HONOLULU (KHON2) — The University of Hawaii football team remains in quarantine Tuesday night after five players tested positive for COVID-19, part of eight positive cases since March 31.
While the Rainbow Warriors are regularly tested for COVID-19, youth sports in Hawaii are generally not. This as the Centers for Disease Control says that they’re finding spread of the virus from youth sports.
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“Many outbreaks in young people are related to youth sports and extra curricular activities. According to CDC guidance these activities should be limited,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.
“The responsibility is on the coaches, the players, and the parents. First of all the coaches they need to set a role model wearing masks,” pediatrician Dr. Theresa Wee said.
Dr. Wee has noticed that a lack of activity during the City and County of Honolulu’s ban on organized youth sports has led to a phenomena which she calls pandemic pounds.
“They’re missing a big part of their development, and I think a part of that is affecting school work and affecting their mental health,” Dr. Wee added.
Former UH Football star Chad Owens helped design the Safe Sports Hawaii plan approved by the Honolulu City Council and Mayor Rick Blangiardi.
Protocols include no spectators and players required to wear masks.
“All of the protocols are there all of the guidelines are there, everything is that just as long as everyone can continue to remain disciplined,” Owens said.
Still the UH Football team is facing it’s own issues with COVID-19, despite having resources to combat the virus that youth leagues don’t have.
The CDC cites increased variants for spiking the cause of spread in youth sports and activities on the mainland.
Youth sports are set to return to action in Honolulu on April 12 just one week before President Biden plans to have vaccinations available to all eligible ages.
“I do believe that now that more of the vulnerable population is getting vaccinated, I think that we need to start slowly opening up for our youth sports,” Dr. Wee said.
The Hawaii Department of Health says that they are not aware of any COVID-19 clusters related to youth sports in Hawaii.