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Lamont: ‘be careful this weekend,’ hockey eyed as COVID-19 test rate hits 6.1%

Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday that COVID-19 spread in and around hockey has led to around 45 infections in the state.

“I’m not positive it’s exclusive to hockey,” Lamont added, but the governor has discussed hockey a couple of times in his press conferences this week, saying that activities around the sport and its regional tournaments has led to infections around New England.

“We’re trying our best to keep (sports) open,” Lamont said later, “but it’s in jeopardy right now.”

An estimated 200 other players have had to quarantine based on those positive tests, based on state Department of Public Health information.

“Paul (Mounds, the governor’s chief of staff) and myself have reached out to all the governors in the region as we try to think about what we want to do together … in terms of winter sports,” among other activities, Lamont said.

“My guidance to you would be be careful this weekend. Let’s see if we can do this right. Obviously some of the rinks have been very strict in their enforcement. Some have been more casual.”

Both Massachusetts and New Hampshire shut down rinks for two weeks this month; New Hampshire planned to resume activity Friday, requiring players, staff and officials to be tested at least once by Nov. 6.

Northford Ice Pavilion shut down Monday after spread at the rink.

Friday’s state COVID-19 update added 1,319 cases on 21,739 tests, a 6.1% positivity rate. Hospitalizations were up by 12 to 321, and five more deaths made the state’s total 4,609.

“We’ll see whether enforcement is enough or whether we’re going to have be stricter,” Lamont said, and not only referring to sports. “We’ll figure that out early next week, in many cases working in collaboration with our neighboring states.”

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