NHL decreases COVID isolation time from 10 to 5 days

The NHL is reducing the standard isolation period for players who test positive for COVID-19 from 10 days to five, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

The move follows similar changes made by the NFL and NBA this week and aligns with new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new protocol is subject to approval from local jurisdictions, which includes the five Canadian provinces that have NHL teams, ESPN reported. In Canada, the 10-day isolation requirement remains, so the new protocols, for now, apply to only U.S.-based teams.

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NHL and NHLPA agree to reduce isolation time

Under the new rules, players can leave isolation after five games if they have a negative test and no symptoms. They still must wear a mask for five more days except when they are on the ice, ESPN reported.

The NHL has postponed 80 games this season due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

NHL Covid changes
Nov 22, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic (96) celebrates his goal with left wing Gregory Hofmann (15) during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Per the NHLPA’s website, changes to the Protocol after a positive test includes:

  • Isolate for five days;
  • If the individual has a fever, continue to isolate until their fever resolves;
  • If the individual has no symptoms or their symptoms are resolving after five days, they can leave isolation and return to practices and games, provided the following conditions are met:
    • A lab-based PCR test that is negative, or a lab-based PCR test that has a CT value >30, or two negative molecular point of care tests collected >2 hours apart; and,
    • Medical clearance from the individual’s Club physician; and,
    • Such exit is permitted by their local health authority.
    • The individual shall continue to always wear a mask around others for five additional days, other than for practices and games.

All other aspects of the Protocol remain in place.

The NHL’s and NHLPA’s medical experts will re-evaluate these measures on or before Jan. 12.

–Field Level Media contributed to this article