Saquon Barkley, most other Giants’ COVID-19 test showed false positives

Saquon Barkley Giants
Saquon Barkley
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants announced that Saquon Barkley and a number of other Giants players and staff members who had originally tested positive for COVID-19 to not have the virus after secondary tests proved initial results yielded false positives.

“As a precautionary measure, we canceled in-facility meetings for players this morning and closed our office to non-football staff,” the Giants released in a statement. “Football meetings are being conducted virtually. Players, unless their test results are still being assessed under COVID protocols, will return this afternoon for practice.”

The Giants have been using Bio-Reference Laboratories — specifically the Rapid Mesa Test — for their COVID-19 testing, which has been returning an unusually high number of false positives. 

It initially appeared as though the Giants were on the verge of dealing with a mass outbreak within their ranks. Head coach Joe Judge announced on Wednesday that running backs coach Burton Burns had tested positive for the virus. He was one of 13 members of the Giants who initially tested positive.

However, after retests, Burns was the only person who tested positive again. Barkley was not one of those initial 13 positive tests.

“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 Giants revealed. “The laboratory is working with experts to determine the source of the problem.

“The NFL and BRL are monitoring the situation closely. We are temporarily halting the use of the Rapid Mesa Test and administering PCR tests only.”

Barkley was always going to be unlikely to play Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders regardless of the results of his COVID test. The star running back continues to work his way back from a high-ankle injury suffered in Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys.