OLYMPIA — Health authorities in Washington say nearly 100 COVID-19 cases have been linked to recent high school wrestling tournaments.
The Department of Health, along with local health jurisdictions, started by investigating several outbreaks among unvaccinated and vaccinated people. Between 80 to 90 cases have been linked to the tournaments that happened Dec. 4. Three cases have been confirmed as the omicron variant.
They were the John Birbeck Invitational in Lacey, Washington; Yelm Girls Varsity in Yelm, Washington; Ed Arima Duals in Sumner, Washington; and the Lady Jags Kickoff Tournament in Puyallup, Washington.
The state health department said counties that had high schools at the tournaments were Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Skagit, Snohomish, Pierce, Thurston, Whatcom and Yakima.
There was also one Oregon high school with participants.
A total of 33 cases have been linked to Snohomish County, according to the Snohomish Health District. The school districts impacted are Arlington, Edmonds, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Monroe, Mukilteo, Snohomish, Stanwood-Camano and Sultan.
The health district is requiring teams to pause activities until all athletes, staff and volunteers are tested for COVID-19. Fully vaccinated individuals and anyone who has previously recovered from the virus can resume activities if they receive a negative test and are asymptomatic. Unvaccinated individuals are required to quarantine for at least seven days from their latest exposure and must receive a negative test no sooner than five days after it.
Six high school wrestling meets in Wesco — the county’s largest prep sports conference — scheduled for Wednesday night have been canceled or postponed, and at least nine more wrestling events have been postponed or canceled through the rest of the week.
Stanwood athletics director Tom Wilfong said there’s “a good possibility” more events will be postponed or canceled.
Wilfong said Stanwood has made the decision to halt boys and girls wrestling team activities until students return from winter break.
“I think as teams are evaluating what’s going on right now in terms of winter break, it comes at an advantageous time,” Wilfong said. “Tournaments that go over the break are non-league, and it may just be a good opportunity to get kids off the mat and let things run their course.”
Dr. Scott Lindquist with the state health department said in a press conference on Wednesday that at the moment the outlook for Mat Classic, the state wrestling tournament held in February at the Tacoma Dome, “doesn’t look good.”
Authorities say anyone who attended the tournaments should monitor for symptoms and get tested for COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms or who tests positive should stay home.
Officials say they will send out notifications to those directly impacted soon.
Herald writer Zac Hereth contributed to this story.