The Columbus Blue Jackets have revealed that a handful of players have tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first major outbreak since the postseason bubble ended. Some players are staying sharp overseas, but others are in North America training. The team has closed off-ice facilities and players are currently in quarantine for the foreseeable future. Frank Seravalli announced the Columbus move Tuesday morning.
Hearing a “significant” number of Columbus Blue Jackets players have tested positive for COVID-19 over the last 7-to-10 days.
The team has confirmed only that “several” players have tested positive. Team facilities have been closed since last week.
Statement from #CBJ: pic.twitter.com/m4nUkyaxYu
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) November 24, 2020
Blue Jackets Test Positive
This announcement comes at a time where the league and players are trying to nail down details about the upcoming season. There are still concerns around both league finances and how much travel should be involved. This outbreak is a strong reminder of how limited fan attendance could be when the season begins in 2021 if a vaccine is not widely-available.
Nobody wants an outbreak at all. But, it thankfully falls at a time when many U.S.-born players are relaxing over the Thanksgiving weekend. Health obviously affects holiday plans, but it occurs at a lull in the general calendar. People merely need to wait until after the Thanksgiving holiday to see if players can be cleared for workouts.
The Situation Remains Dynamic
Columbus and the NHL will be very aggressive in ensuring proper health and safety protocols are followed. Further spread of the disease through team activities is the absolute last thing that anyone wants. There will be multiple tests conducted over the next few weeks to determine if anyone beyond the initial handful are in danger. This situation also likely factors into the discussion about how best to manage distancing for next season, whenever it begins.
This situation is one to monitor until it resolves. We may never know who tested positive given healthcare privacy laws, but it is still scary given the rising positivity rates across much of North America. The one thing we can hope for is that nobody suffers serious long-term effects when operations resume.