Coronavirus: NHL shortening some isolation requirements per CDC guidelines

The NHL is updating its isolation requirements for those who test positive for COVID-19 based on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Under the new protocol, which went into effect Wednesday, players, coaches and staff who test positive for COVID-19 can return to work after five days if their symptoms are gone or if they have a negative PCR test or two negative rapid test results more than two hours apart, The Associated Press reported.

The change in rules applies only in the United States, because Canada has stricter pandemic regulations.

Those who test positive will still need to be masked in all settings outside games and practices for an additional five days, and other protocols for COVID-19, like cardiac screening, will remain in place, Sportsnet reported.

In the memo updating policies, the NHL lays out that the new rules only apply if they are approved by local health authorities, ESPN reported.

Daily testing and other enhanced protocols, like wearing masks unless on the ice for games or practices, remain in effect through at least Jan. 7, the AP reported.

Many players had been pushing for looser restrictions. “Hopefully we can start moving along with COVID. I don’t think we’re going to move past it, but we have to accept that this is going to be a part of our lives and, hopefully, guys like me don’t have to miss 10 days of action when we don’t feel any symptoms,” Taylor Hall of the Boston Bruins told ESPN.

So far, the NHL has postponed 80 games this season.

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