Games postponed at women's curling worlds after 4 positive COVID-19 cases found amongst broadcast crew

·2 min read
The women's world curling championship was put on pause after a series of positive COVID-19 cases were detected Sunday amongst the broadcast crew covering the games in Calgary. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press  - image credit)
The women's world curling championship was put on pause after a series of positive COVID-19 cases were detected Sunday amongst the broadcast crew covering the games in Calgary. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press - image credit)

There have been four confirmed positive cases. The medical officials are currently carrying out their investigation that incorporates additional testing, including testing for variants of concern, as well as contact tracing.

In a news release, the World Curling Federation says after a series of scheduled testing, the positive cases were detected amongst the competition broadcast staff.

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The morning draw was postponed out of "an abundance of caution." Officials say the postponed games from this morning will be played at a time yet to be determined next week.

In a later statement, the WCF said play would resume later Sunday afternoon since all scheduled testing for athletes and competition officials returned negative results.

The eighth draw, which included a game between Canada's Kerri Einarson and Tabitha Peterson of the United States, was pushed back 30 minutes from its scheduled 4 p.m. Eastern Time start due "to the delay in the test results process."

Organizers were exploring options to incorporate the postponed seventh draw into the upcoming schedule, the WCF said.

A source inside the broadcast bubble told CBC Sports after Saturday night's broadcast they were instructed to immediately isolate in their rooms. They continue to isolate.

Broadcasting from the world championship will be on hold throughout Sunday meaning none of the games will be televised or streamed. The games will also not be televised on Monday or Tuesday morning.

'Heightened level of concern'

The source also said there is a "heightened level of concern" inside the bubble. The broadcast crew is in a different hotel from the players competing in the event.

"While the impacted staff remain in isolation during the expanded testing and contact tracing, broadcasting will be on hold until they are medically cleared to return by the competition medical officials and Alberta Health," WCF wrote in their release.

This comes after the news of two Team Germany members being unavailable for competition after testing positive for COVID-19. Germany has been playing with three players at the world championship.

Practices scheduled for Wednesday leading into the event were postponed as health officials investigated the positive cases.

World Curling Federation and Curling Canada officials say they have robust health and safety protocols in place under the guidance of federal, provincial and local health officials, and are following protocol.

"The health and safety of our athletes, officials, staff and the community at large are always our primary concern and will continue to be so as we address this latest challenge," WCF wrote in the release.