No cases of COVID-19 have been directly linked to a hockey referee who tested positive last week, but Maine health officials are keeping a close eye on hockey-related outbreaks in other states –  including New Hampshire, where Gov. Chris Sununu has imposed a two-week ban on all indoor skating activities.

Dr. Nirav Shah said during Thursday’s media briefing that the Maine Center For Disease Control does know of one person “who has tested positive who played hockey on the two days (when the referee officiated). We are conducting further investigations into whether this individual interacted with the referee that we’ve noted.”

Shah added, “At this time we’re aware of that one individual, but further investigation is needed before we can say this is linked” to the referee.

Last week, Shah said that a hockey referee who later tested positive for COVID-19 potentially exposed up to 400 people when he officiated a total of eight games Oct. 3 and Oct. 4. Seven of those games took place in Maine, six at Biddeford Ice Arena and one at North Yarmouth Academy’s Travis Roy Arena.

That announcement, and a subsequent letter of warning from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, caused the Maine Amateur Hockey Association to suspend all games last weekend and seek guidance on what activities can be held going forward.

The CDC did not identify the COVID-positive hockey player’s age, gender or even if the person had played at either rink where the referee officiated games. A request for clarification on those points was declined by the Maine CDC, which cited the agency “does not release potentially identifying information about individual cases.”


Shah made a point of saying he has been in contact with “my counterparts” in Alaska, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts, because each of those states are “investigating outbreaks associated with hockey,” Shah said.

Later on Thursday, Sununu said the two-week pause on hockey in New Hampshire was necessary because the state is investigating a total of 158 cases of COVID-19 associated with six different outbreaks connected to hockey.

“Our goal will always be to find ways to keep players on the ice in a safe manner, but for now that will involve taking a pause for the next two weeks,” Sununu said during a daily press briefing.

According to Associated Press, New Hampshire’s state epidemiologist, Dr. Benjamin Chan, reported that the cases stem from 23 hockey-related organizations in New Hampshire and that people who have become infected are associated and have potentially exposed others in at least 24 K-12 schools in the state.

The seven-day daily infection rate in New Hampshire has more than doubled in roughly three weeks, from 34.7 average cases on Sept. 25 to 79.4 on Thursday.

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