The Ottawa Senators have announced that one of the organization's players has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
In a statement, the Senators said that the team is "in the process of notifying anyone who has had known close contact with the athlete and are working with our team doctors and public health officials." The player who tested positive, the Senators said, has had mild symptoms and is in isolation. Due to the positive test, Ottawa said it is requesting that all Senators players remain in self-isolation, monitor their health and contact medical staff for advice, if necessary.
"The health of our players, fans, and community remains our highest priority," the Senators said. "We will continue to do everything we can to help ensure our players, staff, fans and the greater community remain safe and healthy during this time of uncertainty due to the spread of the coronavirus."
The positive test for the COVID-19 virus marks the first known positive among active NHL players and comes less than one week after the NHL announced it was pausing its campaign. The NHL's decision to postpone further play came in the wake of the NBA's immediate decision to suspend its season after Utah Jazz played Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.
Within the past two weeks, the Senators have been on the road in several cities and had outings against the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. The contest against the Sharks came the day following a recommendation from Santa Clara County that mass gatherings be cancelled, and California has been impacted heavily by the coronavirus outbreak. As of Monday, the state was reporting 472 cases.
The Senators player's positive test comes the same day that the NBA's Brooklyn Nets announced four players had tested positive for coronavirus, including star Kevin Durant. Other North American athletes who have tested positive for the virus include Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz, NBA), Christian Wood (Detroit Pistons, NBA), an unnamed player from the XFL's Seattle Dragons and an unnamed player from the MLB's New York Yankees organization. In addition, several athletes in Europe's soccer circuits have tested positive. Previously, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Aaron Ness had been tested for coronavirus, but agent Neil Sheehy announced results were negative.
The NHL announced Monday that players are permitted to return to their home countries if they so choose, but those who do so were asked to remain in self-quarantine until at least March 27.
UPDATE: The Senators announced Saturday afternoon that a second player has tested positive for coronavirus.
In a statement, Ottawa said that eight of the 52 people who travelled with the Senators on a recent road trip to California, which includes players, staff, media guests and flight crew, have been tested. The team said it is awaiting results from tests that have taken place over the past three days, and that those were a part of the trip to California have been instructed to self-quarantine.
"The Ottawa Senators' medical team is actively monitoring players and staff and following all appropriate and professional guidelines to help ensure the health and safety of our employees and the greater community," the Senators added.
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