Game on? Youth sports in New York will soon be up to local county health departments

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — New York state updated its COVID-19 guidelines Friday to let local county health departments determine if higher-risk youth sports can be played.

In the update Friday:

Effective February 1, 2021, participants in higher risk sports and recreation activities may partake in individual or distanced group training and organized no/low-contact group training and, further, may partake in other types of play, including competitions and tournaments, only as permitted by the respective local health authorities (i.e., county health departments).

  • Local health authorities should consider the following factors in authorizing or continuing to prohibit higher risk sports and recreational activities as, in many areas, these factors may weig against permitting such activities:
    • whether there has been a more-transmissible variant of COVID-19 identified in the area,
    • local rates of COVID-19 transmission or rate of positivity, and
    • local ability to monitor and enforce compliance.

In a coronavirus briefing Thursday, Monroe County Public Health Commissioner expressed optimism about the possibility.

“The sports themselves have not been a major source of transmission,” Dr. Mendoza said. “It’s the before and after activities, the gatherings in the homes, in the locker room, etc. I think we can look at this, but the science is limited on how do we proceed with this? We have learned a bit form other parts of the country, but our numbers here are still pretty high. I’m always going to be cautious — that’s part of my job, but I also think we need to be open on ways to do this safely, and our schools have demonstrated that time and time again.”

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