In recent days, the Middlesex-London Health Unit has been seeing an increasing number of COVID-19 cases and virus transmission linked to participation in summer sports camps as well as amateur sports leagues. Because those who participate in these activities, particularly those who are unvaccinated or too young to be vaccinated, come into close contact with each other when unmasked or breathing heavily, they are at higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 and the Delta variant. In order to ensure participation in sports activities remains as safe as possible this fall, the Health Unit is calling on all leagues, sports camp operators and sports event organizers to adhere to enhanced public health guidance.
“As we begin to see more COVID-19 cases and higher rates of transmission among young and amateur athletes, we can’t let our guard down. We need to keep doing all the things that have helped limit the spread of this virus for many months,” says Dr. Alex Summers, Associate Medical Officer of Health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “COVID-19 is still here, and the Delta variant is showing us just how easily it can be spread, so we are calling on coaches, trainers, managers and league organizers to take the steps necessary to keep their players safe. This is particularly important for leagues for children born in 2010 or later, who are currently not eligible to be vaccinated.”
In order to ensure that amateur sports remain as safe as possible, the Health Unit is strongly recommending the following guidelines:
- Require that any participant who is eligible be vaccinated (those born in 2009 or earlier).
- Ensure masks are always worn whenever participants are not on the field of play.
- Screen participants actively for COVID-19 symptoms before every practice or game.
- Minimize pre- and post-game or practice activities and gathering time; players should only arrive immediately before the beginning of an activity and should leave immediately following an activity.
- Limit inter-team or inter-league play and focus instead on practices and scrimmages.
- Keep participant cohort groups as small as possible.
For more information about COVID-19, please visit the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s website at www.healthunit.com/novel-coronavirus.
Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit, 519-617-0570
Dr. Alex Summers, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Middlesex-London Health Unit