With two players testing positive for COVID-19 within the last week, the Penguins are ramping up testing protocols within the team, and going a step further than what the NHL requires.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said Sunday that the team would be bringing back daily testing for the virus. Earlier in the week, the team announced that Zach Aston-Reese tested positive for the virus, and announced Sunday that Jake Guentzel did the same.
Daily testing is not a league requirement, but after two positive tests within a week, the Penguins will be testing more than is mandated.
Per Mike Sullivan, the Penguins will ramp up covid testing on a daily basis. Previously, they had been doing it every few days.— Seth Rorabaugh (@SethRorabaugh) October 3, 2021
Prior to this week, the team had been doing testing every few days.
NHL.com correspondent Wes Crosby noted that Sullivan and players who were made available to media on Sunday were wearing masks, as well.
To recap:— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) October 3, 2021
-- Sullivan and the players wore masks to the podium postgame.
-- Sullivan announces the #Pens players and staff will be tested for COVID daily. That is not a League requirement. That is the team making the choice to have daily tests.
-- No further update on Guentzel.
Sullivan also added that the team may bring back elements of social distancing in the locker room to help prevent any further spread of the virus.
Sullivan: "I think this is the reality of pro sports right now. Until the world gets a handle on this pandemic, we're all trying to manage through it." #Pens— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) October 3, 2021
Going a step above the required testing mandates and adding elements of social distancing could presumably help the team catch any more positive cases within the team before they spread rapidly, helping to prevent the team from a full shutdown.
General Manager Ron Hextall recently said that all players but one were vaccinated against COVID-19, with the lone player who was not, expected to be vaccinated soon.
It’s unclear when Aston-Reese or Guentzel will clear the league's COVID-19 protocol.