No Kings or Ducks players have reported or shown symptoms of coronavirus, the teams say

Helene Elliott
LA Times
Kings left wing Alex Iafallo, left, goes after the puck along with Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk during the third period on March 11 at Staples Center. <span class="copyright">(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)</span>
Kings left wing Alex Iafallo, left, goes after the puck along with Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk during the third period on March 11 at Staples Center. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Ducks and the Kings, who were the last teams to face the Ottawa Senators before the NHL paused its season and a Senators player tested positive for the coronavirus, said Wednesday no players in their respective organizations have reported or shown symptoms of the virus.

The Senators, who have declined to identify the player, faced the Ducks at Honda Center on March 10 and faced the Kings at Staples Center on March 11. The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, who have acknowledged that four of their players had tested positive for the virus, played the Lakers at Staples Center on March 10. Visiting NBA and NHL teams have separate, dedicated locker rooms at Staples Center but the Kings used the visiting NBA locker room on March 11 to conduct postgame media interviews.

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The Senators confirmed their player’s positive test late Tuesday and said he had shown only “mild” symptoms and was in isolation. They said they are monitoring the health of their other players and staff.

The NHL suspended operations last Thursday in response to the spread of the coronavirus. The league advised players to self-quarantine at home, though players have since been told they can leave their club’s city if their home is elsewhere. They were told to self-quarantine wherever they go.

The Kings and Ducks would not say if any of their players or staff members had been tested for the coronavirus, citing medical confidentiality. However, tests are generally not administered to those who have not shown symptoms.

“Since being made aware of the Ottawa Senators player that tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and understanding that we played against them on March 11, our senior leadership has been in regular contact with our key medical professionals, our players and staff, the NHL and our partners at STAPLES Center,” the Kings said in their statement.

“The health of our players, coaches, staff members, their families, and our community and society on the whole remains our highest priority. We will continue to define our next steps based upon the guidelines of the CDC and WHO, under the direction of our medical team. As of this time, no current member of our organization has demonstrated any signs or symptoms consistent with the onset of the COVID-19 virus and we will continue to monitor this on a daily basis.”

The Ducks’ statement said: “The Anaheim Ducks are following the guidance of the CDC and other leading health organizations, and the NHL following confirmation that an Ottawa Senators player has tested positive for COVID-19. Players from the Ducks have been under quarantine at their respective in- or off-season homes since the NHL's suggested guidelines were announced on Mar. 12. No player in the organization has reported COVID-19 symptoms at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation regularly.”

The Senators faced the Sharks on March 7 in San Jose and traveled to Southern California in time for several Ottawa players to attend the Lakers-Clippers game at Staples Center on March 8. They then faced the Ducks and the Kings on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, before the season was put on hold and they flew back to Ottawa. They were told to begin self-quarantine last Saturday.

Lee Zeidman, the president of Staples Center, the Microsoft Theater and L.A. Live, said there was no cross-pollination between the Nets and the Senators personnel because they didn’t use the same facilities at Staples Center. Zeidman also said the arena had adopted enhanced cleaning procedures on March 7, before either team visited. Those measures includedbeefing up and training the cleaning staff as well as purchasing new equipment and disinfectant products to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus and other germs in the arena’s five team locker rooms, weight rooms, public spaces and 48 restrooms. About 120 hand sanitizers were installed throughout the building.

Doorknobs, handles, elevator buttons, escalator and stair rails, point-of-sale terminals, ATMs, suites, and food service areas have undergone regular cleaning to mitigate the possibility of contagion by touch. “And we continue to do this throughout the day with our day housekeeping crews,” Zeidman said, even though no events are taking place in the building.

Zeidman, who chose to work from home this week, also said part-time and full-time employees were notified of the Nets players’ positive tests and were advised how to identify symptoms of the coronavirus and what to do if they experienced those symptoms. As many as 1,700 part-time employees work on game nights. He said he had not heard from ABM, Staples Center’s cleaning contractor, that any of the company’s employees had become symptomatic or ill.

Zeidman said he regularly monitors information from Los Angeles County Public Health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and that AEG is prepared to adjust as needed. “This is a very fluid situation, as you all know,” he said.

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