WWE has continued operating with weekly television shows and monthly pay-per-view events since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, holding shows from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, initially with no fans in attendance, then with small groups of trainees acting as the audience, and in recent weeks, with some friends and family of performers in the makeshift crowd. Now, with Florida and Orange County (where Orlando is located) experiencing a major surge in the number of cases of the virus, the company has reportedly been hit hard with positive cases.
After a developmental talent tested positive for the coronavirus last week, WWE delayed tapings in order to ensure all of its talents, employees and production staff got tested. Wrestlers and staff were reportedly informed over the weekend of an additional confirmed cases in the company and advised to get retested with at least three and as many as two dozen ultimately testing positive for coronavirus, according to Pro Wrestling Sheet's Ryan Satin and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Dave Meltzer.
WWE announcer Renee Young announced on Twitter late Wednesday that she was one of the positives.
WWE did not respond to CBS Sports' request for comment about the reports of positive COVID-19 test results, but it did note that -- for the first time -- it will test all employees for coronavirus ahead of every production at the WWE Performance Center (where it tapes Raw SmackDown and PPVs) and Full Sail University (where the company tapes NXT).
"WWE will continue COVID-19 testing of its talent, production crew and employees in advance of TV productions for the foreseeable future," the statement read.
Before last week's positive result, WWE had only been conducting temperature checks with talent, employees and staff also answering questionnaires before entering its facilities for TV and PPV tapings.
WWE stopped touring in March but has never halted taping shows as sports, entertainment and media -- including professional wrestling -- was deemed "essential business" by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
A company source previously told CBS Sports that WWE planned to begin conducting COVID-19 tests at some point once the tests became more readily available and reliable, though a start date was never set or communicated for that process to begin. WWE executive Paul "Triple H" Levesque previously stressed that WWE was taking strict precautions approved by medical professionals despite not directly testing for coronavirus due to the lack of rapid response time and reliability.
Florida has seen nearly 110,000 cases of COVID-19 with recent spikes registering upward of 5,500 cases reported in a single day. The state has become one of the major hot spots for the coronavirus nationally along with Arizona, California and Texas. More than 3,200 people have died from the coronavirus in the Sunshine State.