Infectious disease expert: NHL’s first positive COVID-19 test ‘not surprising’

With an Ottawa Senator becoming the first NHL player to test positive for COVID-19, Hockey Central Insider Elliotte Friedman joins Faizal Khamisa to discuss the latest developments.

An infectious disease expert says the NHL’s first positive test for COVID-19 doesn’t come as a shock. And Dr. Gerald Evans adds the league should be prepared for more cases in the widening pandemic.

The Ottawa Senators announced late Tuesday one of their players had contracted the novel coronavirus, has had mild symptoms and is in isolation.

The team added it was in the process of notifying anyone who has had known close contact with the athlete, and is working with doctors and public health officials. The Senators have asked all their players to remain isolated, adding their medical staff will be monitoring their health.

Evans, the chair of the infectious disease division at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., said the player in question was likely infected between one and two weeks ago when games were still being held, meaning he would have come in close contact with both teammates, staff and opponents.

Evans said the case is a perfect example of why social distancing between people is crucial to try and lessen the spread of coronavirus.

The NHL, along with most other sports leagues in North America, paused its season late last week after Rudy Gobert of the NBA’s Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. Six other NBA players, including one of Gobert’s teammates and four members of the Brooklyn Nets, have also tested positive.

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