NHL goes back to daily COVID testing amid spike in positive tests

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Aug 13, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; General view of NHL logo in the stands during the warmup period between the Dallas Stars and the Calgary Flames in game two of the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL is bringing back daily testing for COVID-19 as the league grapples with the spread of the virus.

Testing is just one part of tougher COVID-19 protocols the league announced Saturday. The protocols begin immediately and will run through the new year, with their effectiveness to be evaluated no later than Jan. 7.

In addition, masks must be worn at all times by players and members of the team’s traveling party in club facilities and while on the road, and personnel must maintain physical distance while eating. Other rules include prohibiting team personnel from eating or drinking in indoor restaurants or bars open to the public.

In its memo sent to teams announcing the policy change, the NHL said “changing societal realities with the new Omicron COVID-19 variant” were the impetus. The Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers are on pause through next week because of outbreaks.

ESPN estimated the number of players in the league’s COVID-19 protocol at 70, or about 10 percent of all players.

The enhanced measures were agreed to between the league and the players association and apply to all team members, no matter what their vaccination status.

–Field Level Media