Skip Kerri Einarson, left to right, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Meilleur pose with the Players’ Championship trophy in Calgary on Sunday. Einarson successfully defended the Princess Auto Players’ Championship women’s title with a 5-2 victory over Team Rachel Homan. (Photo by Grand Slam of Curling-Mike Cleasby)

Skip Kerri Einarson, left to right, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Meilleur pose with the Players’ Championship trophy in Calgary on Sunday. Einarson successfully defended the Princess Auto Players’ Championship women’s title with a 5-2 victory over Team Rachel Homan. (Photo by Grand Slam of Curling-Mike Cleasby)

Two positive COVID-19 cases found before World Women’s Curling Championship

Two positive COVID-19 cases found before World Women’s Curling Championship

CALGARY — Two positive COVID-19 cases have been identified ahead of the upcoming LGT world women’s curling championship, the seventh and final competition to be held in a so-called bubble setting at the Markin MacPhail Centre.

The World Curling Federation said the initial positive result was discovered in day-zero testing during a pre-competition quarantine period last Friday. The second positive case was identified within the same team after enhanced testing protocols on Sunday.

“The protocols that were developed for this championship, with guidance from Alberta Health, worked exactly as designed,” said Dr. Bob McCormack, the event medical director.

“The screening identified individuals who have tested positive prior to their entry into the competition bubble, and I am confident of our ability to control the situation to ensure the safety of everyone participating in the world championship as well as the local community.”

The WCF said all other tests since teams arrived in Calgary have returned negative results. The WCF, Curling Canada and Alberta Health are now following a COVID-19 response plan.

There was no immediate word on which team was affected. The 10-day competition is scheduled to begin Friday.

Kerri Einarson’s Manitoba-based team will represent Canada. The 14-team world championship serves as the main Olympic qualifier for the 2022 Beijing Games.

Einarson is coming off a victory in Sunday’s final at the Princess Auto Players’ Championship, one of two Grand Slam events that were held in the bubble this month. Teams that played in the Grand Slams are staying in a different hotel than teams that recently arrived for the world championship.

All recent arrivals to Calgary were isolated in a pre-competition quarantine hotel, the WCF said Monday in a news release. They will remain there while protocols outlined in the response plan are followed.

Existing protocols developed with the public health authority will now feature enhanced testing to determine the safe return to sport for the existing members of the impacted team, the WCF said.

Medical officials, in consultation with Alberta Health, will make the final decision on the team’s participation before the start of round-robin play.

Joining Canada in the field are teams from China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.

Canada is scheduled to open against Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg on Friday night.

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