Ilya Samsonov Has Tested Positive For COVID-19

The Washington Post is reporting that Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov has tested positive for COVID-19. Samantha Pell broke the news early Thursday afternoon.

According to the Post, the team received news of Samsonov’s positive test Tuesday night after a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Samsonov, who did not play Tuesday, immediately went into isolation and is following the NHL’s coronavirus guidelines, according to one person with knowledge of the situation. He stayed in Pittsburgh while the rest of the team flew back to Washington, but he has since returned to the D.C. area.

Samsonov’s positive test initiated the league’s contact tracing protocol. Through the contact tracing process, the team and league learned all four Russians hung out multiple times together in a Pittsburgh hotel room during their trip, according to one person with knowledge of the matter. At those gatherings, which violated NHL protocols, the players watched sports and played video games.

Thus, it was subsequently determined that Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Orlov were “close contacts”. The league’s definition of “close contact”, as per the NHL’s protocols:

Persons shall be considered to be a “Close Contact” if they have been within 6 feet of the Index Individual for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period3, starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic Index Individuals, 2 days prior to test specimen collection), until the time the Index Individual is isolated. Close Contacts may include a Player’s family if a Player tests positive. In Canada, the relevant provincial or local public health definition shall be consulted to determine close contacts requiring necessary follow-ups.

As a result, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov are all in quarantine and will miss a minimum of seven days (at least the next 4 games) due to response guidelines.

Local officials and medical professionals establish the guidelines that players follow in cities and states. In Northern Virginia a seven-day quarantine and four consecutive negative tests are required, which equates to a minimum of four games for Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Orlov.

That means that Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Orlov will be out at least until the Boston Bruins game on January 30th, missing at least the two games against the Buffalo Sabres and two games against the New York Islanders.

There are several ways that a player who tests positive can be cleared to return to the team, according to NHL protocols. If he is asymptomatic and remains that way while he is isolated, he can return 10 days after his first positive test. If he is symptomatic or becomes symptomatic during isolation, he can be cleared when at least 10 days have passed since the date his symptoms appeared and at least 24 hours have passed since his last fever. He also can be cleared if he tests negative twice and his condition improves.

Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Orlov and Samsonov were all added to the NHL’s COVID-19-related absences list on Wednesday. The NHL announced earlier on Wednesday evening that the Capitals were fined $100,000 for violating COVID-19 protocols. Because Samsonov’s test results were known Tuesday evening, it’s likely that Wednesday’s news and subsequent fine were related.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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