Lightning close facility due to coronavirus outbreak

The Tampa Bay Lightning have temporarily shut down their training facility after three players and additional staffers tested positive for the coronavirus.

General manager Julien BriseBois said in a statement that the players have been self-isolating and "are asymptomatic other than a few cases of low-grade fever."

Other players and staffers who have been at the facility are being tested. The Lightning and NHL will figure out how to proceed based on the results of those tests.

"With a significant rise in cases in the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County and the State of Florida we are imploring everyone in the Bay Area, especially young people, to help slow the spread of this pandemic by diligently following the recommendations of the government officials by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and continuing to wash their hands regularly," BriseBois said in his statement. "We need to work together as a community to slow the spread."

The NHL is currently in Phase 2 of its return-to-play program, which allows for small, voluntary group workouts. Only six players are allowed on the ice at a time, and only noncontact drills are allowed.

Players are required to report to training camps on July 10 before the NHL begins its expanded 24-team postseason. The NHL has narrowed down its list of hub cities and is expected to announce the two it has chosen sometime next week.

The NHL and NHL Players' Association are still working out health and safety protocols for Phase 3 (training camps) and Phase 4 (games). However, the league has already announced that it will be testing players and staffers daily once games resume.

"We will have a rigorous daily testing protocol where players are tested every evening and those results are obtained before they would leave their hotel rooms the next morning, so we'll know if we have a positive test and whether the player has to self-quarantine himself as a result of that positive test," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. "It's expensive, but we think it's really a foundational element of what we're trying to accomplish."

Each test costs approximately $125. Commissioner Gary Bettman has estimated that 25,000 to 35,000 tests will be needed to get through the playoffs.

Bettman noted that medical experts consulting with the NHL have told him that by the time games could resume this summer, 25,000 to 30,000 tests would be "a relatively insignificant number."

On Friday, Florida reported 3,822 new cases of the coronavirus, a one-day record. Also on Friday, the Philadelphia Phillies closed their training facility in Clearwater -- just 23 miles from Tampa Bay -- after five players and three staff members tested positive. The Toronto Blue Jays shut down their facility in Dunedin after a player exhibited coronavirus symptoms, sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan.