Because players will spend most of their time in isolation, they will have access to mental health apps and other health resources, said Packer, the director of the players’ association.
Even with these protocols and precautions in place, completing the brief season is not guaranteed.
For weeks, New York’s coronavirus-related hospitalization rates have been rising. Counties in the North Country region — which includes Lake Placid — have had average daily case rates of at least 45 per 100,000 people in the past week.
“We have fewer beds in hospitals here,” Wylie said. “The impact is larger if something goes on.”
The N.W.H.L. will be administering nasal and saliva tests with the help of the Yale School of Public Health.
If a player tests positive, that player’s team must be also tested and receive results within 24 hours, a spokeswoman for the development authority said. And if games were played in the 48 hours before a player tested positive, officials and opposing teams must also be tested and have results within 24 hours. (A spokeswoman for the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association said there were no positive coronavirus tests during its competition this month in Florida.)
Tumminia added that if people tested positive in the bubble, they would be required to remain in isolation until they received two negative reads of a test. If a player on more than one team tests positive, the league will consider ending operations in the bubble, with league doctors helping to decide whether a team has enough healthy players to compete — for this season, rosters have been expanded from 17 active players to 20.
The N.W.H.L. will rely on the same kind of test used by the N.B.A., and results can be available 12 hours after testing, said Anne Wyllie, an associate research scientist in epidemiology who worked on Yale’s production of the test.
Unlike professional athletes in other sports bubbles, N.W.H.L. players were not able to arrive well in advance of the games to quarantine for an extended period. The N.W.H.L. received an exemption for professional sports athletes outlined in New York State guidelines. The league’s teams — representing Toronto, Buffalo, New Jersey, Connecticut, Boston and Minnesota — were scheduled to arrive on Thursday and Friday.
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