A PLAYER ON MY TEAM HAD CLOSE CONTACT TO A COVID-19 CASE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

One of the most common situations we have seen surrounds what to do if you have players, family members, or coaches who have experienced a close contact situation related to COVID-19. The quickest and easiest guidance related to this scenario is the COVID-19 Decision Tree from the Minnesota Department of Health’s website. The decision tree helps you understand what to do if you or a family member have had close contact, and also what to do with siblings in the same household.

Generally speaking:

  • The player who experienced close contact should be removed from team activities immediately and will be required to self-quarantine for 7-10 days.
  • Siblings of the person with close contact do not have to self-quarantine and can continue to participate in hockey activities. 
  • If the player who had close contact ultimately tests positive, their quarantine clock will "reset" to 10 days from either their test date (if asymptomatic) or the onset of symptoms.
  • If the player who had close contact is: a) never tested; b) never has symptoms; or c) tests negative, there is no further action required at the team level, and the player can return to action after their 7-10-day quarantine ends.
  • Note that per the new CDC guidelines, a person who has been deemed a close contact to a COVID-positive case can return to play after day 7 if they have received a negative COVID test. The COVID test must have been performed between 5-7 days from the date of initial exposure to the COVID-positive case.
  • If the player gets tested and it is positive, contact tracing will be performed if the positive test or the onset of symptoms occurred within 48 hours of a team event.

FAQ ON FACE COVERINGS AND OTHER NEW RULES

What is considered an approved face covering?

Cloth masks, neck gaiters, and bandannas will meet the mask requirements, as will specially-designed masks such as the CCM Game On Player Facemask.

  • At this time, per Minnesota Hockey, the Bauer Splash Guard is NOT yet approved. Minnesota Hockey is working with MDH and with HECC (Hockey Equipment Certification Council) to try to get the Bauer Splash Guard approved. We will update our Members if we receive more information.

  • Note that the “bubble”-style, clear plastic facemasks from Bauer, CCM, or others are NOT approved to meet the masking requirement. If the Splash Guard mentioned above becomes approved, then the bubble-style masks WITH a Splash Guard would become a viable option under the mask mandate.

What if my player has asthma or another medical condition?

If a player has severe asthma (exercise or cold induced, or combo) or another medical condition that makes wearing a mask medically dangerous, they should consult their family doctor or specialist.  If it is deemed by a medical professional that their case is severe enough to warrant a medical exemption, they need to obtain a written statement from the medical professional letter stating this. 

An electronic copy of the letter must be emailed to covidinfo@waconiahockey.org, the player’s exempt status must be made known to the player’s coach in writing, and the player’s coach must keep a copy of the written statement to show opponents and officials if necessary.

What about mouth guards?

WHA understands that this may be difficult, but as of now there has been no change to the mouth guard policy, which means mouth guards still must be worn when players are on the ice. Due to questions related to this policy, USA Hockey Safety Director Kevin Margarucci said the following; “There is no change in the mouthguard requirement at...  Enforcement may be a little more difficult for officials but the rule has not changed. Custom fit mouthguards allow for ample breathing that should not be an issue.  The quality of off the shelf boil and bite guards also allows for a better fit and breathing. The one issue players may have is if they wear a tethered mouthguard.  There are masks out there by Shock Doctor that have an out flap that allow for an attached guard to be worn and still covering the mouth with the mask flap.”

My child is only 4 or 5 years old, does he/she still have to wear a mask?

Children 5 years and under are encouraged to follow masking guidelines when possible, but to mirror the Minnesota Department of Health's masking guidance, children 5 years and under are not required to wear masks.

WHAT TO DO IF THERE IS A POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST

If a player or family member in the same household tests positive for COVID-19, or if a player/family member has been identified as having had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, immediately remove the player from play and contact your Team Health Advisor as soon as possible. 

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The Team Health Advisor should send a detailed email to covidinfo@waconiahockey.org, including the following information:

  • When was the player/coach first symptomatic (if they were symptomatic)?
  • When did they get tested?
  • When did they receive the positive result?
  • When were the most recent two times (dates) they were around the team?
  • Did they carpool to/from the rink with anyone?
  • Were they in close contact with a COVID-positive person within their household?

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In the event of a positive test or an exposure to an individual with a positive test, players and family members must follow all CDC, MDH, and WYHA guidelines for returning to activity.

CLOSE CONTACT: IF YOU OR A FAMILY MEMBER HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO A PERSON WHO TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

In some cases, a player or coach may be identified as a close contact to a COVID-positive case.

The guidelines for this scenario have recently changed. Per the CDC’s most recent guidance, a person who has been deemed a close contact can return to activities:

  • After day 10 without testing

  • After day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later)*

  • After stopping quarantine, you should:

    • Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.

    • If you have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact your local public health authority or healthcare provider.

Furthermore, People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not have to quarantine or get tested again as long as they do not develop new symptoms. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms. In this scenario, WHA will require proof of a previous positive COVID case, including the date the test was performed.

*Testing should occur no sooner than 5 to 7 days after a close contact or exposure (or at any point if symptoms develop) to guard against a potential false negative test result due to being tested too early in the incubation period.

For more info, see the MDH Guidelines: What to do if you have had close contact with a person with COVID-19.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS PLAYERS AND PARENTS

The Waconia Hockey Association (WHA) is dedicated to maintaining the health and safety of all of our players, coaches, parents, and fans. It is your responsibility as a WHA member and/or player to be respectful of your fellow players, coaches, and volunteers by following the safety protocols we have put in place. Keep in mind that other players and/or family members may have higher risk related to COVID-19 and we must all do our part to ensure a safe, healthy, and fun 2020-21 youth hockey season. 

  1. When in doubt, sit out! Players should be held out of practices or games if they are sick or experiencing symptoms, if a sibling or family member is sick or experiencing symptoms, or if they know that they have had exposure to any individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  2. Social distancing. Coaches, players, parents, and spectators should practice social distancing whenever possible.
  3. Personal hygiene. Coaches, players, parents, and spectators should practice safe hygiene habits, including washing and/or sanitizing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, utilizing face coverings, and cleaning and sanitizing personal items and equipment frequently.