British Columbia

'Pick one sport' and keep parents off the sidelines, Dr. Bonnie Henry advises

This is not the year to have your children signed up for multiple sports or to encourage team spirit from the sidelines, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told parents Tuesday.

Provincial health officer notes recent COVID-19 exposure events at youth hockey and soccer games

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there have been recent examples of COVID-19 exposure events in recreational sports settings. (Shutterstock/matimix)

This is not the year to have your children signed up for multiple sports or to encourage team spirit from the sidelines, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told parents Tuesday.

During her latest briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic, Henry noted an increase in exposures at recreational youth sporting events, including soccer and hockey, which has led to the closure of some facilities.

She said all organizations need to have plans in place to prevent transmission of the disease, and that includes restrictions on fans observing the games.

"We have to remember that spending time socializing or cheering with other parents and fans before, during and after games increases the risk of transmission and exposure for you and your family," Henry said.

"As much as we want to see the winning goal or celebrate the perfect pass after the game, we need to ensure we are keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe by always following our COVID-19 safety basics."

That doesn't mean she's discouraging participation in youth sports — quite the opposite. Henry said it's important for everyone to be physically active.

The real key is making sure the risk of exposure to the virus is kept low.

"If you're playing school sports, pick one sport, not two or three other events or different activities outside of school," Henry said.

"This is the year to not fill up every night with a different group."

She also addressed a recent situation in Ontario where at least 61 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a single spin studio in Hamilton.

Henry said public health workers are keeping a close eye on gyms and other fitness facilities in B.C., but so far have seen few cases where gym-goers were exposed to the virus.

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