The Los Angeles County Health Department has a special message for their hometown World Series champions: Stay away.
In light of Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner testing positive for COVID-19 and breaking protocol to celebrate with his team, health department officials told TMZ Sports that they have contacted the Dodgers to recommend that any player or staffer who has been in close contact of a person who has tested positive for the virus for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period must quarantine for 14 days.
So, joining the team for a group photo without a mask, giving out hugs and high fives, carrying the trophy, having conversations and kissing his wife would seem to qualify. Contract tracing should be a piece of cake. Check the photo, network coverage or the team roster. Also on Thursday, USA Today reported that the Tampa Bay Rays are also self-quarantining for 14 days.
“While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk,” a Major League Baseball statement read. “When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.”
The World Series was played in a “soft bubble” in Arlington, Texas, making it unclear how the 35-year-old contracted the virus past his massive beard. He is a free agent this offseason, but now may face a MLB suspension once it concludes its investigation.
At one point, Turner was sitting on the ground without a mask next to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, a cancer survivor who was not wearing a mask.
“Everybody wants to celebrate, that’s all very important, but leaving isolation to go back on the field, that shows you how much human beings struggle to do the right thing,” UCLA infectious disease expert and professor Anne Rimoin told The Los Angeles Times. “He really didn’t do the right thing here. At the end of the day, he let his fans down.”
The Dodgers may have beat the Tampa Bay Rays, but that did not mean they beat the virus.