The NHL has released its latest COVID-19 testing results and, somewhat surprisingly, cases amongst the players seem to be going down. Among the 2,618 tests administered to over 800 players, only two individuals tested positive for COVID-19. Both players have self isolated and will re-join their team(s) only after providing negative test results.
Check it out:
The NHL has 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 adminstered 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 HAS to be seen as a positive development for the league, especially with players travelling to Edmonton (Western Conference) and Toronto (Eastern Conference) for the beginning of Phase 4 next week. The real test for the league though, if you pardon the pun, will be when all of the players congregate in Edmonton and Toronto for exhibition games and the beginning of Phase 4. There's likely to be a spike when this occurs, but today's results may mean that the spike in cases will be smaller than the NHL or experts had predicted. Any way you look at it, today's results are fantastic news for the NHL. Certainly zero cases is the goal and the NHL will continue to work toward that goal.
One interesting side-effect of today's news though is just how much it illustrates how bad the NHL's new gag order on injury reports has been. Surely we've all seen the dozen or so "unfit to play" injury reports across the league the past week? Well... as it turns out only two of those players have COVID-19, but because the NHL mandated that teams use the "unfit to play" term to cover anything from COVID-19 to a hangnail, fans and media analysts have been led to believe that there are dozens of cases in the league. It'll be interesting to see if the NHL backs off its policy as we move through the final week of Phase 3.