Canada

‘Dozens’ infected with COVID-19 after B.C. oldtimers’ hockey team travels to Alberta

A recent trip by a B.C. oldtimers’ hockey team to Alberta was responsible for dozens of cases of COVID-19, according to the province’s top doctor.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonny Henry used the case as an example, while again urging British Columbians to forego all non-essential travel as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Read more: B.C. reports 12 deaths, 834 new cases of COVID-19

Henry would only say the team was from the Interior, and that upon their return the virus spread into the community, leading to “dozens of people who are infected.”

B.C. health officials report 12 new deaths, 834 new cases of COVID-19

“It was an adult oldtimers’ hockey team that felt it was important to continue their travel and games across the border,” Henry said Wednesday.

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“For many adults it’s a very important part of their socialization — and that, right now, is risky.”

Read more: COVID-19: B.C. premier encourages people to stay home for upcoming holidays

Henry said the team had returned and spread the virus to their family members, workplaces, long-term care and the broader community.

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“Nobody intended to do this,” she said.

Coronavirus: B.C. Premier John Horgan on travel restrictions during Christmas holidays

“I know that people feel like, ‘Oh, it’ll be OK, we’ve not had any virus here, we will be fine.’ But this is just another cautionary tale that right now you cannot take these types of licence from the restrictions we’ve put in place.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Junior hockey teams in Okanagan impacted by B.C.’s new public health orders

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British Columbia has not imposed an order banning travel, but officials have called on residents and visitors not to leave their communities unless absolutely necessary.

However, travel for sport was explicitly banned in the province’s most recent round of COVID-19 restrictions.

While the majority of new cases continue to crop up in the Lower Mainland, numbers have also been trending upward in the Interior and Northern Health regions in recent weeks.

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