As the Edmonton Elks continue to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak that has sidelined several members of the football team, one player has been let go due to what the team said was “a breach of COVID protocols.”
On Tuesday, the team said it had released national offensive lineman Jacob Ruby.
“The move is part of the club’s ongoing commitment to strictly following the CFL’s COVID protocols, which are in place to ensure the health and safety of all Tier 1 members and anyone they come in contact with,” said a news release.
Ruby’s release was announced as the team’s Tier 1 players, coaches and staff are in the final day of a 10-day isolation period.
It began after the team returned from Vancouver two weeks ago and a number of Elks players tested positive for the virus, forcing their next game against the Toronto Argonauts to be postponed by the Canadian Football League.
As of Sunday, the number of confirmed positive cases among the team was 13 — down from 14 after one player’s case was determined to be a false positive.
Ruby, a University of Richmond product, signed with Edmonton in 2017 after breaking into the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes in 2015.
The team did not provide details of the apparent breach and said no further comment would be provided at this time.
Later Tuesday, the Elks said all of the PCR tests collected on both Sunday and Monday came back negative. This marks five consecutive days without a positive test for the club.
All Tier 1 players, coaches and staff will receive their final test Tuesday. If all of those come back negative, the team will return to Commonwealth Stadium Wednesday for team meetings and a walk through.
If all goes to plan, the team will practise on Thursday, the first since their game against the B.C. Lions on Aug. 19.
On Monday, Elks president and CEO Chris Presson said over the weekend, the team learned where the outbreak is believed to have started.
“We had somebody break protocol unintentionally and was trying to take care of his body, had a massage therapist come out to try and take care of his body, apparently contracted it from her,” Presson said while speaking with Daryl McIntyre and Morley Scott on 630 CHED.
“And then beyond that, this is where it’s challenging, if you’re married or you have a girlfriend and she’s doing the shopping for the family and she has to go do what she has to do because you’re in isolation. And then before that, you’re in Tier 1, your wife’s not — they have to do everything for the family to make the family go — and we had a couple wives pick it up from outside of the house and bring it in to their husbands who then infected our team.
“That’s where it came from and that’s how quickly it spreads.”
The Elks (1-2) plan to return to their facilities at Commonwealth Stadium on Wednesday ahead of their next game against the Stampeders in Calgary on Sept. 6.
The team announced on Monday it will soon require fans be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or show a negative test to attend a game.