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Coronavirus: Ottawa Senators have the NHL’s first positive test

The Senators played in San Jose after a recommendation to cancel big events and followed an NBA team with positive tests.
The Ottawa Senators played the San Jose Sharks on March 7 in California. [PETER KLEIN  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
The Ottawa Senators played the San Jose Sharks on March 7 in California. [PETER KLEIN | ZUMAPRESS.com]

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The NHL has its first known case of the coronavirus.

The Senators announced late Tuesday that one of its players tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. The player, who was not identified, had mild symptoms and was in isolation and other players were being tested under the supervision of medical authorities, the team said.

Ottawa players, coaches and others have been advised to remain isolated, monitor their health and seek advice from team medical staff. The NHL is not mandating testing.

Related: Lightning fans can still watch games ... on replay

The Lightning have not played the Senators since Jan. 4.

The Senators played the Sharks in San Jose on March 7, two days after Santa Clara County recommended that large public gatherings be canceled. The Sharks also hosted the Wild and Avalanche before the county banned all crowds of more than 5,000 March 9.

The Senators also played the Kings at Staples Center the day before the NHL suspended its season, the night after the arena hosted the NBA’s Nets, who have had four players test positive for COVID-19, including Kevin Durant. Visiting basketball and hockey teams do not use the same locker room.

The NHL is following the advice of medical experts and testing only players and staff members who are symptomatic.

“The (Senators) player became symptomatic, he told his team medical staff, his team medical staff recommended a test, the player took the test and the test was positive,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the website the Athletic. “So that’s really the approach that everyone really should follow.”

The NHL put its season on hold March 12 but hopes to resume the season at some point.

On Monday, players were directed to remain in self-isolation but were told they could leave their team’s city and return home, including leaving North America. They must remain isolated until March 27.

A total of seven NBA players have tested positive as of Wednesday: besides the four Nets (three of them unidentified), Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz, and Christian Wood of the Pistons. Gobert was the first pro athlete in a major North American sport to have a positive test announced, which led the NBA to be the first major North American pro league to suspend its season.

Contact Diana C. Nearhos at dnearhos@tampabay.com. Follow @dianacnearhos.

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