This means that indoor sports games can turn into superspreader events, the researchers said in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weekly report.
The game was played on June 16 at a skating rink in Tampa and the next day a player, considered the index patient, exhibited symptoms of Covid-19, including fever, cough, sore throat and headache. Two days later, he tested positive for the virus, the Florida Department of Health reported.
Each team had 11 players, all male, aged between 19 and 53, with six on the ice and five on the bench at any given time during the match, the researchers said. Each team also shared separate locker rooms, typically for 20 minutes before and after the 60-minute match, and none wore disease control cloth masks.
“During the five days after the game, 15 people exhibited signs and symptoms compatible with coronavirus disease 2019; 13 of the 15 sick people had positive laboratory test results indicating SARS-CoV-2 infection. virus that causes COVID-19, “the researchers wrote. Two of the sick individuals were not screened.
While 62% of the players showed symptoms of Covid-19, the referees on the ice did not, nor the only spectator in the stands.
Ice rink suitable for Covid-19 transmission
Ice hockey involves vigorous physical exertion with heavy breathing during play and frequent contact between players.
“The ice rink provides a place that is likely suitable for COVID-19 transmission as an indoor environment where deep breathing occurs and people are very close to each other,” the researchers noted.
More than one player may have been contagious while playing, the researchers acknowledged, but they believe the index patient was the source of the transmission while still asymptomatic.
The median incubation time for Covid-19 is four to five days from exposure to symptom onset and ranges from two to 14 days, according to the CDC.
The analysis was limited because not all players were tested for the virus and asymptomatic infections may not have been identified.
“Indoor space and close contact between players during a hockey match increases the risk of infection for players and creates the potential for a superspreader event, especially with the ongoing community COVID-19 transmission,” concluded the study. .
“The ice rink provides a place that is likely suitable for COVID-19 transmission as an indoor environment where deep breathing takes place and people are very close to each other,” they added.
Scarce information about Covid-19 spread during sporting events
There are few published studies or reports of Covid-19 transmission associated with specific sporting games or practices beyond what is reported in the news, the CDC noted.
In New Hamphire, 158 residents associated with 23 different ice hockey teams or organizations have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the past two months, Dr. Benjamin Chan, the state epidemiologist, said Thursday. Of the 158 cases, 117 have been linked to separate outbreaks and 41 are not related to a specific outbreak but are linked to ice hockey, Chan said. “Hockey has been one of the high-risk activities where we’ve seen a lot of popularity,” added Chan.
People believed to have contracted the coronavirus through their association with hockey have also potentially exposed others in at least 24 different K-12 schools in the state, he said, noting that the game is increasing the risk of exposure and spreads to. other structures and organizations.
On Thursday, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu ordered that all ice activities at the indoor facilities be suspended for the next two weeks.
Other potential superspreader events
The choroanvirus has also spread through meat processing plants and has been linked to an outbreak involving 57 participants in a high-intensity fitness dance class in South Korea.
Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.