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NHL reports 2 positive COVID-19 tests in Phase 3

Head coach Barry Trotz of the New York

Head coach Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders skates during summer training camp at Northwell Health Ice Center on Sunday, July 19, 2020 in East Meadow, New York. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The first week of full training camps for the resumption of the NHL season brought just two positive COVID-19 tests among more than 800 players, a healthy indication the 24 teams will be able to report to their hub cities later this week without issue.

The NHL on Monday released its fourth weekly report of COVID-19 testing. It was, significantly, the first one including all the players expected to participate in the games at Toronto or Edmonton. The teams will travel to the quarantined arena/hotel bubble in their hub city on Sunday.

The NHL reported it administered 2,618 tests to more than 800 players in the five days since formal training camps — Phase 3 — opened on July 13 at team facilities. NHL players are being tested every other day, at a minimum.

The two players who did test positive have self-isolated, the NHL reported.

NHL policy — negotiated with the NHL Players’ Association — is not to identify the individual players who test positive or their team.

“The NHL has probably done the most thorough job in terms of staying on top of things and keeping people informed,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said after the report was released. “The players have been very professional and understanding the importance of the procedures and how it affects the whole group.”

The first three weekly reports released by the NHL were based on tests administered during the voluntary, small-group workouts at the team facilities that began on June 8.

During that Phase 2, the NHL administered 4,934 COVID-19 tests to more than 600 players, with 30 confirmed positive results. In addition, the NHL reported 13 players tested positive outside of Phase 2 protocols.

Each of the teams participating in the NHL’s return-to-play plan can bring a maximum of 52 people, including players, coaches, management, doctors, trainers and equipment staff, to their hub city bubble.

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