During her curling career, there have been times when Kerri Einarson has been in the hack, ready to throw a big shot and felt the nerves that come with that.
But none of those experiences could compare to waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.
In addition to being the skip of the Canadian women’s curling champions, Einarson works as a rehabilitation assistant in a long-term care facility in her home of Gimli, Man. In spite of all the precautions, there was a reported case of COVID-19 in the building and that set off alarms for her.
“I had a few cold symptoms so I was a little nervous,” she stated. “I called the Health Link and they sent me to Selkirk and I got a test done. I came home and locked myself in a room for a few days until I heard it came back negative.”
The case at her work turned out to be a false positive but it instilled a sense of just how quickly the virus can spread.
Einarson and her co-workers undergo strict rules upon arriving for work including having their temperatures taken and answering questions on their daily health. She also wears personal protective equipment all day.
“The masks and glasses are very difficult to wear,” stated the 32-year-old, who described the 80 residents of the facility as family. “They’re hard on your ears, fog up like crazy, but they’re for everyone’s safety.”
The onset of COVID-19 makes it difficult to think about curling, but it was just over a month ago when Einarson and her team of Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard and Briane Meilleur were in Prince George, B.C., ready to play in the world championship. Two days before the opening draw on March 12, they had settled into their hotel and were awaiting the arrival of their Team Canada uniforms.
That’s when news on social media told them the event was canceled.
“I guess it got leaked out before we even knew as a team,” she said. “We all had a bit of a cry. It was really devastating for us.”
The team did get the chance to throw a few rocks with volunteers before leaving town but the opportunity to play for a world title was gone
“It was definitely the right move,” said Einarson in looking back at the cancelation. “When we saw just how quickly things started to happen once we got home, I’m glad they made the decision they did.”
While the teammates are still in regular communication, there hasn’t been much focus on next season, in large part because no one has any idea what a schedule will look like or when it will start.
For Einarson, when she’s not putting on her protective gear to go to work, these days are about spending time with her husband and twin six-year-old girls. Even when you’re the Canadian champion, curling doesn’t seem that important at the moment.