Edmonton Elks approaching CFL’s 85% vaccination rate benchmark, team says

The vaccination rate among Edmonton Elks players and coaches is nearly high enough for the team to avoid forfeiting a game to the Toronto Argonauts, assuming the game can be rescheduled, the Elks said Friday.

The team said 83.5 per cent of players and coaches have received at least one dose of vaccine.

Three players and/or coaches are partially vaccinated, while 63 others are fully vaccinated, the Elks said in a news release.

Elks president and CEO Chris Presson will speak with news media at 4 p.m. MT Friday.

The Elks were in Vancouver on Aug. 19 to take on the B.C. Lions. Tier 1 personnel — players, coaches and support staff — were tested for COVID-19 after they returned home.

Last weekend, the CFL announced the Elks-Argos game, originally scheduled for Aug. 26, would be postponed after “a number” of Elks players tested positive for COVID-19.

Since then, 14 Elks players have tested positive for COVID-19.

No new cases were reported on Thursday, the team said Friday.

If a game is postponed and cannot be rescheduled, the team battling COVID will forfeit the game, league protocols state.

But if the team can prove at least 85 per cent of its players under contract have received at least one dose of vaccine, the players will receive their salary despite the cancellation.

Presson has previously said he is confident the game against the Argos can be rescheduled.

If the team fails to meet that 85-per-cent benchmark, the entire team will not receive its salary.

The team can’t identify those who have tested positive, but any players still in COVID-19 protocols once the team resumes on-field activities will be identified in the team’s first injury report, the news release said.

Alberta health officials have extended the team’s isolation period from seven to 10 days.

All Tier 1 personnel will receive daily PCR tests and stay at home through Aug. 31, the release says.

The Elks plan to return to the team’s facilities for in-person activities on Sept. 1.

Edmonton’s next scheduled game is against the Calgary Stampeders, in Calgary, on Sept. 6 — the annual Labour Day Classic.

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