Seven days after shutting down operations due to COVID-19 spreading within their team, the Vancouver Canucks have issued a statement detailing the cause of the outbreak.
In a media release co-signed by team physician Dr. Jim Bovard and infectious disease physician Dr. Josh Douglas, the Canucks confirmed that 25 members of the team have tested positive for COVID-19. All players and staff are currently in quarantine.
The source of infection is confirmed to be a variant, according to the doctors, with the specific type to be determined after full genome sequencing by BCCDC.
“An ongoing investigation by Vancouver Coastal Health and club contact tracing staff attributes the source infection to a single individual obtained in a community setting, which has since been identified by public health as a public exposure location,” the team said in a media release. “Rapid spread of infection throughout the team indicates a link between contacts and the primary case.”
The Brazilian P.1 variant was widely reported to be involved in the outbreak, though Dr. Bonnie Henry appeared to refute that claim during yesterday’s media conference.
“I’m not aware that any of the cases in the Canucks organization are related to P.1, I don’t know where that started, but not that I’m aware of,” said Dr. Henry.
But then less than an hour later, Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini referenced the COVID variant in a tweet that also supported province-wide restrictions.
If the Covid variant can knock down a whole team of healthy young athletes, everyone is high risk. Please read and follow the province-wide restrictions! https://t.co/vjE1NWXRol
— Francesco Aquilini (@fr_aquilini) April 6, 2021
Among the positive cases, 21 are players (including three members of the taxi squad) and four are staff members. An additional player is considered a close contact.
Some Canucks players have been suffering from variant symptoms, including “vomiting, cramping, and dehydration,” according to reports. Brandon Sutter is reportedly suffering from body aches, headaches, and chills.
“The health and safety of players, staff, families and the greater community remains the utmost priority. The Canucks are grateful for the continued support of local public health officials, the NHL and NHLPA and encourage everyone to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following health orders. COVID-19 infections are rising in BC. This is a stark reminder of how quickly the virus can spread and its serious impact, even among healthy, young athletes.”