Evidence is beginning to show that intense, indoor sports may contribute to the delivery of COVID-19, per a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), citing an ice hockey game resulting in 14 infected individuals.
The patient index, or believed source of infection, had fever, cough, sore throat and headache one day after playing the game on June 16 in Tampa Bay, Fla., Per study. Two days later, a nasal swab confirmed the infection, and shortly after 13 other players and an ice rink staff member also dropped in with symptoms.
Of the 15 total cases, 11 infections were confirmed by PCR testing and two were positive for antigen, while two were not tested.
“The ice rink provides a venue that is likely to be suitable for serving COVID-19 as an indoor environment where deep breathing takes place, and people are close to each other,” each study shows.
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More infections were cropped on the patient index team, which the CDC said could be from further exposure in their separate locker room and sitting close to the bench.
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Players put on fabric face masks in the locker room and during the game but wear protective hockey-like masks such as plastic shields and metal cages, while others do not wear facial devices, the health agency wrote.
Two on-ice referees were able to escape the symptoms.
The CDC also considered the plexiglass surrounding the rink, creating a “physically separated playground.” A single viewer was also able to escape the symptoms, but was not tested.
“The high proportion of infections that have occurred during this outbreak provides evidence for the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during an indoor sports activity where intense physical activity takes place,” the agency wrote. Florida Department of Health personnel followed with quarantine isolation and guidance to those involved, among other measures taken.
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