MINNESOTA - After identifying an outbreak of COVID-19 cases associated with a Minnesota youth wrestling tournament held in South Dakota, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) have alerted schools around the state to watch for potential cases and to double down on masking, social distancing and other prevention measures. Health officials are also asking anyone who attended the tournament to get tested immediately for COVID-19 and to watch for symptoms.
The Northland Youth Wrestling Association (NYWA) 2021 State Wrestling Tournament was held at the PREMIER Center Complex in Sioux Falls from Wednesday, March 31, to Saturday, April 3. The event was for Minnesota youth club wrestling teams and included approximately 2,000 wrestlers in addition to spectators. MDH is now monitoring a growing COVID-19 outbreak among people who attended the tournament. As of Monday morning, MDH has linked 16 confirmed cases to the event.
Due to the close proximity and contact with opponents, wrestling carries a high risk for transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. Given the reported lack of mitigation, such as masking and social distancing, among participants and spectators at the tournament, health officials warn there is an increased risk of COVID-19 from the event.
Epidemiologists estimate that 60% of all COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are now caused by the B.1.1.7 variant, which spreads more easily and may be able to cause more severe illness.
Nine counties have confirmed cases associated with this event - locally, that includes Murray County To date, eight schools have confirmed cases associated with the event, including six public schools and two non-public schools.
MDH learned that 64 teams from at least 52 Minnesota counties participated in the tournament, including Cottonwood, Nobles, Pipestone, and Rock. The tournament was moved from Rochester to Sioux Falls because of the level of COVID-19 mitigation requirements for sporting events in Minnesota.