Sport spectator covid restrictions emphasized

Failure could mean "inability" to host events


Last updated 1/12/2022 at 8:11am

Spectators at a packed basketball game in Coulee Dam Thursday, many not following face-covering rules.

School sports restrictions have been tightened up again with the Omicron COVID-19 variant becoming prevalent in the area. 

The Grant County Health District detailed the restrictions in a press release for "Region 7," which includes Grant, Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Adams, and Okanogan counties.

The extra precautions include items like some limits on attendance at games, indoor masking requirements, eating in a designated area, and following the covid attendance rules set by a statewide school activity group.

"School districts' inability to adhere to this guidance will result in the inability for those school districts to host spectators at their athletic and extracurricular events," the news release states. 

Despite the restrictions, Lake Roosevelt hosted Jan. 7 basketball games with large crowds, including many not wearing masks or not wearing them properly - on the chin or under the nose.

"We support the primary goal of keeping schools open and classrooms functioning for all students and acknowledge the essential role that athletics and extracurricular activities play in the lives of our students," the health district news release states, explaining that they are imposing the restrictions "in an effort to secure these priorities and to slow the spread of the virus through our communities."

Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

"We have confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in north central Washington and can attribute the majority of new cases that are rapidly increasing due to this new variant," the health district stated. "We know that Omicron spreads faster than the Delta variant, is more contagious and will likely affect more people than previous variants in a shorter period of time. "After observing Omicron's impact on other countries, regions in the United States and counties in Washington over the past month, we anticipate that the rapid rise in cases will overwhelm our healthcare system, schools, businesses, and essential services throughout our region."

While illness from the Omicron variant is not as severe as from previous variants, the much larger number of cases is

stressing our county healthcare resources," warned Okanogan County Health in an update Tuesday. "The increased demand for services such as COVID-19 testing, emergency department visits (COVID and non-COVID related), and routine medical care, is occurring in the midst of staff shortages, inclement weather, and longer wait times for patients who need to be transferred to more intensive care hospitals."

Sports event precautions 

1. All athletic participants, staff and spectators must adhere to indoor masking guidelines.

2. Athletic and extracurricular event attendance may not exceed 50% of venue capacity or 999 individuals, including athletes, staff and spectators.

3. Individuals with any symptoms of COVID-19 may not attend athletic events as participants or as spectators.

4. Individuals who have been advised to isolate or quarantine due to infection or exposure to COVID-19 may not attend athletic events.

5. Concessions may only be consumed in designated concession areas at athletic events.

6. All guidelines for testing and participation in extracurricular activities and athletic events must be followed in accordance with Washington Interscholastic Activities Association requirements.


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