Clearly, the NHL is not out of the woods yet, but Monday, the league got good news as only two positive test cases for COVID-19 were present among more than 2600 tests and 800 players.
Every Monday, the NHL plans to update media and fans regarding results for numerous tests administered to keep players and those involved with production of these unique playoffs safe. As the league and its players undergo multiple tests and with test results revealing how well the players are moving from their homes and team cities to the playoff hubs and inside the NHL bubbles (Edmonton and Toronto), the news could be devastating. Too many positive tests and things could be delayed, if not canceled.
No one wants any positive cases, but the fear was, on the way to the cities and as the NHL prepares for playoff action, there would be quite a few.
That didn’t happen.
An update came on Monday regarding the latest testing numbers for COVID-19 and the news was fairly encouraging. The NHL Public Relations department relayed a statement from the NHL:
“The NHL concluded the first five days (July 13-17) of Phase 3 (formal training camp) of its Return to Play with two positive test results for COVID-19 among the 2,618 tests administered to more than 800 players. Both Players who tested positive have self-isolated and are following CDC and Health Canada protocols. During Phase 3, the NHL will continue to provide regular updates on the number of tests administered to Players and the results of those tests. The League will not be providing information on the identity of the Players or Clubs.”
This is a Key Time For the NHL
Once in the NHL bubbles, the NHL can breathe a little. Obviously the testing won’t be over and there is some concern players won’t follow the protocols as stringently as they should, but the hard work is done. The heavy lifting of moving hundreds of players into a more controlled environment is over.
TSN’s Ryan Rishaug notes that NHL players need three negative tests spaced 48 hours apart in the 7 days prior to travel to Canada. If not, “they won’t hit that mark. Some players could be left behind until cleared.”
That means, this Wednesday and Thursday will be key for players who want to make it to the bubble on time and join their teammates.
So, as the NHL tries to get its ducks in a row, every week that there are fewer positives tests than expected means the safety measures are working. Nothing is perfect, but it would be easy for things to get away from the NHL and so far, this news is positive.
Look at it this way… KHL Avangard Omsk has confirmed that they themselves have 20 active COVID-19 cases. That’s just one team.
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