Four Kelowna Rockets players and two staff members had tested positive for COVID-19
Interior Health chief medical health officer Dr. Albert de Villiers wasn’t sounding the alarm Thursday about the Western Hockey League B.C. Division hub in Kelowna.
The league announced late Wednesday that four Kelowna Rockets players and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. That came a day after a non-player in the Rockets’ cohort tested positive on Tuesday.
All Rockets team activities have been suspended for two weeks, the league announced. That includes nine games.
The league also postponed a game between the Vancouver Giants and Prince George Cougars set for Wednesday in Kamloops due to an “abundance of caution,” since the Giants had played the Rockets on Sunday in Kamloops.
“We were anticipating there might be a few cases, because it’s young people and they live in the community and they isolated as best they can,” de Villiers told reporters on Thursday. “We knew this was most likely going to happen, and they (WHL) do have things in place to make it safe.”
The Giants, Rockets, Cougars, Victoria Royals and Kamloops Blazers are playing 24-game seasons in empty arenas in Kamloops and Kelowna. The Giants and Cougars are staying at a hotel in Kamloops, while the Royals are doing the same in Kelowna.
The Blazers and Rockets players are staying at their billet homes.
Additional testing is being paid for by the league. The WHL announced on Wednesday that all other test results from the other team cohorts in B.C. this week came back negative.
According to the WHL, all Rockets players and hockey staff were immediately isolated and retested and all close contacts have been instructed to self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. As well, the Rockets will be assisting B.C. health officials with contact tracing.
Schedules will need to be rejigged and the WHL began doing that on Thursday, announcing that a game between Prince George and Kamloops originally slated for Sunday would instead be played on Thursday.
The Giants are currently slated to play the Blazers on Saturday in Kamloops. Kelowna is scheduled to wrap up the B.C. hubs six weeks from now with a May 12 game against the Royals.