State Issues New Guidelines for Competitive Sports for Counties with Acceptable COVID-19 Case Rate

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued updated guidance for youth and recreational adult sports that detail how participants can pursue physical activities while preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The updates, which take effect on February 26 this Friday, permit outdoor high-contact and moderate-contact sports in counties designated as being in the Purple (Widespread) and Red (Substantial) tiers, as long as they meet a specific case rate criteria.

Under the updated guidance, outdoor high-contact sports can be played in counties in either the Purple or Red tier with a case rate at or below 14 per 100,000. San Bernardino County’s case rate is currently 14.3 but has been declining steadily in recent days, so officials are hopeful that sports will be able to resume locally under the new guidelines by the time they take effect on Friday.

“We have seen our case rate, along with hospitalizations, decrease substantially since peaking in late December and early January,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “Based on present trends, we’re confident these guidelines will apply to our county within days.”

The new guidance specifies that weekly COVID-19 testing will be required for coaches and participants (age 13 and above) playing high-contact sports such as football, rugby and water polo. Testing results should be made available within 24 hours of competition.

Athletes engaged in moderate-contact sports played outdoors, including baseball, cheerleading and softball, can be played without the testing requirement.

Due to the nature and risk of COVID-19 transmission while participating in these sports, teams must provide information regarding risk to all parents or guardians of participating minors, and each parent must sign an informed consent indicating their understanding and acknowledgement of the risks.

Teams playing in a less restrictive sports tier are still strongly encouraged to follow a variety of steps (listed in the guidance) to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission — including wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing, and following appropriate hand hygiene and equipment sanitation.

To learn more about the updated guidance and obtain information, such as examples of sports with different levels of contact and risk by tier, please review the full guidelines here.

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