Montgomery County investigating coronavirus outbreak with soccer teams

County investigating COVID-19 outbreak with youth soccer teams

Health officer says at least two teams affected

| Published:
Coronavirus dept of health photo

Montgomery County is investigating a COVID-19 outbreak among two youth soccer teams.

Dr. Travis Gayles, the county’s health officer, told the County Council at a meeting on Tuesday that the county began investigating over the weekend.

The two teams involved are a club soccer team and a school-related soccer team, he said.

“We have over four cases identified so far and from my understanding, there is at least probably 30 individuals who have been quarantined as a secondary effect of those potential exposures,” Gayles said. “We continue to investigate and provide guidance in those instances.

He did not say name the club and or the school.

Montgomery County began allowing soccer to be played after community members pushed for it to be on the list of sports that are allowed in Phase 2 of the county’s reopening.

The restriction on soccer was lifted on Aug. 24 as the county recategorized the sport as medium risk instead of high risk.

Sports have had several restrictions, including the prohibition of sporting events with teams from outside Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia. Athletic tournaments are not allowed.

Other requirements are a 50-person limit for all sporting events, which includes coaches, participants and spectators. Spectators are limited to parents or guardians and immediate family members of players.

On Sept. 22, the county updated its Phase 2 guidelines to include a face-covering exemption for children younger than 18 while playing sports, based on a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The decision to allow soccer was delayed because of conflicting guidance about whether it is a medium- or high-contact sport, Gayles told the council on Aug. 24.

At the time that the council allowed soccer activities to resume, the Maryland health department classified soccer as a medium-contact sport, but it was classified as high-contact by the NCAA.

“I give that as an example to say it’s not an effort to try to take long, but we’re trying to ensure we have comprehensive information to inform our decision-making process,” Gayles told the council on Aug. 24.

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.

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