Video shot by the Baton Rouge Advocate and posted on YouTube shows spectators crowding around the mat to watch the finals of the Louisiana Classic on Saturday, Jan. 16, in Gonzales, La.
In Louisiana, the state’s Department of Health has confirmed that an outbreak of COVID-19 is connected to a high school wrestling tournament.
In a statement posted on their website, the department said they have received more than 20 reports of athletes, staff and attendees that have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the Louisiana Classic tournament at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center on January 15-16.
The Department of Health said anyone who attended the tournament should consider themselves exposed to COVID-19 and should immediately contact their health care provider to get tested – even if they aren’t experiencing symptoms.
Multiple schools and an estimated 400 wrestlers from across Louisiana attended the tournament, which was closed to spectators on day one. Photos and videos taken by the Baton Rouge Advocate showed that social distancing was not being enforced and while some people wore masks, there were many people that did not wear them.
CNN reported that the executive director of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association said on Monday that there are no plans to cancel future wrestling events and that the governing body won’t implement additional COVID-19 prevention efforts beyond mask mandates, limited capacity and screening processes.
In New England, New Hampshire is the only state currently wrestling and they are only allowing dual meets. A dual meet state tournament is being planned in the Granite State.
Connecticut and Vermont have cancelled their respective seasons while Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Maine have delayed the season into the spring. Wrestling practice may begin in New York on Feb. 1, if the local health department permits it. The New York state tournament has been cancelled.