NASCAR updates COVID-19 guidelines in memo to teams

With CDC guidance, NASCAR has updated Coronavirus guidelines

Since mid-May, NASCAR has been back in action and operating in a controlled environment. However, a handful of drivers, crew members and NASCAR employees have caught the virus.

NASCAR has issued a statement to team which updates their COVID-19 guidelines.

Related: Violating COVID-19 guidelines bring big NASCAR penalties and fines

Previously, when a member tested positive for COVID-19, they only needed to produce two negative tests, taken more than 24 hours apart. They also had to have a note from their personal physician to be cleared.

Now, if 10 days pass and a NASCAR member is still unable to produce two negative tests, their return may be medically reviewed by a NASCAR consulting physician.

So far, three NASCAR drivers have tested positive for COVID-19. Jimmie Johnson, Brendan Gaughan and Spencer Davis. Johnson and Davis each missed just one race.

“As we’ve said since our return, NASCAR’s health and safety plans will continue to evolve, with the goal remaining the same – a safe event for both our competitors and the communities in which we race,” said John Bobo, NASCAR vice president of racing operations.

He added, “NASCAR will continue to implement and execute a comprehensive plan to ensure the health and safety of our competitors and the surrounding communities.”

Related: Jimmie Johnson fears we’re all going to catch the virus at some point

NASCAR: COVID-19 Guidelines

There’s two sets of guidelines regarding NASCAR and the virus.

Confirmed Positive Cases

If any member tests positive for the virus, they are eligible to return when they can produce two negative tests, more than 4 hours apart.

-If 10 days pass and the member is unable to produce two negative PCR tests, their return may be reviewed by a NASCAR consulting physician.

-CDC guidelines recommend the discontinuation of PCR testing after the 10th day of isolation for the initial infection. That’s only if the person is fever-free without the use of medication.

-Please note: Based on advice from consulting physicians, NASCAR counts the 10 days from the date of the first positive PCR test for COVID-19.

-In its guidance, CDC research 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 among individuals who are not immunosuppressed and did not have severe disease (e.g. requiring ICU stay or ventilation), so an individual in this situation poses no harm to others.  In the event that the individual continues to be tested, it is very likely that the individual will continue to return positive results.

-Based on this new CDC guidance, NASCAR consulting physicians would review the individual’s situation and determine if they appropriately fit the CDC requirements before being allowed to return to racing without two negative PCR tests.

Confirmed exposure to a positive COVID-19 person

-Those exposed individuals are required to stand-down from competition and self-isolate.

-They may return to racing activities after they have received one negative test. NASCAR in its discretion may request a second test for clearance based on the nature of the exposure.

-Please note: a confirmed exposure is based on a totality of the circumstances as determined by NASCAR in consultation with their consulting physicians.

-Analysis will include: identifying people exposed over the last 10 days, accumulated time greater than 10 minutes, direct skin contact (shaking hands, etc.), lack of social distancing and the level of PPE use among the individuals involved in the contact.