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NHL to stop COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic players, staff after All-Star break

NHL to stop COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic players, staff after All-Star break
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the league plan to halt COVID-19 testing after the All-Star break if cases continue to decrease around the NHL. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The NHL plans to stop testing asymptomatic players and staff members for COVID-19 after the All-Star break in early February.

The NHL and the players' union reached an agreement on the updated COVID-19 protocol Tuesday.

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The league plans to continue the current COVID-19 testing protocol through Feb. 3. If positive test results continue to decline within the NHL -- and the medical experts from the NHL and the NHL Players Association agree on the updated protocol by Jan. 31 -- the new protocol will go into effect after the break.

The NHL will still test all players and staff members before cross-border travel between Canada and the United States. Players who exhibit symptoms also will be required to undergo testing.

The NHL shifted to daily COVID-19 testing as part of its enhanced protocols in December after multiple outbreaks across the league forced numerous postponements. However, the NHL has softened some of its policies since, including reducing the self-isolation period for positive tests from 10 days to five for those who are asymptomatic.

The NHL's All-Star weekend is scheduled to take place Feb. 4-5 in Las Vegas. Players will be tested for the coronavirus before arrival, but they won't be tested throughout the weekend.

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According to data from the NHL, 73% of the league has recorded a positive COVID-19 test this season. The NHL doesn't test a player for 90 days after a confirmed positive result.

Currently, Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi is the only player in the league who is unvaccinated.

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