Health department issues new COVID-19 safety guidance after outbreak linked to prep wrestling tournaments

The Washington State Department of Health on Friday announced it is updating the health and safety requirements for high contact indoor sports in the wake of a multi-school, multi-county outbreak. The outbreaks are linked to a series of wrestling tournaments held in early December and are linked to an estimated 200 COVID-19 cases. Genomic sequencing recently confirmed at least three cases are omicron.

In a news release, the Department of Health said it takes these outbreaks very seriously and is changing the existing guidance by adding the following health and safety measures for all indoor, high-contact sports and activities (basketball, wrestling, water polo, and competitive cheer), effective immediately:

  • Required testing of all athletes, coaches, trainers, and support personnel, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Increased testing frequency to three times per week. Among those screening tests, at least one must occur no sooner than the day before the competition; ideally, and whenever possible, the day of the event.

In addition, the Department of Health issued a reminder of existing requirements for all K-12 sporting events that are designed to help keep athletes, staff, and families safer when attending these events:

  • All indoor event spectators must wear masks and should distance from other families or households to the degree possible.
  • Mask wearing is required among all athletes, coaches, trainers, and support personnel in indoor public spaces except when actively competing.
  • Referees must wear masks except when actively officiated and running.

The Department Health said it also recognizes some of the affected local health, education or athletic leaders are choosing to postpone or cancel sporting event,s or pause sporting activities, in order to stop further spread of the disease. Because there may be differences in how these activities are handled, the health department encourages people to be patient with any potential process or scheduling changes at the local level.

“Omicron is a game-changer, but we know layered prevention measures slow the spread of COVID-19 in sports, schools, and communities.” said Lacy Fehrenbach, deputy secretary for the COVID-19 response. “Please get vaccinated, boosted, wear a well-fitting mask, and maintain your distance to help our kids stay healthy, stay in the game, and stay in school.”

“Vaccinations, in addition to testing and masking, will help keep our athletes healthy and allow everyone to continue to enjoy sporting events while also limiting the spread of disease,” said Dr. Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, Chief Science Officer. “Getting a booster will make protection against the omicron variant even stronger. The booster vaccine is now available for everyone 16 years and older.”



    Racing to stop a virus that mutates in as little as 10 hours, with vaccines that don’t kill it? When the vaccinated become infected, the virus mutates and we end up with strains that can escape vaccination. Omicron appears to have these characteristics. Fortunately, it appears to be mild. Maybe this will buy us some time to look into the successes of other countries? The US has the highest death rate of any country in the world. It’s not from wrestling matches.

  2. Man, where is Glen getting his information? Not in the Wall Street Journal article that he referenced! No reputable health care worker that I have heard said anything about the Covid 19 virus being able to infect a vaccinated person, then mutate to a strain that “…can escape vaccination.” Glen’s assertion that Omicron appears to have these characteristics is unsubstantiated and wreckless.
    I have read that it is common for a virus to mutate many times. I have not heard that Covid 19 mutates “in as little as 10 hours.” Perhaps this is true. These mutations only occasionally become a concern when they give rise to a variant. There may be more but I am aware of Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron variants of Covid 19.. These are 5 variants of concern in nearly 2 years. Hardly a new variant every 10 hours.
    As Glen states, experts say the Omicron strain is very contagious. Glen addds correctly that experts also believe that its effects appear to be mild, and this may “…buy us some time….” We will need it considering how cavalierly many citizens are taking the pandemic. For sure 800,000 deaths are not from “wrestling matches”.

    Montagnier, Geert Vanden Bossche and even Columbia med study have been tracking the development of variants and obvious increases in infections following each round of vaccinations. Vanden Bossche recently sent out a desperate warning that vaccines that don’t kill a virus only result in mutations, as the virus adapts. They have been warning about mass vaccination with leaky vaccines all year. I’m not sure how reckless it is to re-quote scientists who say the vaccinated are more susceptible to Omicron? It’s not only legitimate to question them, it’s essential. Ignoring them and hoping they will go away is only extending the pandemic, in my view. What happened to herd immunity? A Danish study seems to confirm their theory, with 75% of the Omicron cases in the vaccinated. I believe the UK is experiencing the same.

  4. Okay, you win. Keep referencing works that don’t support your points. None state that Omicron can escape vaccination or that it has created strains that can do so. I believe you know this and now want to distract the issue with the topic of herd immunity. The truth is that no vaccine is 100% effective. Most deaths from Covid 19 are among the unvaccinated. Those who are vaccinated overcome to an extremely large percentage the viral infection without becoming seriously ill or needing hospitalization. Vaccinations, wearing masks and social distancing will defeat this pandemic. Not some papers by scientists more interested in headlines than truth, or by those quoting scientific papers erroneously..

  5. Here’s CNN, with leading health experts,

    “Don’t wear a cloth mask.”
    “Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations.”

    People doing their own research have been ridiculed and censored. Put this into the context of kids wrestling each other. Put this into the context of streateries, but also having people packed inside the restaurant. They have been wrong about just about everything.

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