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Penguins COVID Updates: Letang Symptomatic, Carter to Return Soon



Pittsburgh Penguins, Kris Letang

The Pittsburgh Penguins will get at least one of their missing centers back this week but won’t be so lucky with Kris Letang. Center Jeff Carter scored his 400th goal earlier this season but entered the NHL protocol on Oct. 21. 

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan confirmed Carter remained asymptomatic and will return later this week as his 10-day protocol expires. Using the 10-day calculator, Carter could return to the Penguins on Oct. 31.

Letang, however, is symptomatic, according to Sullivan. Symptoms could mean a lengthier than 10-day stay and a recovery period beyond that.

The seven-day rolling average of new COVID cases in Pennsylvania is over 3900. The virus peaked again in later October when numbers crested more than 5,000 cases per day in the Commonwealth. Fortunately, there has been an uptick in recoveries to 91%. The state estimates a 2% fatality rate, almost exclusively among the unvaccinated, and another 7% of positive cases are “long-haul.”

For those still conducting their own research, in the wake of Gen. Colin Powell’s death from COVID last week, Popular Science provided additional context and statistics. Less than 8,000 of the more than 700,000 deaths nationwide have been vaccinated people, and the vast majority of the vaccinated deaths were severely immuno compromised, like Gen. Powell. According to Pennsylvania, 74% of hospitalizations are unvaccinated, and the overall hospitalization rate is declining.

By early December, NHL will have only one unvaccinated player: Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings. New Jersey Devils goalie MacKenzie Blackwood decided to move forward with the vaccination last week.

Kris Letang, 34, had four assists in his first four games before testing positive. He is in the final year of his eight-year contract.