On Thursday, the Colorado Avalanche announced that a, unnamed player has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Per the team, the player had already been isolating for two weeks under the guidelines of the league and local officials when symptoms appeared, and has since recovered and is back to normal.
“The Colorado Avalanche were advised today that a player has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The player has been at home in isolation since the first symptoms appeared, has recovered and is back to normal. The Avalanche have notified anyone who has had known close contact with the athlete.”
An update from our organization.https://t.co/4tBJqIY691— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 26, 2020
According to the Government of Canada’s Department of Health, “symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19.” It has been exactly two weeks since the Avalanche’s last game — a 3-2 win in overtime over the New York Rangers at home — and a player has since contracted the virus, developed symptoms, and recovered from their illness.
Earlier that night, NBA player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 and the league swiftly shut down and suspended their league. Gobert had played at Madison Square Garden having already shown symptoms before the Rangers played at home before flying to Colorado. Around the same time, the Avalanche were in San Jose on the 8th of March, playing against the Sharks despite local officials’ recommendations to cancel games due to the virus.
#SJSharks on @HealthySCC recommendation to cancel games: "Tonight's...game will go on as scheduled. We will be evaluating further upcoming events in the coming days."— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) March 6, 2020
Upcoming SAP Barracuda/Sharks schedule:
TR Wild @ SJS
Fri Gulls @ SJB
Sat Sens @ SJS, Gulls @ SJB
Sun Avs @ SJS pic.twitter.com/oDadd1hnmH
We don’t know when the player contracted the virus, we will never know, but that’s not the point. When it comes to managing outbreaks, it’s all about reducing risks. Could it have come from Gobert and the Rangers? Maybe. Could it have come from San Jose? Maybe. Could it have come from a completely different source? Maybe. We don’t know, but that only means trying to reduce the risk of spread from as many directions as possible.
The NHL (and the NBA up to a point) failed to manage the health risks to their players, staff, and fans. Two weeks ago we may have scoffed at the idea of cancelling hockey games. Today we understand why.
As of the time of publishing, according to the CDC, the USA is reporting a total of 68,440 cases in the country, an increase of 13,987 from yesterday. 994 people have died from the virus since the first reported case on January 22nd.