Last week, several Bruins returned to the fresh sheet at Warrior Ice Arena. First it was Bergy and Brad. Then on Friday, it was a trio of Zdeno Chara, John Moore, and Par Lindholm.
The Big Man is back.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 13, 2020
Friday was also the day that Don Sweeney held Bruins media availability. Among the topics that he discussed was an unnamed Bruins player testing positive for the coronavirus, then testing negative twice, all while remaining asymptomatic. That player has not been cleared to enter Warrior Arena as of yet.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 12, 2020
How could this be? Well, it all depends on the test that is being used, it’s sensitivity and specificity.
From the link above:
Laboratory tests are characterized by their ability to detect a positive case (sensitivity) and their ability to determine a negative case (specificity). So a sensitive test is less likely to provide a false-negative result and a specific test is less likely to provide a false-positive result. Test manufacturers and laboratories often report the “analytic” sensitivity and specificity of a test, which are based on the analysis of a set of known positive and negative samples. These numbers, however, represent the accuracy of a test under ideal conditions in which specimens have been collected from patients with either high viral loads or a complete absence of exposure. Sensitivity and specificity under real-world conditions, in which patients are more variable and specimen collection may not be ideal, can often be lower than reported numbers.
So, it could be a result of the test having low sensitivity and specificity, which could have resulted in a false-positive. Or it could result from poor sample collection, or any number of real world sample complications. So, all-in-all, the Bruins taking this seriously and waiting to see if the player in question develops symptoms or continues to return negative test results.
It should be noted that the Bruins are not the only team dealing with a recent positive test: the Arizona Coyotes had a staff member test positive while asymptomatic. That person is currently self-isolating and the team is notifying all whom came in contact with them of the possible exposure.