Here’s what you need to know:
There Are 4 Positive Cases Amongst the Production Team
According to a spokesperson for the show, throughout the first week of the show being on the air there were four positive cases of COVID-19. But that’s four out of over 300 employees and they are all from different areas of the production.
The spokesperson said:
Over the course of five days, there were a total of four Covid positives among more than 300 production employees. All four individuals work in completely different departments that do not have in-person contact with each other, based on our pod system.
Contact tracing was immediately conducted. All close contacts were notified and put on an increased testing cadence. No close contact of the four positive production employees has since tested positive. The entire set has been disinfected. As an extra precaution, we asked the majority of employees to work from home.
The source also said that “Dancing With the Stars” has been given the greenlight to continue production and none ofthe infected people are cast members, judges or professional dancers.
The Pod System Was Implemented in Season 30
In the fall of 2021 for season 30, “Dancing With the Stars” started having a larger production than in season 29, which was conducted with minimal crew and no live audience.
In season 30, there was a limited audience and a strict pod system in place, plus frequent testing. At the time that dancer Cheryl Burke and her partner Cody Rigsby tested positive for COVID, a representative for the show told People that they had a “comprehensive safety plan” in place.
The statement said:
We follow CDC guidelines and a comprehensive safety plan that includes social distancing, PPE and KN95 masks. All of Zone A is required to be fully vaccinated, regular testing of cast and crew and more. On set we have a strict pod system, all couples have their own hair and makeup so the pods are no more than four people.
The show’s COVID team is monitoring this situation and the whole production, as the health and safety of our entire cast and crew is top priority. Additionally, couples rehearse solo in the studio. There isn’t a crew in the room, only a robotic camera.
Additionally, dancer Sharna Burgess shared in her Instagram stories at the time that the protocols for season 30 were even stricter than they were in season 29 because they did start opening up production to a small live audience, which meant more chances of exposure.
After Burke and Rigsby tested positive, they were judged that first week on their rehearsal footage and then the following week, they danced separately on a split screen from their respective homes. The show has not said what will be the protocol if a pro dancer or contestant tests positive in season 31, but it seems likely that they’ll stick to the precedent set last season and at least let them dance for one week from home.
“Dancing With the Stars” airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Pacific time on Disney Plus.