Report: Lightning temporarily close facilities after players, staff test positive for COVID-19

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TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 29: The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate the win against the Calgary Flames at Amalie Arena on February 29, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette /NHLI via Getty Images)
Several members of the the Tampa Bay Lightning have tested positive for COVID-19. (Photo by Scott Audette /NHLI via Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been forced to temporarily close down their practice facility after multiple players and staff members tested positive for the coronavirus, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports.

It’s been two weeks since NHL teams were first given clearance to open practice rinks for non-mandatory workouts. While there have been hiccups with false positives since semi-organized team activities began, this is the first collection of positive tests, along with the first temporary closure of a facility.

McKenzie reports that three unnamed Lightning players and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19, and all others who have entered the facility are in the process of being tested again. He notes that the facility could re-open, and Phase 2 may continue, if no other positive tests turn up.

Florida has had significant issues recently with the coronavirus as cases spike in the United States, seeing the state’s largest single-day count on Friday with 3,822 confirmed cases, breaking the previous high of 3,207 set on Thursday.

It was also reported that Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies also had an outbreak at their Spring Training facility in Clearwater, Fla., with eight confirmed cases revealed Friday.

The NHL acknowledged last month that positive tests were certainly a possibility as it laid out the roadmap for a return to play, with deputy commissioner Bill Daly stating that isolated cases would not force the league to suspend plans.

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