The San Francisco 49ers are in the thick of the playoff race coming down the home stretch of the 2021 regular season. They enter Week 17 in sixth place with an 8-7 record. They’re tied with the Eagles for the final two NFC playoff spots, sitting a game up on the Vikings, Falcons and Saints.
COVID-19 has been having a significant impact on the NFL playoff race. We saw it in Week 16 with teams like the Ravens and Saints playing extremely shorthanded due to COVID absences. The league is pushing through however, and that means teams are left to adjust as best they can. The team that can avoid outbreaks are the teams that could end up having the most success.
The 49ers have avoided an outbreak in the first 16 weeks, but coming out of their win over the Titans, they have their first COVID-19 case. Punter Mitch Wishnowsky has tested positive and was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday. Head coach Kyle Shanahan would not rule him out for Week 17, but he will need to clear the protocol.
49ers COVID-19 list
P Mitch Wishnowsky (Placed Mon, Dec 27)
NFL COVID-19 protocols
The NFL changed its policy on Tuesday, December 28 following the CDC’s adjustment. If unvaccinated, a player must miss a minimum of five days if a close contact or a positive test. If they have not shown symptoms for at least 24 hours at the end of that five days, they are eligible to be activated.
A vaccinated player does not need to quarantine if a close contact, but does if they test positive. A vaccinated player can test out sooner than the five days if he is asymptomatic for at least 24 hours by one of the following options:
- He receivers two BRL PCR test results that are either negative or produce Cycle Threshold (CT) values of 35 or greater; OR
- He receive one BRL PCR test result that is either negative or produces CT values of 35 or greater and a negative Mesa test result from a test taken within 24 hours of the BRL PCR test. Both tests can be taken at the same time or less than 24 hours apart; OR
- He receives two negative MESA tests 24 hours after the initial swab was taken, but can be taken concurrently provided it’s two separate new swabs.