UPDATE #24 | 16 November 2020
Advisory on COVID-19
SPORT MEDICINE ADVISORY COMMITTEE UPDATE:
Please Note: The SMAC COVID-19 Advisory will no longer be released bi-weekly and will be issued ‘as required’. Please continue to request information via the SMAC CMOs and/or members of the COVID-19 Return to Sport Task Force.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 world-wide is over 52 million with over 36.7 million recovered and 1,290,000 deaths. Mortality rate in Canada is 5.2 %. In Canada we have over 278,000 cases, 10,700 deaths and 223,000 (80%) recovered. Canada is presently experiencing a significant increase in cases across the country. There are 43,176 presently active cases in Canada of which 97% are classified as mild. In some countries the numbers of cases are at all-time highs. This reinforces the need to remain vigilant and follow recommendations on hand washing, physical distancing and use of masks which is now mandatory in some provinces in Canada and many countries in the world.
Provincial and Territorial ministries are now setting specific restrictions for different cities or regions depending on infection rates rather than just a province wide rule. These changing regulations often impact training facilities and sport institutes in different ways. Please check regularly with your training facilities and regional updates for any changes in restrictions.
Travel Outside of Canada
As in Canada many areas of the world are well into the second wave. We have seen large outbreaks in many countries in Europe which have triggered lockdowns and difficulties in travelling to European countries or returning to Canada. COVID mitigation strategies vary widely and risk of becoming infected is higher in countries where masks, hand hygiene and distancing are not enforced. Access to local health care, the ability to travel across borders and finding flights for return to Canada are proving problematic for teams presently in Europe. At this point SMAC strongly recommends against non-essential travel to the Caribbean, Europe, or Asia. Close consultation with CMO or COPSIN medical teams is essential if any travel is deemed essential or required for Olympic/Paralympic qualification.
The travel ban across the Canada-US border has been extended and infection rates in the US continue to climb. Within Canada some provinces are placing restrictions on travel for sport within or across provincial lines. If camps or competitions are planned, please check for the latest provincial restrictions.
If you do have to travel, the following are some added precautions:
- Check the local quarantine regulations immediately prior to departure.
- Wear a mask at airport and on flight.
- Wash hands frequently in airport. Once settled in seat use hand sanitizer and wash hands again upon leaving plane and airport.
- Practice rigorous cough hygiene always.
- Use a wipe to clean the arms of the seat. Do not use the seatback table or entertainment system unless necessary and wash it with a wipe before using it.
- Choose a window seat as this minimizes contacts with others.
- Wipe down luggage including hand luggage once retrieved and exiting airport and any public transport such as a bus or taxi.
Return to Competition Tool
As training continues to progress and teams consider essential travel, SMAC highly recommends the use of the Return to Competition Assessment Tool to assist in assessing return to competition. This Tool should be used for domestic as well as international competitions. It also provides an event checklist on the last tab that will assist sport/teams to assess and plan for return to competition. Assistance with making assessments is always available through CSI’s and CMO’s from Olympic and Paralympic Committees.
Insurance companies in Canada continue to evolve travel packages that account for potential COVID-19 expenses. Examples of travel insurance include:
NSOs considering travelling with teams are encouraged to consider a range of travel insurance products and undertake due diligence in evaluating the coverage.
Point of Care Testing
The COC and CPC have purchased Songbird Hyris bCUBE portable point of care testing devices for screening purposes of COVID-19. The screening kits may be used by national Olympic and Paralympic sport teams for training camps and ‘bubble’ competition purposes. In collaboration with Own the Podium, protocols for obtaining and use of the devices are in the final stages of development and details of the protocols and process for screening will be forwarded shortly to NSOs.
Tracking COVID-19 in Canadian High Performance
Within the next two weeks, email contact will be made with all high-performance sports in Canada regarding a questionnaire that will have sport-specific and medical specific questions on training, testing and positive cases of COVID. This confidential data collection seeks to gather the most up to date monitoring data to determine whether our high performance sport mitigation strategies are effective. It also supports our lobbying efforts to keep high performance training and competition facilities open whilst continuing a safe return to training and competition. Prompt and accurate information will be key to the development of this database. We ask that you engage in best practice for internal gathering of information on return to training and competition (e.g. days training) and medical information regarding testing of athletes, coaches, and support staff.