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Canada’s deputy public health officer concerned about Blue Jays playing at home

Canada’s deputy public health officer says the federal government would be having “a different conversation” with the Toronto Blue Jays about playing regular-season matches at Rogers Centre if the United States and Canada were at similar stages in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Howard Njoo said Tuesday that discussions are ongoing between the Canadian government and the Major League Baseball team, but he said the issue of having American-based teams continually crossing the U.S.-Canada border makes talks about hosting regular-season games “a totally different ball game” than the accepted plan to allow the Jays to hold training camp at their home facility.

Njoo said the federal, Ontario and Toronto governments were comfortable with the measures the Blue Jays put in place to safely train as a team at Rogers Centre.

However, on the issue of crossing the border, he said Canada is in a different place than the U.S. with regards to COVID-19 “from a pure epidemiological point of view.”

“The issue of the regular season, I think, I was speaking to the potential of travel across the U.S.-Canadian border, not just the Blue Jays leaving town and coming back after a road trip but also for teams coming in, that also is obviously a totally different ball game,” Njoo stated.

“Those discussions are ongoing, but what I would say and you can certainly look at the data, is that the situation in Canada and the U.S. I would say from a pure epidemiological point of view is vastly different.”

Njoo said while Canada typically records around 300 new COVID-19 cases daily, the United States records over 60,000 cases per day.

The Blue Jays’ season opener is July 24 at Tampa Bay. The home opener is July 29 versus Washington. The 2020 season has 60 matches, down from the usual 162.

Blue Jays second baseman Cavan Biggio says the players are trying not to focus on where they’ll play home games.

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