Dozens of COVID cases linked to Washington state high school wrestling tournaments

The Washington state Department of Health is investigating multiple outbreaks of COVID-19 linked to high school wrestling tournaments earlier this month, with participants from schools in 13 counties and Oregon.

While health officials are still looking into the incident, the number of cases is currently estimated to be between 80 and 90, including both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

The impacted wrestling tournaments, which all occurred on Dec. 4, include:

  • John Birbeck Invitational in Lacey
  • Ed Arima Duals in Sumner
  • Lady Jags Kickoff Tournament in Puyallup
  • Yelm Girls Varsity in Yelm

Participants included a high school in Oregon and student athletes from Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Skagit, Snohomish, Pierce, Thurston, Whatcom and Yakima counties.

DOH recommends anyone who attended these tournaments to monitor for symptoms and get tested for COVID-19. Local health jurisdictions are also likely to send out notifications to the impacted schools with further guidance, DOH said.

According to DOH’s sports guidance, wrestling is considered a high-contact and high-risk sport, meaning there is sustained and sometimes face-to-face contact.

Universal masking is required indoors when not actively practicing or competing, according to DOH’s requirements for K-12 schools and sports. However, masks are not required for both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated athletes when competing indoors, as long as unvaccinated athletes are tested.

Testing for unvaccinated athletes in high-contact sports includes twice-a-week rapid antigen tests and tests on the day of competitions before entering the venue, according to DOH guidelines.

“This outbreak serves as a clear reminder that COVID-19 continues to spread in our communities. The best protection against it is to get vaccinated, and then for those 16 years and older to get a booster shot as soon as they are eligible,” DOH said in a news release Wednesday.

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