The preparation for a Week 14 battle with the Houston Texans became a bit more complex for the Chicago Bears on Thursday. The team initially planned to cancel in-person practice ahead of the Sunday matchup, being forced to close their facility after receiving news of a positive COVID-19 test, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Hours later, they announced practice would indeed take place at 2:30 p.m. CT, per Brad Briggs of The Chicago Tribune, which is a good sign there's no indication of an outbreak within the team.
The individual who tested positive has not been named, nor if it's a player, coach or staffer. The Bears released the following statement on Thursday morning regarding the test result and subsequent facility closure:
"This morning, we were notified that we had a positive COVID-19 test. As a result, the club has elected to pause all in-person football activities today and close Halas Hall. Instead, all meeting will be conducted virtually. The individual who tested positive has been contacted and has already begun self-isolation. We are working with the NFL medical experts to identify close contacts and follow the league's guidance. The health and safety of our team, players and staff are the highest priority."
This marks the second time the Bears have had to close their facility due to a positive COVID-19 test -- the first having occurred in Week 9 when center Cody Whitehair tested positive. The closure is the latest in the league's battle with the novel coronavirus, highlighted recently by the outbreak within the Baltimore Ravens organization.
If the Bears were forced to remain closed for an extended period of time, it would've made for a tense situation, as they try desperately to remain viable in the race for a wild-card berth in the NFC. They've lost their last six games and sit at 5-7 on the season, and while the Texans themselves aren't contenders, losing prep time ahead of a matchup with Deshaun Watson is never a favorable thing.
The good news for them is they won't.