WIAA officials: Girl's State Basketball Tournament goes on as planned

Published: Mar. 10, 2020 at 5:32 PM CDT
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WIAA officials are keeping a close eye on the coronavirus as they get ready for the Girl's State Basketball Tournament this weekend at the Resch Center.

About 30,000-40,000 people are expected to make their way into the tournament at some point during the three-day event.

Todd Clark, WIAA director of communications, said they are monitoring the situation, but as of right now, they don’t plan on changing anything about the tournament. Instead, they are going to remind people about the precautions they can take to stay healthy. PMI Entertainment told Action 2 News that the center has plenty of bathrooms that are well-stocked with soap.

‘We're working on a PSA, a message within the facility on video boards as a friendly reminder to be courteous, as far as, doing the common things we talk about to help prevent the spread of contagious viruses,” said Clark.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says when it comes to major tournaments, like the one coming up this weekend in Ashwaubenon, the WIAA is leaving the decision up to event organizers because the virus is still contained in the state, which means there isn't community spread.

“We’re monitoring very closely for any of those situations and so far, we don't have any indicators that we have that here in Wisconsin,” said Tracy DeSalvo, communicable diseases epidemiology section chief with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

If that changes, then the state health department would step in.

In the meantime, the health department says people should practice proper hygiene and consider changing how they greet each other.

“We need to begin to change our norms around shaking hands. We can use our elbow or just give a little bow and greet people with a warm smile,” said Jeanne Ayers, WI health officer and administrator of the division of public health. “That can help us avoid the kind of contact that will accelerate spread of flu-like illnesses.

As for players, who usually high-five or shake hands during the games, the WIAA is not making any changes yet.

“We had talked about fist bumps and shaking hands, but I’m not sure if it's gotten to that level yet,” said Clark. “It has been talked about and we considered that maybe a fist pump might work, but we have not determined that yet.

The tournament starts Thursday, March 12 at the Resch Center.