As coronavirus cases across the country and in the county of Los Angeles continue to surge, SoFi Stadium, the soon-to-be home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, continues to pile up cases of its own.
The first positive case of COVID-19 by a worker at SoFi Stadium was reported in March, and since that time another 48 workers have tested positive, bringing the total number of positive cases up to 49.
*UPDATE: As of August 14, 2020, the number of positive cases has reached 77.
Los Angeles Times writer Nathan Fenno was the first to report the new total of 49 after the County Department of Public Health disclosed the number on Friday. They also noted that 16 more workers tested positive in the last week alone.
The Times story adds that seven workers currently working at the new NFL Media Facility adjacent to SoFi Stadium also tested positive for COVID-19.
According to The Times, the general contractor in charge of the project, Turner-AECOM Hunt, downplayed the number of positive cases based on the total number of workers who have been on the project since it began.
"Over the past five months, 4,000 people have been working on-site. Their safety remains our top priority. As the impact from COVID-19 was beginning to be felt, the Turner/AECOM team implemented a robust mitigation program, including temperature screening and mandatory social distancing and face masks at all times, in addition to frequent hand sanitizing of common areas. Contact tracing is conducted in each COVID-19 case and the data suggests workers were infected off the project site. The diagnosed individuals were working in separate areas from each other across this approximately three million square foot open-air facility and throughout the 298-acre site. We continue to work closely with the Health Department to keep our strict protocols in place. We have maintained progress on the project and are in the process of turning over the stadium for the owner's use. The stadium will be ready for the NFL season."
Meanwhile, cases in California, and more specifically, Los Angeles County continue to reach all-time highs. Over 8,000 new cases were reported on Monday, and the state has now recorded over 400,000 cases in total, the second most in the United States behind New York. If California continues recording cases at their current pace, they will surpass New York for the most cases in the country by the end of the week.
Of course the coronavirus is just one of many troubling events that have plagued SoFi Stadium since it broke ground in November of 2016.
The $5 billion stadium fluttered out of the gate due to FAA regulations. By May of 2017, developers announced that the completion of the stadium would be delayed a year because of record rainfall and flooding.
Many fans believed that the stadium was cursed, but construction continued on, and by the beginning of 2020—the year it was set to open—the stadium was 85 percent complete. The coronavirus struck in March, and spread throughout the construction crews. On June 5, construction was halted after an unidentified worker fell to their death while working on the stadium's roof. Shortly thereafter, the concert that was slated to open the stadium in late July, Taylor Swift's Lover Fest Tour, was cancelled.
Despite all these setbacks, and the prospect of playing games at the stadium this season without fans, or not playing football at all this year, SoFi Stadium continues to forge ahead and is nearing completion. The Los Angeles Rams twitter account released new photos inside the venue on Monday, and we have to admit, it looks amazing.
**This article has been updated with the most recent number of confirmed cases as of Aug. 14, 2020, and a statement from Turner/AECOM.