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What we know about the Marlins-Orioles game being postponed due to positive coronavirus tests

Coming off a series win against the Boston Red Sox, the Orioles flew to Miami Sunday night to prepare to face the Marlins before returning to Baltimore for Wednesday’s home opener.

But the game was postponed after more than a dozen Miami players and coaches tested positive for the coronavirus following their season opener in Philadelphia. The Phillies and the New York Yankees will also not play on Monday — the Yankees would’ve used the same clubhouse as the Marlins did last weekend — as additional coronavirus testing takes place throughout the league.

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Here’s everything we know about the ongoing situation. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

Wednesday’s home opener is still scheduled, but won’t necessarily happen

Aside from the postponing of Monday’s two games, Major League Baseball has not announced any further changes to the league’s schedule. However, the Marlins have been stranded in Philadelphia and the Orioles are reportedly flying back to Baltimore from Miami on Monday night, meaning Tuesday’s game against the Marlins will also likely be postponed.

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The Orioles’ home opener is currently still scheduled for Wednesday against Miami.

But all that could change should additional positive test results surface or public pressure mounts against the league to suspend games. And even though all teams have backup players who can fill in for anyone who tests positive, the MLB might have to readjust pending the development of serious illness or intervention from state and local health departments.

The Maryland Stadium Authority, which owns Oriole Park at Camden Yards, did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

This all comes outside a “bubble”

The MLB is the first major league association to hold games outside of a bubble, or an enclosed living facility designed for players to live and play in. The NBA, NHL, WNBA, and MLS are operating that way.

MLB never got far on its bubble plan — which was originally focused on Arizona, Texas and Florida, which later become COVID-19 hot spots — and instead has the teams traveling for games all across the country

With players traveling exposing themselves to a range of environments, it might be challenging to stave off infections for the long term.

Teams will have to rely on timely, widespread testing to play

For baseball to continue amid the pandemic, teams must adhere to rapid and timely testing protocols and make decisions based on those tests.

This means substituting healthy players for sick ones and enforcing social distancing when possible. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said the team had to stay in their hotel rooms in Boston to follow the organization’s guidelines away from the park. Players could not leave for group dinners, drinks or other activities.

But, as noted by Dr. Leana Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner and public health professor at George Washington University, this frequent and timely method of testing should not just be reserved for professional athletes, but for schools, offices, hospitals and nursing homes, too. So far, the U.S. testing strategy has been slow to roll out, and backlogs at large, commercial labs has delayed test results.

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