CM – Sharks’ Tomas Hertl is playing on Tuesday, which may conflict with the county’s COVID rules

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SAN JOSE – Tomas Hertl, who tested positive for COVID-19 on December 21, played in the Sharks Game with the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday, a move that appears to be in contradiction to return to work guidelines of Santa Clara County represents those who recently tested positive for the coronavirus.

Just hours before the team’s game with the Coyotes, the Sharks announced that Hertl, the team’s leading goalscorer, has been removed from the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol and is expected to play at the SAP Center on Tuesday.

The NHL’s COVID protocol rules for this season state that if an asymptomatic and fully vaccinated person who tested positive has two or more negative PCR tests one day apart, team doctors in consultation with the infectious disease expert The club – and when permitted under applicable law, federal, state, or local health authority laws – may request early isolation for the league and the NHL Players’ Association.

Hertl, Sharks trainer Bob Boughner said Tuesday morning, tested negative for COVID on Monday and was waiting to see if he tested negative again. Tuesday was the seventh day since Hertl’s first positive test.

However, in an August letter to employers outlining return to work guidelines for those who tested positive, the Santa Clara County Health Department wrote, “If the person has never had symptoms and positive for COVID-19 -Virus has been tested, she can go back to work 10 days after her first positive test is collected.  »

When asked by this news organization whether the guidelines have been updated since August, the county wrote through a spokesman on Tuesday in an email reply: « The Santa Clara County rules regarding return to work after a positive COVID-19 tests haven’t changed. If the person has never had symptoms and tests positive for the COVID-19 virus, they can return to work 10 days after picking up the first positive test.

Hertl and striker Jonathan Dahlen entered the protocol on December 21st. Hertl leads the Sharks with 14 goals, is one of the leaders of the team and is second among all strikers in average time on the ice at 18:39 per game.

Tuesday’s game was San Jose’s first game since December 16. At the Sharks, three scheduled games were postponed this month due to COVID-related reasons, most recently a street game scheduled for Monday with the Anaheim Ducks.

Sharks defender Brent Burns entered the NHL’s COVID protocol on December 17th and was due to return against the Coyotes on Tuesday night.

Hertl, 28, had COVID last season but was symptomatic and missed six games from February 27 to March 8.

The Sharks’ game with the Coyotes was one of three NHL games on Tuesday. A fourth game, Columbus in Chicago, has been postponed. By Monday, 70 games had been postponed across the league, including the three Sharks games.

Dahlen and goalkeeper Adin Hill both remain on the league’s COVID-19 log, but the Sharks’ AHL subsidiary, the Barracuda, has been badly affected by the virus.

Jasper Weatherby, who has spent most of the season as the Sharks’ fourth-line center, is one of 12 players now on the AHL’s COVID log, with six more players added since Monday. Other Barracuda players in AHL log include striker Evander Kane, defender Ryan Merkley and goalkeeper Alexei Melnichuk.

NEW CDC GUIDELINES: Boughner was curious to see whether the NHL would adopt the latest isolation guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC on Monday cut the isolation time for asymptomatic Americans who tested positive for the coronavirus from 10 to five days. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told the Associated Press that the CDC’s new policy would « encourage a review of the protocol. »

« We’ll see if this new CDC rule, the five-day quarantine rule, affects our game or not, » said Boughner. “I know it’s something that’s on the table and everyone is talking about it today. We don’t know or have heard anything, but hopefully there is a possibility.

« It’s a game changer for the second half of the season for the NHL, if that’s the case. »
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The NHL has been hit by a spike in COVID-19 cases related to the Omicron variant in the past few weeks, raising questions about whether each team can play a full 82-game schedule. Shortening the quarantine period could help the NHL avoid further postponements, although it is unclear whether Canadian health officials would announce guidelines similar to the CDC.

REIMER’S NET: James Reimer started the game on Tuesday and will likely stay online while Hill stays in NHL protocol. After Tuesday, the Sharks will host Philadelphia on Thursday before embarking on a four-game road trip, with games against Pittsburgh, Detroit, Buffalo and the Flyers on January 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th, respectively.

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