September 20, 2021 — In Anne Arundel County and statewide, there has been an increase in community cases of COVID-19 with the rise of the Delta variant.
“When community rates of COVID-19 are high, there is an increased likelihood that COVID-19 will be introduced to and transmitted within school or sports settings,” said County Health Officer Nilesh Kalyanaraman, M.D. “With schools reopening fully, young people, especially those who are unvaccinated, are at an increased risk for exposure to the COVID-19 virus.”
The Anne Arundel County Department of Health has requested community support from players, parents, coaches and team staff in following contact tracing guidelines and procedures. The support will help young people be safe and remain in school and sports activities.
Once someone becomes aware of a positive player, coach or staff member, they are advised to call the Department of Health at 410-222-7256 as soon as possible to appropriately contact trace the positive individual. Players and sports staff may also receive a call from the Department of Health when an individual on your team or in your organization has tested positive for COVID-19.
The Department of Health asks that coaches and team staff do the following.
- Encourage all unvaccinated players, coaches, team staff, spectators and parents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Any vaccinated players, coaches or team staff who are identified as close contacts of a positive case, do not need to quarantine and can continue to play, as long as they are asymptomatic.
- Provide a complete roster, including names and phone numbers, to the Department of Health when requested. This will allow the Department to identify the close contacts of the positive case and determine if they need to quarantine. This is key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and preventing an outbreak.
- Encourage mask wearing, regardless of vaccination status, at all indoor settings and in crowded outdoors settings (e.g., bleachers, where multiple households are mixing for extended periods of time).
- Maintain physical distance as much as possible in various settings (e.g., fields, benches/team areas, locker rooms, spectator viewing areas, spectator facilities/restrooms).
- Encourage all players, coaches and team staff to stay home if they are sick.
When a player is positive for COVID-19, the individual must immediately isolate for 10 days, regardless of vaccination status. This means the player is unable to go to school or play any sports. Any unvaccinated close contacts are required to quarantine (a) for 10 days or (b) quarantine for 7 days with a negative COVID-19 test done between day 5-7. Vaccinated close contacts do not need to be quarantined as long as they do not have symptoms.
Dr. Kalyanaraman emphasizes the social, emotional and mental health benefits from in-person learning, sports and extracurricular activities. He said, “With the implementation of the recommended mitigation strategies and your cooperation, we can decrease infection rates within your teams and organizations and keep the players healthy, safe and on the field.”