Ottawa player first in NHL to test positive for COVID-19

The NHL has its first known case of the new coronavirus after an Ottawa Senators player tested positive.

The team announced late Tuesday that an unidentified player had tested positive for COVID-19. The Senators said the player has mild symptoms and is in isolation, and that other players are being tested under the supervision of medical authorities.

Ottawa players, coaches and others have been advised to remain isolated, monitor their health and seek advice from team medical staff. The NHL is not mandating testing.

“The current state of medical advice is that people should likely not be tested unless they are symptomatic,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press by email Wednesday. “That doesn’t mean that potentially exposed individuals shouldn’t take proper precautions such as adhering to self-quarantine principles as necessary and immediately reporting to medical staff should they become symptomatic.”

NHL Players’ Association spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said the union has been in contact with Senators players about the situation.

The Senators’ final three games before the season was suspended were all in California: in San Jose on March 7, Anaheim on March 10 and Los Angeles against the Kings on March 11. The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, who had four players test positive, played at Staples Center in Los Angeles the previous night, though visiting basketball and hockey teams do not use the same locker room.

The Kings released a statement saying they will continue monitoring daily, but no member of the organization has demonstrated any symptoms consistent with the onset of COVID-19. The Ducks said no player has reported COVID-19 symptoms at this time.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman last week announced the season was on pause with the hope of resuming and still awarding the Stanley Cup. The league and players’ association provided new direction to players Monday that effectively pushed back the earliest resumption date to early May, in light of CDC guidelines.

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