We are announcing today that we are postponing the Essendon v Melbourne game tomorrow after receiving notification today that an Essendon player has tested positive to the Covid-19 virus.
Essendon player Conor McKenna returned a low-grade irregularity yesterday after being tested as part of our Covid-19 protocols.
He was tested again this morning and we were informed this afternoon that the test came back as positive.
The Department of Health and Human Services has been notified as per the protocols and we will be working with the DHHS and the Chief Health Officer’s team to work through and identify the close contacts with Conor and to also isolate them.
At the moment all players and football department staff at the club have been asked to isolate until that work is done with the Health Department.
Following a hook-up this afternoon with our own medical team and our infectious diseases adviser, the AFL has taken the decision to postpone tomorrow’s Essendon v Melbourne match.
We said at the outset of this crisis that we would make all decisions based on medical advice and our first priority is and remains the health and safety of our players, staff and the wider community.
That is priority one, two and three.
We need to do the right thing. The right thing for our clubs and the wider community is to postpone this match involving Essendon tomorrow. Other matches will proceed.
All Essendon players and staff were tested last night and Conor McKenna was the only person to return a positive test even though he was asymptomatic and showed no signs of having the virus.
We put this testing regime in place for a reason. It was to ensure that we knew if someone had the virus and we would take action to ensure we did not spread it to other players, staff or the wider community.
Without the testing, we would not have known. So the system has done what it was designed to do.
There have been more than 13,000 tests. This is the first positive but – given the circumstances – we will take a conservative approach.
The club will be closed and cleaned as per the health Department requirements and we will work with the Department to identify all those that they deem have been in close contact and isolate them.
We also will work with the Department to test all players and staff in the coming days in accordance with instructions and advice from the Health Department.
Our immediate concern is with the player. I do want to say that we will provide support for Conor and those around him.
We will work with the broadcaster on arrangements tomorrow and the Essendon vs Melbourne match will be scheduled for later in the season.
We said at the outset we needed to be flexible and agile throughout this season.
And this is a reminder that we will need to be flexible and agile.
I just want to say in finishing that it is a reminder to our own clubs, supporters and to the wider community that we are not through this crisis.
We all need to continue to follow the Government guidelines and to do the right thing to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe – and also to keep safe the health workers and essential workers who are still bearing the greatest risk.