Kern to resume youth sports, health officials say

March 2, 2021 /

With the recent update from the state, Kern’s youth and adult recreational sports, including moderate-contact and high-contact sports, can resume practice, training and competitions.

Counties where the case rate is at or below 14 cases per 100,000 population are able to resume sports. Since Kern County’s adjusted case rate is now at 13.3 cases per 100,000, youth sports may resume competition immediately in accordance with this new guidance.

Under the updated guidance, outdoor high-contact and moderate-contact sport competitions may resume in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy’s Red (Substantial) tier and Purple (Widespread) tier, with modifications, including testing requirements for certain outdoor high-contact sports.

Because Kern County remains in the Purple tier, there are certain requirements sports teams must follow. Football, rugby and water polo participants age 13 and over are required to test weekly in order to resume competition. Weekly testing, either antigen or PCR is required for all participants and coaches in these sports, with results made available within 24 hours of competition.

Football, rugby and water polo are high-contact sports that are likely to be played unmasked, with close, face-to-face contact exceeding 15 minutes.  Outdoor moderate-contact sports, such as baseball, cheerleading and softball, can be played without the testing requirement.

Due to the nature and risk of transmission while participating in these sports outside of their established tiers, teams must provide information regarding risk to all parents/guardians of minors participating, and each parent shall sign an informed consent indicating their understanding and acknowledgement of the risks.

Tournaments or events involving more than 2 teams are not authorized except as outlined in the guidance. Inter-team competitions, meets, races or similar events are permitted only if both teams are located in the same county or in a bordering county. Teams are limited to one competition per day.

All sports resuming play must follow the steps outlined in the guidance to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission. This includes wearing face coverings, practicing physical distancing, and appropriate hand hygiene and equipment sanitation.

Kern County Public Health announced Wednesday 200 news cases of COVID-19 in Kern and 25 new COVID-19 deaths. This brings the total number of cases to 103,622 and number of deaths to 902.