Adult hockey team recently returned from Alberta with COVID-19

Hockey team spreads virus

An “old-timers” hockey team who recently travelled to Alberta has spread COVID-19 to dozens of people upon returning home to B.C.'s Interior.

During her press conference Wednesday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry disclosed the recent incident, but would not say where exactly the hockey team is from.

“We know that there are sports teams in B.C. that have travelled to other provinces despite the restrictions that we have put in place,” Dr. Henry said. “For example, there's a hockey team in the Interior that has travelled to Alberta and now there are dozens of people who are infected and it has spread in the community.

“I can tell you that it was several dozen families that were affected, several businesses that were affected, long-term care that was affected.”

Since Dr. Henry asked British Columbians to stop any non-essential travel in mid-November, the only long-term care homes in the Interior where COVID-19 has been identified has been in Kelowna, meaning the hockey team likely spread the virus in the Central Okanagan upon their return.

Dr. Henry called the incident a “cautionary tale,” and said she's seen several other similar incidents recently.

“For many adults it's a very important part of their socialization, but right now it is risky. Those types of things cannot happen and it meant that a number of the team came back and spread it to their family members and their work places and in their community," she said.

“Making an exception for yourself or for your team or for your recreational needs puts a crack in our wall, and we've seen that this virus can exploit this very easily this time of year.”

While no public health orders restricting travel has been put in place, Dr. Henry and Premier John Horgan have urged British Columbians to stay in their own community unless they are required to travel for work or medical needs.

The Interior has seen spiking COVID-19 cases in recent weeks and there remains 570 active cases in the region.

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