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@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.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

Elaine Simons, former foster mother of Jesse Sarey, addresses a crowd outside the Maleng Regional Justice Center on Aug. 24, 2020, moments after Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson was formally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the May 31, 2019, shooting death of 26-year-old Sarey in front of a north Auburn convenience store. File photo
Jesse Sarey’s family wants people to know who the real Jesse was

He was killed by Auburn police officer Jeffrey Nelson in 2019.

An iron worker installs the final steel beam in the new Lea Hill Elementary School. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing
Final beam installed on Lea Hill Elementary in Auburn

The school is set to open in the fall of 2022.

Courtesy photo
Ring stuck on woman’s finger | Fire blotter

Between Jan. 3 and Jan. 9, the Valley Regional Fire Authority responded… Continue reading

File photo
County auditor finds agencies fall short on emergency services

The auditor’s office recommends clarifying responsibilities and accountability for effective planning.

During a news conference Thursday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee explains the deployment of the National Guard to hospitals to assist with the coronavirus surge. (TVW) 20220113
Surgeries paused, National Guard deployed to assist hospitals

King County health officials say 1 in 7 ICU and acute-care hospital beds are occupied by a COVID patient.

File photo.
COVID testing centers shut down for lack of business license

Center for Covid Control announced Jan. 13 it would close all of its locations for a week.

Auburn High School. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing
Auburn teachers and staff struggle during omicron wave

15% of staff has been out sick since schools re-opened in the new year.

Credit: Pixabay
Prosecutor alleges Seattle man recorded Muckleshoot Casino employee using toilet

The Auburn Police Department reports that a Seattle man used his cell… Continue reading

Screenshot from City of Kent Facebook Page
Trash piles up in King County neighborhoods after agency postpones service for weeks

Collection company initially cited weather as the reason, but now a strike interferes.

Most Read