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Kent County Health Department issues new COVID-19 recommendations for high school basketball

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A number of Kent County high school boys and girls basketball teams are experiencing an increase COVID-19 outbreaks. The Kent County Health Department is advising teams take a week off limiting the virus’ spread.

Since the start of the Michigan high school basketball season in early February, more than half of Kent County teams have reported at least one player testing positive for COVID-19 with the health department.

“For every one of those they also had students that had to be placed in quarantine because they were close contacts to the at least one player.”

Joann Hoganson is Community Wellness Division Director with the Kent County Health Department. She says the game of basketball carries with it a higher risk for transmission; it’s played indoors, masks slide below the nose and mouth. Combine that with heavy breathing and close contact, if one player has COVID-19 it’s easily spread. With a steep increase in recently reported cases, new guidance has been released. The rule of thumb that you had to be within six-feet of a someone COVID-19 positive for at least 15-minutes is no longer the case when it comes to playing basketball.

“Teams were going down too fast. And we wanted to make sure that we could stop the transmission of the virus so that we can still have the tournament.”

The Kent County Health Department’s guidance recommends county high school basketball teams pause practices and suspend games for 10-days. It’s retroactive to last Friday when schools were advised.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.