Vancouver health care workers watched so much World Cup soccer at work last week it threatened to impact patient care, according to a memo obtained by CTV News.

Shortly after the tournament opened Thursday in Brazil, officials noticed a major spike in web traffic on the network serving the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Providence Health Care and Provincial Health Services Authority.

“We have seen periods of excessive congestion on the internet feed during game times,” the memo to hospitals read. “This has the potential to directly impact patient care areas that rely on the network for their delivery of clinical care.”

In response, health officials were forced to cut staff access to online game footage on Friday afternoon – just one day after the Cup started.

“In order to mitigate any further risk, we are taking the proactive step to disable access,” the memo said.

The same issue came up just four months ago during the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, slowing network access to critical patient files.

Health officials confirmed they sent out the memo but wouldn’t comment on how the quality of care could have been affected at hospitals. They insisted no patients are at risk.

World Cup streams will be disabled for health workers until the end of the World Cup next month.

Staff have also been asked not to visit untrusted websites to watch Cup coverage or check scores to avoid causing security problems in the network.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Scott Hurst