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WIAA restricts attendance at basketball tournaments amid virus outbreak

(WBAY)
Published: Mar. 11, 2020 at 2:09 PM CDT
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UPDATE 3/12:

The WIAA is restricting attendance at high school basketball tournaments in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The guidelines for mass gatherings calls for restriction of public events to 50-250 attendees, depending on the event and venue," says the WIAA. "This pandemic has created unprecedented circumstances that make these decisions and actions prudent and necessary."

Attendance will be limited at the girls basketball tournament at the Resch Center in Green Bay and the boys basketball tournament in Madison.

Dates are March 12-14 and March 19-21.

No cheerleaders, pep bands, school photographers, videographers or on-site sponsors will be allowed.

"The policy limits attendance at the State Tournament to 88 tickets per team, two supervisors and a limit of 22 team personnel. In addition, the boys and girls 3-Point Challenge competitions scheduled for Saturday will be held with participants and one chaperone allowed," reads a statment from the WIAA.

Essential personnel--including officials, scorekeepers, WIAA staff--will be be permitted at the tournament.

A live television broadcast will be available. A limited number of radio stations will be allowed to broadcast.

“The WIAA has been keeping up with public health and medical updates and has recognized the changing environment over the past 24 hours,” Executive Director Dave Anderson said. “As good and responsible citizens, we are adhering to policies consistent to preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

The girls basketball tournament kicks off in Green Bay Thursday at 1:35 p.m.

Neenah Joint Schools announced that Thursday's boys basketball game against Chippewa Falls at Marshfield will be limited to family members only. Fans who purchased advanced tickets will be able to get a refund.

Kimberly Boys Basketball announced restricted attendance would be enforced at Thursday's sectional semi-final game at Wisconsin Rapids. Fans will also be eligible for a refund.

Coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic.

As of this publication, there are six confirmed cases of coronavirus--or COVID-19--in Wisconsin. Two of those cases are in Fond du Lac County.

for important information about the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

"The virus is found in droplets from the throat and nose. When someone coughs or sneezes, other people near them can breathe in those droplets. The virus can also spread when someone touches an object with the virus on it. If that person touches their mouth, face, or eyes the virus can make them sick," says the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

DHS recommends taking these steps to help stop the spread of the virus:

--Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water.

--Covering coughs and sneezes.

--Avoiding touching your face.

--Staying home when sick.

The virus originated in Wuhan, China. The spread started in December 2019.

"People who have traveled in the past 14 days to places where there is community spread of COVID-19 (international and domestic locations), are asked to self-quarantine themselves and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms, like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing are present, they should contact their local health department and health care provider for possible testing. People should call ahead before arriving at a health care facility for testing," reads a statement from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

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PREVIOUS UPDATE

Wisconsin high school basketball tournaments will still go on as planned this weekend, despite rising fears about the spread of the coronavirus.

The WIAA confirmed Wednesday the girls’ basketball tournament at the Resch Center in Green Bay and boys sectional rounds will still continue as planned this week. Officials plan to keep monitoring the virus' spread and said they will issue a new statement if anything changes with the tournament schedule.

"While circumstances may change, all of the leading health resources we have been working with indicate the best way to proceed is to be overcautious and reinforce the universal guidance and precautions to know your health risk, especially those at higher risk for severe illness; wash hands repeatedly with soap or sanitizer; cover your sneeze or cough; keep hands away from your face; and if you feel sick, stay at home," a WIAA released said Wednesday.

As the University of Wisconsin announced that all campus events of more than 50 people are canceled through at least April 10, earlier today the WIAA stated "We have discussed options for continuing to conduct the WIAA Boys Basketball State Tournament. We will continue to discuss all options."

"While we hear that universities and colleges have been closing their campuses, it is important to keep in mind that their student populations include international students who are returning to campus from spring break and countries which may have been infected more. In addition, those students are being quarantined as they return," the released went on to say.

The Kohl Center, located on UW's campus is set to host the Boys Basketball State Tournament March 19 - 21.