High Performance Centre Ontario Reopens After Positive COVID-19 Test

Photo Courtesy: Vaughn Ridley/Swimming Canada

Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre Ontario reopened to swimmers Tuesday, four days after a positive COVID-19 test by a member of the training group there caused the center’s closure.

Per a release, the majority of swimmers at the center in Toronto, one of three across the country, returned to training Tuesday.

The individual who tested positive is, “receiving ongoing medical advice and monitoring, and a small group of close contacts are self-isolating as per public health guidelines.” HPC Toronto’s reopening was in consultation with Toronto Public Health and followed Swimming Canada’s Return to Swimming protocols, in place since the fall.

“Friday was a very difficult day, but we always knew it was a possibility,” High Performance Director John Atkinson said in the release. “We immediately followed the plans and protocols we have in place. The fact that the there was no transmission in the training environment – either the pool or the strength and conditioning centre – shows our risk mitigation strategies are working.

“I’m glad we were able to get the majority of athletes back into the pool as quickly as possible. This is a testament to our protocols, as well as the protocols put in place by our partners at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre and Canadian Sport Institute Ontario. This all progressed due to the support of Swimming Canada staff and medical experts within Swimming Canada and CSI Ontario.”

Toronto is the site of Canadian Olympic Trials, scheduled for April 7-11 and limited to invitational-only participation. Swimming Canada will undertake, “a review of the public health situation and how it relates to the ability to provide a safe environment for all participants.” Tuesday’s release, and the situation at the High Performance Centre Ontario this week, underscores the adaptability required. From the release:

Swimming Canada reserves the right to modify or cancel the Trials at any point, should it be determined to be unsafe to proceed or be requested by Toronto Public Health, the Province of Ontario and/or any government agency that carries jurisdiction over matters of health and/or public safety. In this case, Swimming Canada may nominate swimmers to Team Canada by other means based on exceptional circumstances.

 “We appreciate everyone’s patience as the situation is constantly changing, and is different in different parts of the country,” CEO Ahmed El-Awadi said. “We recognize the heavy impact on all of our athletes. Our preference is to hold Trials if it is safe to do so, but we can’t predict the unpredictable.”

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