COVID-19 outbreak linked to adult volleyball games in Lake County

  • Lake County health authorities say an outbreak of at least 14 COVID-19 cases has been traced to adult volleyball games played this month at Jesse Oaks Food & Drink in Gages Lake.

    Lake County health authorities say an outbreak of at least 14 COVID-19 cases has been traced to adult volleyball games played this month at Jesse Oaks Food & Drink in Gages Lake. Daily Herald File Photo, 2016

  • All volleyball activities at Jesse Oaks Food & Drink have been suspended after health authorities traced at least 14 COVID-19 cases to games played there this month.

    All volleyball activities at Jesse Oaks Food & Drink have been suspended after health authorities traced at least 14 COVID-19 cases to games played there this month. Daily Herald File Photo, 2016

 
 
Updated 9/30/2020 8:35 AM

Lake County health authorities are investigating more than a dozen COVID-19 cases linked to adult volleyball leagues hosted by a Gages Lake bar and grill where as many as 200 players and spectators may have been exposed to the virus.

Health officials say 14 people who played or watched volleyball at Jesse Oaks Food & Drink this month have tested positive for the coronavirus. Several of those people also played volleyball at other bar/restaurant locations, which could contribute to further spread of the virus, authorities said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We are currently working diligently to speak with infected individuals and notify close contacts who have been identified," said Dr. Sana Ahmed, medical epidemiologist at the Lake County Health Department. "However, nearly 200 volleyball players and spectators may have been exposed. This could potentially be a large outbreak, and we need the public's help to contain the spread of this virus."

Health officials are asking that anyone who played volleyball at Jesse Oaks this month, or visited and did not wear a mask, to quarantine at home for 14 days from their last visit.

They also suggest those people get a molecular COVID-19 test within at least five days of their last visit, or sooner if symptoms develop, and call the Communicable Disease program at (847) 377-8130 if not already contacted by the health department.

While under quarantine, a person should stay home, limit contact with others in their home, avoid having any visitors and wear a face covering if they must leave to seek medical attention.

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A negative test result does not shorten the quarantine period, since the virus may take up to 14 days to be detectable, officials said.

As a result of the outbreak, Jesse Oaks has suspended all volleyball activities for 14 days and may resume only when in compliance with state guidelines. Those guidelines allow only scrimmages among members of the same team but not league play between different teams, officials said.

"Under the current phase of the state's plan, volleyball is considered a medium-risk sport, and no competitive matches between teams are permitted," said Larry Mackey, director of environmental health at the health department. "Failing to abide by these guidelines puts the public's health at risk, prolongs the pandemic, and has the potential to force additional restrictions on local businesses that are working so hard to protect their employees and customers."

Mackey said there is "some disagreement" as to whether the games taking place at Jesse Oaks violated state guidelines, but the health department believes they were league games and therefore prohibited.

However, he said, no enforcement actions are being taken against the establishment.

"They voluntarily agreed to stop the games for 14 days and we're working with them to meet the guidelines," Mackey said.

According to the health department, 16,960 Lake County residents had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday, with 464 fatal cases.

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