Canucks offer insight into COVID outbreak, dangers of variant transmission

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks are running out of healthy players to test for COVID-19, and now we know why.

Breaking its communications silence, the team issued a medical statement Wednesday summarizing the positive tests so far, confirming there is a coronavirus variant involved and attributing the outbreak to a “source infection to a single individual obtained in a community setting.”

The statement, released by team physician Dr. Jim Bovard, and infectious disease physician Dr. Josh Douglas, stopped short of naming the individual or even classifying the individual as a player. Winger Adam Gaudette was the first Canuck to test positive for COVID-19, based on a March 29 sample that was confirmed positive the next day.

The community setting is believed to have been a Vancouver restaurant. Several have been closed recently due to COVID exposures. The province shut down interior dining at restaurants the same day as Gaudette’s positive test.

The Canucks’ statement adds heft to the internal memo the NHL sent its teams on Saturday warning against non-compliance with the league’s COVID-19 protocols, which include a prohibition on players dining out.

“We have begun to encounter incidences of non-compliance with the COVID-19 Protocol, which have resulted in exposure to, and infection from, the COVID virus,” the memo stated.

The Canucks’ statement also had the side effect of exonerating the Montreal Canadiens, who had their own shutdown when players Joel Armia and Jesperi Kotkaniemi went into COVID protocol shortly…

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