Team doctor: Flames have three confirmed cases of omicron variant, source unknown

Calgary Flames coach Darryl Sutter and player on the bench react after the San Jose Sharks took a 5-3 lead during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, in San Jose, Calif. (AP/file)

Calgary Flames head physician Dr. Ian Auld said the COVID-19 outbreak on the team that caused the postponement of six games has at least three confirmed cases of the omicron variant, and he's "never seen transmission on this level."

"It doesn't require a huge window to move from person to person," Auld said on a Zoom call with Flames general manager Brad Treliving and members of the media.

The Flames have 19 players in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol. Calgary has now had six games postponed after two more were added to the list on Friday.

Auld added that the team could see more omicron variants once more test results come back within the next 48 to 72 hours. He added that although contact tracing has been done, as is the protocol, "we can't sit here and say here's the patient zero or where this took place. The team's been traveling, this is out there, this is part of our lives now."

Treliving said the Flames are on constant contact with provincial and league officials with updates on protocol and his team's status. But, he said, "we're learning as we go."

He added he's also in constant contact with the Flames themselves, and so far the infected players have had mild to no symptoms. "You never want to have your season interrupted, we're having a good year," he said, addressing their morale. "Nobody likes to be held up, but all things considered, they're doing well."

In the meantime, the players have been told to stay in isolation, which means staying at home and away from the rink until given the all-clear.

In the last week, the NHL has witnessed numerous COVID outbreaks, causing games to also be postponed through Christmas for the Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers.

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