NHL cutting COVID-19 isolation time to 5 days, change doesn't apply to Canada

The NHL is following other leagues and the CDC by cutting COVID-19 isolation times to five days under certain conditions and where it is allowed by local laws.

10 athletes, 3 staff members from Canada's bobsleigh team come down with COVID-19

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the new protocols, which will apply for 14 days before league and players' association officials reconvene to review the situation. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

The latest sports news:

  • NHL cutting COVID-19 isolation time to 5 days, change doesn't apply to Canada
  • COVID outbreak on Canada's bobsleigh team
  • Canucks forwards Boeser, Di Giuseppe added to NHL's COVID protocol
  • NBA postpones Heat-Spurs matchup after Miami has COVID outbreak

The NHL is following other leagues and the CDC by cutting COVID-19 isolation times to five days under certain conditions and where it is allowed by local laws.

The change went into effect Wednesday and applies only in the U.S. because of stricter pandemic regulations in Canada. The league has 25 teams based in the U.S. and seven in Canada and on Tuesday postponed nine games scheduled for north of the border because of attendance limits imposed by provincial governments.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the new protocols, which were first reported by Daily Faceoff. They apply for 14 days, at which time league and players' association officials will reconvene to review the situation.

Players, coaches and staff who tested positive for the coronavirus can return after five days if symptoms are gone or resolving themselves with a negative PCR test or two negative rapid test results taken more than two hours apart.

"I think that's a good step," Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg said on a video call. "Obviously testing will still be a regular thing, I'm sure, and that's something that we dealt with all last year, so we're used to that. But I think that's the way to do it as long as we can keep everything in the way it's been, which has been pretty safe to me."

The 10-day isolation requirement remains in Canada. The NBA and NFL previously reduced to six and five days, respectively, after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance.

Hockey players this week had expressed a desire for shorter isolation times. Daily testing and enhanced protocols, including mask-wearing at team facilities unless on the ice for games or practices, are in effect through at least Jan. 7.

The league has postponed 80 games so far this season, counting the nine in Canada because of crowd restrictions in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. Another game, scheduled for Jan. 12 between the Canadiens and Bruins, was moved from Montreal to Boston, where fans are permitted.

Canada's bobsleigh team hit with COVID-19 outbreak

Ten athletes and three staff members of Canada's Bobsleigh and Skeleton team have come down with COVID-19 in Sigulda, Latvia, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton confirmed.

"We can confirm there has been a COVID outbreak within Canada's bobsleigh team who remained in Latvia during the holiday break to minimize travel and prepare for this week's World Cup races," the organization said in a statement Wednesday.

"The health and safety of all athletes, teams, staff and communities where we live, train and compete is always our first priority.

"[We have] robust health and safety protocols in place under the guidance of federal, provincial, and local public health officials that we continue to follow in our return to sport."

Canada's bobsled team had spent the holiday break in Latvia to minimize travel ahead of the upcoming World Cup event in Sigulda.

The skeleton team has no positive COVID-19 cases.

The statement said affected individuals are in quarantine and following all of the required protocols in place to protect themselves and the community at large.

"Our focus remains now on monitoring and looking after everybody in our group that's been affected," said the Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton statement.

Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton said it will not release any further information about the people affected to respect their privacy.

The World Cup event in Latvia is a double two-man race, with two more weekends of full competition scheduled in Winterberg, Germany on Jan. 8 and 9 and then in St. Moritz, Switzerland on Jan. 15 and 16.

Canucks add Boeser, Di Giuseppe to protocol

Vancouver Canucks forwards Brock Boeser and Phillip Di Giuseppe and a member of the team's support staff have been added to the NHL's COVID-19 protocol list hours before the team was scheduled to return to action after an extended break.

The Canucks were set to face the Ducks in Anaheim, Calif., on Wednesday night.

They haven't played since a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 16. gave them a sixth straight win under new head coach Bruce Boudreau.

Forward Alex Chiasson is the only other member of the Canucks currently in protocol.

Boeser has nine goals and 17 points in 28 games this season, including points in six of eight games this month.

Di Giuseppe has 16 points in 19 games with the American Hockey League's Abbotsford Canucks this season.

Heat vs. Spurs postponed as Miami has COVID outbreak

The NBA postponed Wednesday's game between Miami and San Antonio after a combination of injuries and positive COVID-19 tests left the Heat unable to meet the league's requirement of eight available players.

It was the 10th game postponed in the NBA this season because of virus-related issues. None has been rescheduled at this point.

Miami had 12 players listed as out for the game against the Spurs for a variety of reasons. The Heat beat Washington on Tuesday night with eight players available — and of those, only five would have been able to play Wednesday in San Antonio.

Gabe Vincent, who played 35 minutes in Tuesday's win, learned after the game that he had a positive test and couldn't travel. Jimmy Butler was ruled out for Wednesday after spraining his right ankle with about a minute left in the Wizards' game and KZ Okpala was unable to play because of an injury he sustained Tuesday as well.

The Heat also added P.J. Tucker and and Zylan Cheatham, neither of whom played Tuesday, to the health and safety protocols. And Tuesday's game came after Miami guard Max Strus — who had been feeling no symptoms — was pulled after he warmed up, because of a positive test that required him to enter the protocols.

with files from CBC Sports, The Canadian Press

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