CLAYTON, Mo. (KMOV.com) — St. Louis County is averaging about 20 new COVID-19 cases among children ages 10-19 per day, according to County Executive Dr. Sam Page.
The county executive called the rising cases among children a scary trend and the reason why he’s putting restrictions back in place for youth sports.
“This is going in the wrong direction,” Page said Thursday afternoon. “This is a trend that’s dangerous in our country.”
Page cited a few examples of teenage athletes testing positive which results in their entire teams having to quarantine as they await for results. Many local high schools have began having team practices in the summer. Without naming the specific school, Page said one area high school has had to quarantine 15 student athletes as they await coronavirus testing results. Another high school basketball player tested positive and the rest of his team is awaiting their test results.
“I know that there are many families, many teams have worked very hard to follow the guidelines and all the recommended precautions and these changes will deeply affect them and for that I am truly sorry,” said Page.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 700 children in St. Louis County have tested positive for COVID-19. That accounts for roughly 8% of positive tests in the county.
As for the restrictions, youth sport teams will only be able to practice and play against their own team. No game can be played against another team, and no spectators can watch any games. Groups will be limited to no more than 10.
Page said the restrictions are being put back in place not because of the athletes but because youth sports are a place where people gather in larger groups to watch games.
“It’s disappointing, but I certainly understand the new guidelines to keep our community, our friends, and family safe,” said Ted Calcaterra whose son plays on a local little league baseball team.
Calcaterra also coaches two little league baseball teams. He plans to get through this weekend and then work with the other coaches to come up with a plan moving forward.
“I think we just have to wait and see. If St. Louis County is shut down and we are just gonna have to follow the rules and wait and see until it’s safe to get back out there,” said Calcaterra.
Page said he’s putting these restrictions in place now so as not to threaten any potential plans for students returning to classrooms this fall.
The county executive also believes if people age 9 and older would follow mask mandates, restrictions can be lifted sooner rather than later.
“If we could get compliance with masks…that will help turn things around,” Page said.