Playing sports and wondering about team events and practices?
With the recent cases of the COVID-19 virus, it is vital that all sports organizations, teams, players, coaches, officials, and families follow the recommended general guidelines from Health Canada to protect themselves and those around them from any illness, including respiratory viruses like COVID-19.
At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the risk associated with COVID-19 as LOW for the general population in Canada, but this could change rapidly. Public Health is already responding to maintain containment of sporadic cases. At the same time, federal, provincial, and community partners continue to reassess the public health risk, based on the best available evidence (Health Canada 2020).
To help prevent the spread of respiratory infections, follow these essential tips:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, like in this video from Health Canada. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- All adults and children should stay home when sick. Please share this video (see PHAC) with participants, children, and teams to teach them to cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and/or sneeze and cough into your sleeve
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a disinfecting solution
- Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
- Public Health does not recommend the use of face masks for general prevention and says that hand-washing provides better protection from infectious diseases. Poster Hand Washing precautions: https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-pec-poster-en-2020-03-09.pdf
See the standard recommendations below for suggestions on games, practices, and events for us all to protect ourselves and those around us.
- Players or parents feeling ill should not attend games or practices
- Drink and water bottles should NOT be shared
- Games – the home team should NOT provide water jugs for communal usage, each player should bring their own drink or water bottle
- If you bring food or drinks to games, please ensure that you discard any items yourself
- All players and teams should carry and use hand sanitizer
- Consider – No handshakes, high fives, fist pumps, chest bumps, huddles, group celebrations, etc. reinvent the foot high-five!
- Consider – No pre or post-game handshakes between players, coaches & officials – teams should continue to show good sportsmanship by clapping or cheering for the opposition team
- Consider – Referees only should sign the game card or pad – there should be a verbal acknowledgment from coaches that the information is correct so that the referee may sign
Those involved in the care of athletes (participants) should be alert to the possibility of infectious disease when:
- There is the expectation, or even the chance, of contact or collision with another player, or the playing surface, which may be a mat or artificial turf.
- The opportunities for skin breaks, obvious or subtle, are present and compromise skin defenses.
- Young people congregate in specific areas, change rooms, showers, etc.
- There is the possibility of sharing personal toilet articles.
- Equipment, gloves, and pads and protective gear that is difficult to sanitize can become contaminated.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit has information and resources. Visit www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca or call our dedicated COVID-19 Helpline at 1-800-263-3456 press 3000.
**Public health guidance for schools (k-12) and childcare programs (COVID19) https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/guidance-schools-childcare-programs.html