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HDNL stays the course on banning spectators

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  • Photo by Jose Quezada
  • Most unmasked spectators attend a recent Fortuna Boys basketball game.

The Humboldt-Del Norte League did not reconsider its recently imposed temporary spectator ban for high school sporting events at its meeting last night, despite outcry from some demanding it.

The league announced Jan. 6 that participating school superintendents had voted 6-4 to impose the ban until at least Jan. 23 in an effort to slow the spread of the highly contagious variant of Omicron COVID-19 locally and to keep schools open in person. instruction and student-athletes in competition. The decision prompted an immediate backlash from some, with a petition calling on the league to quickly reconsider its decision garnering more than 2,100 signatures. (Read more about the league’s decision in this week’s article Newspaper cover story here.)

HDNL Commissioner Jack Lakin told the Newspaper via email that the league’s sporting directors met last night via zoom – with four of the nine who participated joining from home while isolating with COVID-19 – but did not review the temporary policy of ban on spectators. He said league superintendents were considering scheduling a meeting next week to “review current conditions and determine the status of spectators” as the temporary ban is currently due to expire on January 23.

Lakin said many games over the past week have had to be postponed or postponed due to COVID-19, while at least two local schools have also had to close due to staff shortages due to COVID infections. -19, while the Klamath Trinity Unified School District has decided to close all of its campuses and cancel scheduled sports competitions for a week “due to the number of COVID cases in our communities”.

Cases throughout Humboldt County continued to rise in the days after HDNL announced its decision. The county’s seven-day average yesterday was more than 141 new confirmed cases per day with a test positivity rate of 26.4%, both figures eclipsing the county’s previous highs. In the first 12 days of January, the county reported 1,667 new cases, or 13.2% of its cumulative tally during the nearly 23-month pandemic.

At a press conference yesterday, local health officials said they expected the current surge to peak next month. To date, a state database indicates that 20 people are hospitalized locally with COVID-19, including five in intensive care.