OTTAWA -- Canada's deputy chief public health officer says the Toronto Blue Jays' return to Canadian soil is "trending in a very good direction."

Dr. Howard Njoo says there has been "a lot of good back-and-forth" between the Blue Jays organization and the government over the team's application for a so-called "National Interest Exemption" to Canada's COVID-19 travel restrictions.

But in a virtual news conference today, Njoo said he couldn't provide a date on when an announcement would be made.

A government official familiar with the talks has told The Associated Press that the Jays won't find out by this weekend whether they will get permission from Ottawa to play at Rogers Centre soon.

A team spokeswoman said the club continues to work with the federal government toward playing games at home starting July 30th.

The Blue Jays played home games during the shortened 2020 season in Buffalo, New York, and started this season in Dunedin, Florida, before returning to Buffalo.

-- with files from The Associated Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2021.