King County authorities have confirmed a stadium employee who worked at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field last month has tested positive for coronavirus.
The man, who according to The Seattle Times was a concession stand worker, was on duty on February 22, when the Seattle Dragons took on the Dallas Renegades in the XFL.
In an official statement, King County health officials confirmed the case, but suggested the venue will continue to host events as planned and those among the 22,060 fans who attended the game last month were at low risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
“There are no extra precautions required for those who attended the February 22 game or who will attend upcoming events,” the statement read.
“But all King County residents should know that the risk for infection with COVID-19 is increasing in our community.
“As of now, Seattle’s professional sports organizations—Dragons, First & Goal/Seahawks, Mariners, and Sounders FC—will continue with scheduled events. The teams are in touch with local health officials and their respective leagues on a regular basis, as this public health issue continues to evolve.”
Jeffrey Pollack, XFL president and COO, said the league had already set up a task force to deal with the case and was closely monitoring the situation to ensure the health and safety of its fans.
“The health and safety of the extended XFL family—especially our fans in Seattle—is of the utmost importance,” he said in a statement. “We share everyone’s concern about this public health issue and understand it is evolving on a daily basis.”
The Seattle Sounders are scheduled to host the Columbus Crew at CenturyLink Field on Saturday in their MLS clash and the team confirmed the game would go ahead as planned, as of Friday.
“At this time, there has been no recommendation from Public Health—Seattle & King County to adjust scheduling for sporting events, as is the case with Seattle Public Schools and other community institutions,” the MLS team said in statement.
“As this situation remains fluid, the club is in real-time communication with key community stakeholders, and we will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.”
As this chart provided by Statista shows, the state of Washington has been by far the worst hit by the outbreak of coronavirus in the U.S. with 70 cases reported and 10 deaths.
According to the state’s department of health’s website, 51 cases and nine deaths have been reported King County, with 18 cases and one death in Snohomish County and one case in Grant County.
The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has now passed 200 and worldwide there have been 100,000 cases since the outbreak of coronavirus began in Wuhan, a city located in China’s central Hubei province, late last year. Over 55,000 cases are thought to have now recovered.
Since the virus began spreading across the world, a number of sporting events have been either called off, postponed or played behind closed doors.
The Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix that was scheduled for next month has been canceled, while the Japanese and South Korean soccer leagues have been postponed indefinitely.
In Italy, the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe, a number of games in Serie A—the country’s top-flight soccer league—have been cancelled over the last two weeks and some fixtures will be played behind closed doors this weekend.
Sporting events in the U.S., however, have been largely unaffected.
World Health Organisation advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handlings animals or waste.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.
- If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.
- Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
- Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
- Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of mask.
- Do not reuse single-use masks.