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Several Blue Jackets players test positive for COVID-19

The Columbus Blue Jackets have had several players test positive for COVID-19, the team confirmed in a statement provided to Sportsnet.

“The Blue Jackets had several players recently test positive for the COVID-19 virus. Those players immediately began to quarantine and the club closed its off-ice facilities at Nationwide Arena beginning the week of November 16,” the Blue Jackets’ statement reads.

“No voluntary workouts were scheduled this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. The organization has and will continue to follow all recommended guidelines aimed at protecting the health and safety of our players, staff and community at large as set by the NHL, local, state and national agencies.”

The news comes one day after the Vegas Golden Knights confirmed four of their players had tested positive for COVID-19 as well.

The league staged the entirety of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Edmonton and Toronto secure zones without any positive COVID-19 tests, but are once again seeing the difficulty of controlling the spread of the virus outside of a bubble environment.

Multiple positive tests arose among NHL clubs back in July, during Phase 2 of the league’s return-to-play protocol, during which time players were reporting to team training facilities for optional practices.

“The club anticipates players returning to our facilities next week for voluntary on- and off-ice workouts,” the Blue Jackets said via the aforementioned statement.

While plans have yet to be finalized, the NHL is targeting a Jan. 1 start date for the upcoming season.

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