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NHL, NHLPA to eliminate testing in asymptomatic people

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Maybe it’s a sign that life, or at least life in the National Hockey League, is getting back to normal.

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With most teams dealing with COVID-19 and the Omicron Variant outbreak, and the mild impact of the virus, the NHL announced on Tuesday it would halt testing of asymptomatic people after the All-Star break earlier this month. next and that testing will only be required for cross-border travel and if a person develops symptoms.

A positive result would still require entering COVID-19 protocol and a five-day isolation period for a vaccinated individual – which had been reduced to 10 days by the NHL in late December.

All of this is waiting for positive test results to continue to decline within the NHL and requires approval from NHL and NHLPA medical experts by Jan. 31.

But it’s OK for the Calgary Flames, according to forward Blake Coleman, if it goes into effect.

“I think it’s great,” the 30-year-old said of the NHL News. “I think I speak for most people in our room and hopefully in the world where we’re just ready to move on and live life and make things the way they are. they should. And while we definitely respect that not everyone has asymptomatic experiences with the disease or fairly mild cases that we’ve seen across our team and the league with guys I know, we’re all just ready to play and not miss matches for which we consider something that is not (serious).

Almost the entire team, coaches and support staff tested positive in early December when the Omicron wave hit. They believe they have seen and been through the worst.

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Between their own outbreak, the impact on the NHL, and arena attendance restrictions across the province of Alberta and Canada, this has caused a total of 10 games to be postponed.

But now healthy and ready to phase out unnecessary PCR testing, Coleman, echoing the thoughts of many, thinks it makes sense to get back to normal.

It’s a move that follows the National Football League and National Basketball Association’s decision not to test asymptomatic people.

Currently, the NHL is operating under enhanced COVID-19 protocols, which include masking and social distancing, although restrictions have eased significantly as teams emerge from their own outbreaks. The NHL and NHLPA will meet on January 31 to review protocols while current preventative measures remain in place for the short term.

The Flames have reported mild to asymptomatic cases among their infected players and staff, which is good news. And most didn’t need testing anyway, due to NHL protocols on who tested positive. The NHL states that an individual does not need testing for a period of 90 days after their last negative test.

Coleman, winger Matthew Tkachuk and defender Michael Stone were the only three players who did not test positive during this recent outbreak, despite all three having contracted COVID-19 in the past.

“I went through the flu and felt worse than when I tested positive in July,” Coleman said. “I think the guys are ready to play. I think people have taken the necessary steps to prevent things from getting out of control. But I think we’re in a situation now where everyone feels good about moving forward and getting the NHL and life back to where it should be.

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