VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Public health officials in Clark County are asking school districts to cancel wrestling tournaments and practices for the next few weeks after 32 COVID cases were traced back to local wrestling events.

Washington state health officials also announced Friday that, effective immediately, players and coaches must be tested for COVID 3 times a week — and that one of those tests must be taken no sooner than the day before the game, and preferably would be on game day.

Dr. Steven Krager with Clark County Public Health said they’ve recommended all wrestling activities be paused until after the holiday break. They hope the pause will interrupt transmission of the virus.

The Department of Health, along with local health jurisdictions, started by investigating several outbreaks among unvaccinated and vaccinated people. Between 80 to 90 cases have been linked to the tournaments that happened December 4.

They were the John Birbeck Invitational in Lacey, Washington; Yelm Girls Varsity in Yelm, Washington; Ed Arima Duals in Sumner, Washington; and the Lady Jags Kickoff Tournament in Puyallup, Washington.

“We want kids to participate in sports safely,” Dr. Krager said. “I know it doesn’t make a lot of people happy, but I think it’s the right thing. Going into the new year, hopefully we can kind of have a fresh slate.”

Both Vancouver Public Schools and Ridgefield schools hit pause on wrestling until after January 1. Krager said he hasn’t heard of any local schools not complying with the recommendation.

He encouraged everyone to get vaccinated and get tested if you’re worried about a possible COVID exposure.

‘Whatever we can do’

Washougal vs Columbia River in Vancouver, December 17, 2021 (KOIN)

High school hoops hit the hardwood in Vancouver Friday night with Washougal facing Columbia River.

Yuselmi Pena, whose son plays for Columbia River, said the new COVID testing guidelines aren’t ideal, but said if that’s what her son has to do to keep playing ball, it’s worth it.

“Whatever we can do to keep the kiddos safe and playing still,” Pena told KOIN 6 News. “I know our kids were really affected by not being able to play their sports.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report