file photo

file photo

Health department: COVID outbreaks linked to high school wrestling tournaments

At least 80 cases are tied to the events which included attendees from multiple counties and states.

The Washington State Department of Health, in collaboration with several local public health jurisdictions, is investigating multiple outbreaks of COVID-19 connected to several high school wrestling tournaments that took place on Dec. 4.

The number of cases linked to the events is estimated to be between 80 and 90, but as this investigation is ongoing, the total may change.

The impacted wrestling tournaments all happened on Dec. 4, 2021, and include:

• John Birbeck Invitational in Lacey, WA

• Ed Arima Duals in Sumner, WA

• Lady Jags Kickoff Tournament in Puyallup, WA

• Yelm Girls Varsity in Yelm, WA

Counties that had high schools in attendance include Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Skagit, Snohomish, Pierce, Thurston, Whatcom and Yakima. A high school in Oregon also sent participants.

Over the coming days, local health jurisdictions will likely send out notifications to the impacted schools with further guidance for next steps. DOH recommends that anyone who attended these events as a participant, coach, official, support staff, or spectator should monitor for symptoms and get tested for COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms or who tests positive should stay home from work, school, childcare or social activities, according to the department.

A team of DOH epidemiologists, in collaboration with local health jurisdiction epidemiologists, is working on gathering more information about these events and the corresponding COVID-19 cases.

“This is a dynamic situation and evolving investigation,” said the Department of Health in a written statement. “We will share updates as we learn more.”

More details

The Vashon Island School District (VISD) has responded to an outbreak currently numbering 10 cases of COVID, which has affected the school’s wrestling team. Eight of the 10 positive cases are wrestlers on the boys’ and girls’ wrestling teams.

On Dec. 4, both the school teams traveled to two different multi-district tournaments.The boys’ team headed to Auburn High School, where they competed with eight other teams from Auburn, Federal Way, and Issaquah.

The girls’ team attended an even bigger tournament, in Emerald Ridge High School in Puyallup, which hosted 23 teams from throughout King and Pierce counties.

The Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber (a sister newspaper of the Auburn Reporter) reports that in a phone interview on Dec. 13, Auburn High School’s athletic director Jon Price said that he knew of no outbreaks at schools other than Vashon that had attended the tournament, and that none of his school’s athletes had tested positive for COVID following the tournament, or indeed during the entire school year.

Emerald Ridge High School athletic director Jesse Case, reached by phone, declined to comment on cases of COVID at his school or among his athletes or any other schools attending his tournament, citing privacy concerns.

Both athletic directors said they strictly enforced Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 safety guidelines at their tournaments, including universal indoor masking for athletes who were not actively participating in either practices or competitions during the tournament.

However, a photo obtained by The Beachcomber that was taken during the tournament in Auburn shows 10 members of the Vashon team sitting side by side on the sidelines of a match, intently watching their teammate compete. All were unmasked. (The Beachcomber is not running the photo out of sensitivity to the student-athletes.)


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO
Discarded cigarette leads to arrest of Kent double homicide suspects

DNA reveals man, woman who reportedly killed two people in January 2023 at local motel

t
State Patrol chief thanks public for support of trooper shot in Kent

Trooper’s injuries are not life threatening despite being shot multiple times

t
Boy, 17, fatally shot in Kent in exchange of gunfire identified | Update

Shooting between subjects in vehicles Feb. 20 along East Valley Highway near South 180th Street

Car damaged by bullets during Feb. 19 Interstate 5 shooting. (Courtesy of Washington State Patrol)
King County Councilmember wants more info about I-5 shootings

The letter, addressed to WSP Chief John R. Batiste, comes in wake of a Feb. 19 drive-by shooting that occurred on I-5 in Tukwila that left a victim in critical condition.

t
Kent man, 83, dies after medical emergency while driving on East Hill

Reportedly died from medical issue prior to single-car crash Feb. 2o along 132nd Avenue SE

Rep. Mia Gregerson. COURTESY PHOTO, Legislative Support Services
Gregerson state bill aims to improve immigration support

Designed to better address needs of refugees, immigrants arriving in Washington state

t
Federal Way man faces charges for shooting, injuring trooper in Kent

Trooper reportedly shot nine times Feb. 16 after a struggle following foot pursuit

Courtesy image, U.S. Department of Justice
Kent man pleads guilty to selling guns to those with criminal histories

Sold more than 100 firearms to those barred from possessing guns

t
Man dies after shooting in Kent on King County Metro bus

Altercation between two men led to shooting Friday afternoon, Feb. 16

File photo
Puget Sound Energy files two-year rate plan for electric, natural gas

Driven by the state’s clean energy laws, the plan has been filed to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Washington Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program advocacy group at the State Capitol for HB 1916. (Photo Courtesy of Kindering)
‘When services decline, it’s the kids who pay the price’

Legislative bill would recover funding for the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers program - and could save the state millions.

A screenshot of the King County Sheriff’s Office Guardian One helicopter view of the arrest of a Kent man after carjacking incidents Feb. 13 in Kent. COURTESY IMAGE, King County Sheriff’s Office
Kent man, woman charged in carjackings, stolen vehicles case

Tracking by King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter lasted nearly 50 minutes Feb. 13 across Kent