More than 20 student athletes, staff and spectators who attended a wrestling tournament in Louisiana have tested positive for Covid-19. Now, the state health department is advising everyone who attended to get tested for the virus.
The Louisiana Classic Wrestling Tournament took place earlier this month at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, a town about 59 miles west of New Orleans. Students, parents and school staff from across the state convened over two days to watch high school wrestling matches.
“Anyone who attended the tournament either day — January 15 or January 16 — should consider themselves exposed to COVID-19,” the Louisiana Department of Health’s statement said.
Photos from the event published by the Acadiana Advocate show inconsistent mask use among those in attendance, many of whom were seated within close proximity of each other. The newspaper reported about 400 wrestlers participated.
Ascension Parish, where the wrestling tournament took place, is at “highest risk” of Covid-19, according to the state health department’s coronavirus case tracker. The parish has seen nearly 10,000 Covid-19 cases among its 126,600-plus residents.
CNN has reached out to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association and the Lamar Dixon Expo Center for comment and is waiting to hear back.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention generally advises against attending indoor events during the pandemic. In its guidelines for youth sports, the CDC specifically names wrestling as a sport that requires players to come within six feet of each other. For wrestling matches during the pandemic, the CDC advises modifying play to avoid competition altogether.
If sporting events must be held indoors, the CDC says, they should take place only in well-ventilated buildings. Attendees inside should maintain ample distance from each other and wear masks, the CDC says.