Dozens infected after BC hockey team brings COVID-19 back from Alberta

Dec 3 2020, 1:15 am

A recent trip to Alberta had unintended consequences for an adult hockey team from British Columbia.

BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry highlighted what she called “another cautionary tale” during her media briefing today, as the province reported another 834 new COVID-19 cases. Alberta, by contrast, reported more than double that number today.

“We know that there are sports teams in BC that have travelled to other provinces despite the restrictions that we’ve put in place,” said Henry.

“There’s a hockey team in the interior that travelled to Alberta and has come back and now there are dozens of people who are infected, and it has spread in the community,” said Dr. Henry. “We need to stop right now to protect our communities and our families, and our health care workers. This is avoidable and these are the measures that we need to take.”

While adult hockey was allowed to continue, this team was in clear defiance of the provincial health order, which bans “travel for teams outside of their community.” Dr. Henry said the players who contracted the virus in Alberta have since spread it to their family members, workplaces, and community upon return to BC.

“Making an exception for yourself, or for your team, or for your recreational needs puts a crack in our wall and we see that this virus can exploit that very easily,” she said.

While adult hockey was allowed in the most recent health order, it appears that will be changing very soon.

“We are putting additional restrictions on adult team sports indoors as we are recognizing that these are indeed higher risk activities as well. What we will be focusing on is structured programs or sport for children and youth, recognizing how important those are for our young people.”

Dr. Henry said there have been “several incidents that are similar to this,” and as such, she didn’t want to give away which specific region they came from or where they travelled to.

“I’m asking in the strongest of terms, to stay put,” she said. “To stay in our communities and to protect our communities.”

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