At least 20 student-athletes, staff, and spectators who attended a wrestling tournament in Louisiana have tested positive for Covid-19, the state health department is now advising everyone who attended to get tested for the virus.
Earlier this month, the Louisiana Classic Wrestling Tournament took place at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, a town about 60 miles west of New Orleans.
Students, parents, and school staff from across the state gathered over two days to watch high school wrestling matches.
“Anyone who attended the tournament either day — January 15 or January 16 — should consider themselves exposed to COVID-19,” the Louisiana Department of Health’s said in a statement.
In a statement sent to CNN, Eddie Bonine, the executive director of Louisiana High School Athletic Association said that the tournament followed the state’s sporting event policy during the pandemic. Nearly 1,400 people attendant the event, which was below the 25% threshold for venue occupancy.
Bonine stated that there are no plans to cancel future wrestling events, and the athletic association won’t implement additional Covid-19 prevention efforts beyond the mask mandates, limited capacity, and screening processes.
“The protocols, recommendations, and guidelines this association has in place if adhered to will keep any and all participants and spectators safe,” Bonine said.
The director added that he did not attend the wrestling tournament and could not speak to circumstances.
According to the state health department’s coronavirus case tracker, Ascension Parish, where the wrestling tournament took place, is at the “highest risk” of Covid-19.
Ascension Parish has seen nearly 10,000 Covid-19 cases among its 126,600-plus residents.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention generally advises against attending indoor events during the pandemic.
For youth sports, the CDC specifically names wrestling as a sport that requires players to come within six feet of each other. For wrestling matches during the pandemic, the CDC advises modifying play to avoid competition altogether.
The CDC added that if sporting events must be held indoors, they should take place only in well-ventilated buildings. Attendees inside should maintain distance from each other and wear masks.