Kansas’ top health official on fall high school sports: ’It’s going to be a problem’

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 4:41 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) - Dr. Lee Norman, the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Wednesday that despite the decline in numbers the state is seeing, he doesn’t think fall sports will proceed without problems with COVID-19. He pointed out the problems facing professional sports.

“Everybody around them is being tested. everyone is being tested. They’re being treated like the fanciest of race horses, and they’re getting it. I’m really concerned it will be highly likely there will be COVID 19 and sports will have fits and starts, in terms of turning it on, turning it off,” said Dr. Norman. “I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think it’s going to be a problem.”

Currently, there are nine clusters and 63 cases are linked to sports. High schools sports in Kansas is set to start Aug. 17.

“We thought there might be a natural protection in softball and baseball because you’re out in the open air, but we’ve had them in all lines of sports, softball, baseball, soccer, wrestling,” said Dr. Norman. “One still has to pay attention, even if it’s an airy outdoor sport. It can still lead to transmission of the disease.”

As Kansas prepares to go back to school, Dr. Norman said his office is monitoring the 14 clusters in schools and day cares that account for 62 cases. Five or six being have been children younger than 18 years old, according Dr. Norman. The rest have been in 18 to 76. Still, he said doctors at Children’s Mercy Hospital tell him they are seeing more children come in with symptoms of COVID-19.

“There will be school and it’s yet to be determined exactly the setting where that will be, but no school is an island and safe in a community with COVID 19,” said the secretary.

He said masks, hand washing and social distancing remain the best defense to slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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