The COVID-19 outbreak that has kept the Vancouver Canucks out of action since a March 24 loss to the Winnipeg Jets continues to get worse.
Roughly 24 hours after The Athletic reported that at least 17 Vancouver players have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Canucks confirmed that 18 active players, three players from the taxi squad and four staff members have tested positive for a virus variant. One other player is currently listed as a high-risk close contact.
"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, which has since been identified by public health as a public exposure location," the club added. "Rapid spread of infection throughout the team indicates a link between contacts and the primary case."
Thus far, Vancouver has had six contests postponed during the outbreak that is threatening the club's ability to complete the scheduled 56-game regular season. According to Ben Kuzma of The Province, at least two additional matchups are likely to be scrapped.
The NHL has already pushed the final day of the regular season back from May 8 to May 11 at the earliest. Neither Vancouver nor the league has announced a tentative return date for the Canucks.
"The health and safety of players, staff, families and the greater community remains the utmost priority," the club continued in its statement. "The Canucks are grateful for the continued support of local public health officials, the NHL and NHLPA and encourage everyone to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following health orders. COVID-19 infections are rising in BC. This is a stark reminder of how quickly the virus can spread and its serious impact, even among healthy, young athletes."