The only thing that might stop the Vancouver Canucks’ COVID-19 outbreak is if it runs out of Canucks.
Nate Schmidt is the latest addition to the NHL’s COVID protocol list after testing positive for the coronavirus. He joins 18 other Canucks on the list, along with seven others in the Canucks organization who are not required to be listed by name: three members of the taxi squad, three coaches, and one member of the team’s support staff.
That brings the total number of positive cases within the Canucks organization to 26, which doesn’t include family members.
In a telephone interview with the New York Times, Micaela Gaudette, wife of Adam Gaudette, confirmed that she and some other family members of Canucks players have experienced symptoms.
“In our group chat with the other wives and girlfriends, some people have been saying they’re completely fine right now,” said Gaudette, before adding that other players and spouses “feel like they’ve been hit by a truck.”
The varying experiences of the players and family members speaks to how COVID-19 can affect different people to different degrees. Reports indicate that some of the players have been asymptomatic while in isolation, while others have experienced symptoms ranging from fever, fatigue, and headaches, to more severe symptoms.
“He actually started vomiting as well, on top of other symptoms,” said Gaudette about her husband. “But now, he’s definitely feeling much better.”
Just four active Canucks have yet to test positive
Schmidt’s addition to the COVID protocol list leaves just four players from the active roster who have not tested positive: Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller, Jimmy Vesey, and Jordie Benn.
Benn previously tested positive for COVID-19 at the beginning of the season, missing the team’s first six games in quarantine. A previous case of COVID-19 doesn’t prevent someone from catching it again, however.
Jayce Hawryluk, who is among the positive cases in the current outbreak, tested positive for COVID-19 one year ago while with the Ottawa Senators and spoke to The Athletic about his experience.
“Your anxiety gets a little high. So you try to stay calm as best as you can,” said Hawryluk about his first go-through with COVID-19. “You know you’re healthy, but the uncertainty makes it scary — it makes you nervous and you just have to try and stay strong through that. Then you slowly focus on getting better and taking care of yourself.”
"No matter what, it can still come in contact with you."
Hawryluk said he initially talked about testing positive for COVID-19 to raise awareness and encourage people to take it seriously.
“I wanted to show people that anyone is susceptible to getting this illness. I’m a professional athlete, I train all the time, I play hockey all the time, I’m in top shape and I still got it,” said Hawryluk. “No matter what, it can still come in contact with you. I wanted to help people take it seriously, take safety measures, look after yourself and do all the little things to try and stay healthy. “
While the Canucks have followed the NHL’s protocol, it wasn’t enough to protect them from this current outbreak. A statement on Wednesday from the Canucks said that the outbreak involved a COVID-19 variant, which may have higher transmissibility than the typical virus considered by the NHL when designing their protocol.
According to the statement, the initial exposure was in a community setting.
“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,” reads the statement, “which has since been identified by public health as a public exposure location.”
The only public exposure location listed by Vancouver Coastal Health that fits the timeline of the Canucks outbreak is Glowbal, a high-end restaurant in downtown Vancouver, which listed potential exposure dates from March 19 to 27.