Skip Tracy Fleury enters COVID-19 protocol, will miss start of Tournament of Hearts

Skip Tracy Fleury will sit out the start of the Canadian women’s curling championship in COVID-19 protocol.

Fleury, the skip of a wild-card team, was one of two athletes in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts who tested positive for the virus before departing for Thunder Bay, Ont.

Curling Canada did not name the athletes, but Fleury’s team confirmed their skip’s situation on social media Friday.

“Unfortunately due to a positive COVID test we still be starting the event without Tracy,” the post said.

“The good news is she feels well and the positive test was from long enough ago that she could join us as early as this weekend.”

Fleury’s Wild Card 1 team faces New Brunswick in Friday’s opening draw.

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Affected athletes stay outside the competition zone.

They’re allowed in after passing protocol, which includes repeated testing and evaluation by medical staff, according to Curling Canada.

All arrival PCR tests Thursday were negative, Curling Canada said.

Read more: Top seed Tracy Fleury bounces back at Manitoba Scotties

Fleury’s foursome from East St. Paul, Man., is the top-ranked women’s team in Canada.

Fleury lost in an extra end to Jennifer Jones in the final of November’s Olympic trials in Saskatoon.

Also, Curling Canada cancelled four curling events because of COVID-19 restrictions and health concerns. The Canadian mixed doubles championship March 22-27 in Sudbury, Ont., the national U Sports and college championships March 15-19 in Sudbury and the national wheelchair championship Feb. 21-26 in Moose Jaw, Sask., were called off.

Those cities will host those tournaments in 2023.

Curling Canada will name a mixed doubles team for the world championship April 23-30 in Geneva, Switzerland, at a later date.

“We all know the state of the world right now and the lack of clarity about what may or may not happen for the rest of the curling season, and ultimately it was decided that for the safety of participants and volunteers that these events had to be cancelled, which is a massive disappointment,” Curling Canada chief executive officer Katherine Henderson said in a statement.

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“These events are run by local host committees, who also assume much of the financial risk, so with the lack of clarity about how much revenue they could generate through attendance, and the obvious concerns related to the pandemic, it was determined in consultation with the host committees that we needed to cancel this year’s events.”

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