PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. (WLVT) — As kids get back on the field, health officials in Montgomery County are warning that youth sports is one of the leading causes of community spread of COVID-19 in the county.
Over the last two weeks, contact tracers have reached out to people who participated in organized sports including baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and some indoor tournaments. The county’s Office of Public Health says entire teams have had to quarantine for 14 days and at least one coach was infected.
While the players may want to get back out on the field, Dr. Robert Fischer, an infectious disease specialist at Einstein Medical Center, says parents have to consider how they can keep all members of their family safe.
"The risk of a severe or fatal outcome for children is small, but it’s not zero.Clearly, some sports are better than others in regards to social distancing being possible. Parents have to make a decision. If you have several generations living in the same household, you may want to think twice about allowing a child to play a sport," Fischer told PBS39.
The Office of Public Health says at least one youth coach who tested positive for coronavirus did not immediately provide full details to contact tracers about who they had been in contact with while being considered infectious. Fischer says contact tracing is an important tool that helps to stop the spread of the virus.
"Once the number of cases is down to a manageable level, contact tracing plays an essential role. It’s understandable that people don’t want to share details about their personal lives, but I also think the well being of the community would be well served by people putting aside their personal concerns and cooperating with the contact tracers," he said.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 97,000 children nationwide have tested positive during the last two weeks of July. Fischer says any kids who play sports this year should take all safety precautions—like social distancing and wearing a mask—seriously.
"The measures are simple and straightforward, but they only work when people execute them." said Fischer.