COVID outbreaks traced to high school wrestling tournaments

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The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and several local public health jurisdictions are investigating multiple outbreaks of COVID-19 connected to high school wrestling tournaments that were attended by schools in Clark and Cowlitz counties, among others. 

The cases impacted both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, according to a news release.

The number of cases linked to the events is estimated to be between 80 and 90, but those numbers could change as the investigation continues.

Wrestling tournaments that were impacted on Dec. 4 include the John Birbeck Invitational in Lacey, the Ed Arima Duals in Sumner, the Lady Jags Kickoff Tournament in Puyallup, and the Yelm girls varsity wrestling tournament in Yelm.  

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

“Over the coming days, local health jurisdictions will likely send out notifications to the impacted schools with further guidance for next steps,” stated the release. “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.”

The release stated that anyone with symptoms or who tests positive should stay home from school, work, childcare or social activities. 



DOH stated the outbreak serves as a “clear reminder” that COVID-19 continues to spread in communities. The release stated the best protection includes getting vaccinated and getting a booster shot for those who are 16 or older when they are eligible. 

Children between the ages of 5 and 11 are now eligible for the vaccine and DOH stated they should start their two-shot series immediately. 

COVID-19 prevention measures that are part of statewide K-12 requirements and sports guidance include consistent and proper mask wearing, stated the release. 

The requirements state “universal masking is required indoors at all times when not actively practicing or competing.”

A team of epidemiologists from DOH, in collaboration with local health jurisdiction epidemiologists, are working to gather more information about the events and the corresponding COVID-19 cases. 

“This is a dynamic situation and evolving investigation, and we will share updates as we learn more,” stated the release. 

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