Major League Baseball Covid-19 testing hits snag because FedEx didn’t operate over holiday weekend

A detailed view of an official Major League Baseball with a surgical mask placed on it sitting on the dugout during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 5, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan.

Mark Cunningham | Getty Images

Less than a week after Major League Baseball clubs welcomed back players in preparation of an abbreviated season, the league has experienced a delay in getting Covid-19 test results because of the Independence Day holiday.

FedEx, which has an exclusive contract with the MLB to retrieve and deliver testing kits to the facility it’s using in Utah, wasn’t operational over the holiday weekend. According to the company’s published schedule, FedEx’s express-delivery unit had modified service on July 3, and was closed on July 4 and July 5. With FedEx not running, MLB used a service from another airline, which delivered some of the test results to teams.

Some MLB clubs temporarily suspended summer camps due to delayed testing results for players and staff. The San Francisco Giants said on Tuesday that it’s suspending workouts “pending the results of tests conducted this past weekend.” The Houston Astros made a similar announcement on Monday, while the Washington Nationals halted practices on Monday but returned on Tuesday.

The MLB, which suspended Spring Training on March 12, acknowledged the holiday mishap in a statement, saying the matter has been “addressed with the service providers that are essential to the execution of the protocols.”

The league said on Monday it collected more than 3,700 samples from June 27 to July 30, with all 30 clubs involved. As of July 5, the Utah laboratory had reported results for 98%, leaving some of of them pending as of Monday.

The MLB also said the Utah laboratory “is operating on a seven-day-a-week schedule from July 5th through the end of the World Series.” The league will also test players and staff “every-other-day until the end of the 2020 World Series.”

The MLB said it does not “expect a recurrence” and commended “the affected clubs that responded properly by canceling workouts.

MLB summer camps opened on July 1, after the league and the Major League Baseball Players Association finally came to terms on pay structure and total games. The parties agreed on a 60-game regular season with prorated pay.

The MLB said all players and staff must go through “medical testing and screening processes before entering club facilities.” Full workouts are underway with Opening Day games scheduled for July 23 and July 24.

WATCH: MLB targets 60-game season

— CNBC’s Leslie Josephs contributed to this report.

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