A Tier 3 Washington Football Team staffer has tested positive for the first-known case of the Omicron coronavirus variant in the NFL on Monday, NBC Sports Washington's Pete Hailey confirmed. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero was the first to report the news.
A Tier 3 employee is described in the following by ESPN.
Tier 3 will consist of certain operational personnel, in-house media and broadcast personnel, field manager, transportation providers and individuals who perform essential facility, stadium or event services but do not require close contact with Tier 1 individuals. Team and other personnel who work exclusively in areas of team facilities that are or will be completely cordoned off from the rest of the facility do not need to be credentialed in one of the three access tiers.
The Omicron variant first emerged in the area when three Baltimore cases were detected earlier this month. On Sunday, Washington D.C. city health officials announced four unrelated cases of the variant, three of which had come from travel over the holidays.
The news comes on the back of the NFL announcing 36 other positive tests, the biggest addition to the reserve/COVID-19 list since the list's creation last year, Pelissero reported. Those players, 25 active and another 11 from practice squads, included big names like Washington captain Jonathan Allen and a couple of Rams missing out on Monday Night Football in star corner Jalen Ramsey and tight end Tyler Higbee.
As a result, the NFL sent out a memo requiring all Tier 1 and Tier 2 personnel to get booster shots, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported.
Though unclear how transmissible the heavily mutated Omicron is compared to the delta variant, the World Health Organization labeled it as a "variant of concern." First reported to WHO on Nov. 24 from South Africa, Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed at a vaccination clinic on Monday the world's first publicly known Omicron death.
In the United States, the Omicron variant has been identified in at least 30 states, according to the Washington Post.