Virus won’t stop state basketball tournaments

WIAA officials taking outbreak seriously, but don’t plan to delay, cancel games

Officials running Washington’s state high school basketball championships say they are not taking any chances when it comes to the coronavirus outbreak, but have no plans, as of now, to cancel or postpone state tournaments for high school athletes.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) says it is working closely with the Washington State Department of Health and will continue to receive guidance regarding the state basketball tournaments, including games at the Tacoma Dome where the Camas girls team was scheduled to play on Wednesday, March 4.

As of this newspaper’s press deadline on Tuesday, March 3, there have been no changes to the 2020 WIAA State Basketball Championships scheduled to take place in Tacoma, Yakima and Spokane.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak in Washington, the WIAA has been working with arena staff members at each of the three sites to disinfect what they call “high-touch areas” with disinfectant approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

The WIAA reports that state championship venues will also have hand sanitizer stations available to the public.

The Washington State Department of Health has encouraged attendees of large events to spread out when possible as an extra preventative measure.

“The safety of participants and fans is the primary focus of our organization,” the WIAA stated in a news release.

The WIAA also encourages fans attending the state tournaments to follow the Center for Disease Control’s prevention guidelines, which include avoiding close contact with people who are ill; not touching your eyes, nose and mouth; staying home if you are sick; covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throwing the tissue into the trash; and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

To learn more about the CDC’s recommendations, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html.

Coronavirus basketball connection in Oregon

In Oregon, health officials say an adult who attended a youth basketball game at a Umatilla County middle school is considered to be the state’s third presumptive coronavirus case.

Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the state’s health officer, made the comment during a media call on Monday, March 2 about what will likely happen as the virus continues to spread in Oregon.

The Umatilla County resident was taken Saturday from the game at Weston Middle School to a hospital in Walla Walla, Washington, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

The school gym closed for a deep cleaning.

State officials say people who attended the game have a low risk of exposure to the virus and there is no risk of exposure at the main school, which is a separate from the gymnasium.