TORONTO – After following a strict protocol in the wake of Friday’s temporary closure of the High Performance Centre – Ontario, the majority of swimmers returned to training Tuesday.
Swimming Canada closed the centre Friday due to a positive COVID-19 test, as a precautionary measure in line with the organization’s Return to Swimming protocols, as well as Government of Ontario and City of Toronto health and safety regulations.
The affected individual is receiving ongoing medical advice and monitoring, and a small group of close contacts are self-isolating as per public health guidelines.
Following a review in consultation with medical staff and submission of information to Toronto Public Health, the remaining swimmers and staff were deemed to be of low risk for exposure based on their adherence to the risk mitigation protocols that have been in place. As per the return to training protocols, this group is able to return to the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre pool today following a negative COVID-19 test.
“Friday was a very difficult day, but we always knew it was a possibility. 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,” said High Performance Director John Atkinson.
“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.”
Swimming Canada will continue to follow its Return to Swimming protocols, and adhere to all government and facility regulations. This includes athletes and staff being required to closely monitor and report any COVID-19 symptoms that they may be experiencing.
With the Olympic & Paralympic Swimming Trials scheduled for April 7-11 at TPASC, Swimming Canada continues to actively review the current situation with the global COVID-19 pandemic. A review of the public health situation and how it relates to the ability to provide a safe environment for all participants will be undertaken on or before Feb. 15.
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,” said CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “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.”