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COVID-19 outbreak linked to high school wrestling tournament reminds us our schools need your help.

UPDATED: 12/17/2021

Dec. 17 Update: Washington State Department of Health announced revised guidelines for high-risk sporting activities

Earlier this week, Washington State Department of Health (DOH) announced a multi-county COVID-19 outbreak linked to 4 high school wrestling tournaments on Dec. 4, 2021. 

So far, we’ve identified 36 COVID-19 cases in 9 Pierce County school districts and private schools from the tournaments. 16 of those cases were in vaccinated individuals, 8 were unvaccinated, and we don’t know the vaccination status of 12. 

Other counties around the state experienced cases, too. Public health may identify more cases in the coming days. 

Any COVID-19 outbreak is concerning, especially among our schools and kids. We want parents and schools to know what we’re doing to investigate and monitor this event. 

We can all take steps to help protect against outbreaks like these. Keeping kids in schools is extremely important for their health and the community. We need everyone to do their part to keep schools open and safe. 

What we’re doing. 

Over the coming days, we’ll work with DOH to notify any more districts and schools with cases. The notifications include guidance for next steps, like encouraging anyone who attended the events to get tested for COVID-19. We also want students, coaches and staff to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. 

We work closely with schools to protect our students and athletes. Schools test athletes, coaches, trainers and other staff who work with athletes on a bi-weekly basis. Students continue to mask-up in class. Physical distancing in sports like wrestling is impossible but encouraged anytime they have a break in the action.

Though we take as many precautions as possible, outbreaks like these still occur, especially as the Omicron variant spreads and people gather for the holidays. We know areas with low-vaccination rates are particularly prone to more COVID-19 cases.

How you can help.  

Get vaccinated. Everyone 5 years and older should get COVID-19 vaccine. Everyone 16 years and older should get a booster for more protection. 

Vaccines remain the best defense we have against COVID-19. We know people can still get the virus if they’re vaccinated, and no vaccine is 100% effective. But vaccines prove to protect against serious illness and death. 

Get tested. Even if you weren’t at the wrestling tournaments, anyone who shows signs of COVID-19 should get a test, especially if you plan to gather for the holidays. Other tools like masking and physical distancing help to stop the spread of the virus. 

We want our kids to stay in school. We also want them to do the things they love. Everyone in the community needs to use all the tools available to help make this happen. Get the vaccine, get tested and stay safe. 

Find your dose.

Help your community. Do your part. Find your COVID-19 vaccine today at tpchd.org/vaxtothefuture. Everyone 5 and older is eligible. If you need a ride to an appointment or can’t easily leave your home, we can help! Call us at (253) 649-1412, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

And you can do even more to help stop the spread.

• Fight the flu, too, and get your flu shot.
• Wear your mask.
• If you’re sick, stay home.
• Wash your hands frequently.
• Get tested if you experience symptoms or were exposed.
• Get vaccinated.

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