Thank you to all of our league partners, coaches, and parents who were able to attend last night’s NCS meeting regarding COVID-19 Investigations in Recreational Sports led by the Fairfax County Health Department. We hope the discussion helped clarify everyone’s roles and responsibilities. As was mentioned, we are all in this together.
- Watch a Recording
- Presentation Slides: Fairfax County Health Department’s COVID 19 Response In Recreational Sports
- Presentation Handout: COVID-19 Response in Recreational Athletic Programs
Attached are the slides and the updated guidance that we hope you share throughout your organization. We want to make sure everyone is aware of the very important process that the Health Department needs to complete in the event of a positive cases amongst one of our teams. Below you will also find the reporting requirements that were discussed in the meeting. NCS and the Park Authority fully support all recommendations provided by the Fairfax County Health Department. Failure to comply with the legal reporting requirement of outbreaks (2 or more linked cases) or any of the Fairfax County Health Department’s guidance/recommendations and information requests during a case or contact investigation could result in losing your permit to use our facilities and fields.
- The Virginia Regulations for Disease Reporting and Control requires outbreaks (two or more linked cases) to be reported directly and immediately to the local health department (see language in the box below). In the regulations, recreational athletic programs fall under the category of day program. Additionally, Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) has requested that individual cases of reportable diseases, like COVID-19, are also reported immediately.
- Fairfax County has an online survey for recreational athletics programs to report COVID cases to FCHD: Fairfax County Community Sports Organization COVID-19 Case Reporting . It includes sections to report information on the sports program, information on the case, rosters for players and coaches, and contact information for the submitter.
- It is up to the individual program to decide who should submit information into the survey.
- Entities (sports leagues) may voluntarily comply with the contact tracing investigation, or our Health Director can ask the State Health Commissioner to issue an order for compliance. Va. Code § 32.1-39. Violation of the Commissioner’s order is a Class 1 misdemeanor; the remedies include injunctive relief and a civil penalty. Va. Code § 32.1-27.
· FCHD’s Containment Branch, which investigates COVID-19 cases and contacts, receives and reviews all submissions to the survey. A case interviewer will reach out to the case (or parent/guardian of the case) to complete a case investigation, identify close contacts, and provide public health guidance for isolation. The Containment Branch will follow-up with the submitter to notify them when the investigation is completed, and provide any next steps for the program (e.g., pausing activities for 14 days).
- After your program learns of the case(s), all activities must be paused, including practices and internal meetings, to allow FCHD time to complete the case investigation.
- All FCHD operations must meet the privacy standards in HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal law requiring the protection of personal health information. The Community Sports Organization COVID-19 Case Reporting survey is HIPAA-compliant, and FCHD will follow procedures during the case and outbreak investigation to maintain privacy of the personal health information.
- Virginia Code § 32.1-39 and 12 Virginia Administrative Code § 5-90-100 give the Health Department the legal authority and responsibility to investigate positive COVID cases and to perform contact tracing. Reports and disclosures to the Health Department are immune from civil liability or criminal penalty. Va. Code § 32.1-38.
Thank you for your support and continued partnership. We are much stronger fighting this pandemic together and share a goal to have recreational sports played in the safest environment we can provide for everyone. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions.