An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Canucks’ COVID-19 outbreak grows to 18 players with Virtanen added to protocol list

A player on the COVID-19 protocol list has not necessarily tested positive

The Vancouver Canucks’ COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow with right-winger Jake Virtanen joining the NHL’s COVID protocol list Tuesday.

Eighteen of the 22 players on the Canucks’ active roster are currently on the list.

Vancouver forward Adam Gaudette was the first to test positive during the outbreak, and was pulled off the ice midway through practice on March 30 after the result came back.

The NHL postponed four Canucks games the following evening when defenceman Travis Hamonic and a member of the coaching staff were added to the list.

Two additional games are now listed as postponed on the Canucks’ website and it’s unclear when Vancouver will return to the ice. A total of six games have been postponed.

A player on the COVID-19 protocol list has not necessarily tested positive. Players who are in self-isolation after travelling or who’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive, for example, are also on the list.

The list does not include team staff or players not on the active roster, including those on the taxi squad.

Multiple reports have said the P.1 variant first identified in Brazil is suspected to be involved in the Canucks’ outbreak, but the Canucks and NHL have not commented publicly on results of tests since coach Travis Green confirmed Gaudette had tested positive last week.

The league’s protocols require players and staff to be tested daily. Any time an individual’s initial test comes back positive, the lab does a second test on the initial sample.

If the second test is negative, a second sample is collected. But if that sample returns a positive result, it’s considered to be a “confirmed positive.”

READ MORE: NHL expresses concern about Canucks’ COVID-19 protocol situation

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