positive – the one belonging to Burns.

On Wednesday, more members of the organization were tested and three players tested positive – running back Barkley, safety Xavier McKinney and guard Matt Skura.

But when the Giants retested everyone, the results for all three -- Barkley, McKinney and Skura -- were negative.

Because of the confusion and the mixed results, Barkley and McKinney were retested. Skura is now officially considered a "false positive" so he could return to practice.

The Giants' injury report on Wednesday had all three players in "COVID Protocol."

Barkley and Skura are vaccinated, per Vacchiano, while the vaccination status of McKinney is unknown.

For vaccinated players, they must provide two negative COVID-19 tests in a 24-hour span before being deemed fit to return.