Vancouver Canucks announce 21 players test positive for COVID-19
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The Vancouver Canucks announced Wednesday that 21 of the NHL team's players have tested positive for COVID-19, along with four members of its staff. 

The Canucks said in a statement that one additional player had been identified as coming into close contact with the virus. 

Officials said the outbreak is believed to have been caused by a one of the coronavirus variants, though “full genome sequencing” will be required to determine the exact strain. 

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The Canucks added that all players and staff are in quarantine as the Vancouver Coastal Health and club contact tracing staff investigate the outbreak, which officials currently believe resulted from a single individual contracting the virus in “a community setting, which has since been identified by public health as a public exposure location.” 

“The health and safety of players, staff, families and the greater community remains the utmost priority,” team physician Jim Bovard and infectious diseases physician Josh Douglas said in a statement. 

“The Canucks are grateful for the continued support of local public health officials, the NHL and NHLPA [NHL Players’ Association] and encourage everyone to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following health orders,” they added. 

The doctors went on to say that the outbreak “is a stark reminder of how quickly the virus can spread and its serious impact, even among healthy, young athletes.” 

News of an outbreak among the team first broke on March 31, when Vancouver postponed a game against the Calgary Flames after three positive tests were reported over the span of two days. 

The following day, the team postponed three additional games, citing “COVID-19 protocol.”

The NHL has postponed 45 games this season amid the pandemic amid coronavirus outbreaks and efforts to maintain players’ safety. 

The league is currently in a shortened 2020-2021 season as agreed upon in December by the NHL and NHLPA. The season officially began on Jan. 13, with a total of 56 games scheduled.