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How do new state guidelines impact high school sports in Ohio?

Athletes, coaches, and staff must be tested for coronavirus three days before competing.

CLEVELAND — Practice may have started for local schools, but actual competition may be in question if they must follow certain health orders sent down by the Ohio Department of Health. It involves testing athletes, coaches and staff for COVID-19 three days before competing.  

We asked Cuyahoga County Medical Director Dr. Heidi Gullett how possible it would be for schools to follow the guidelines.

She said as of right now, it's probably not possible. 

"We don't have testing for everyone and we certainly don't have testing for people who don't have symptoms who are travelling or who may need it for another reason, such as to attend an athletic event," said Dr. Gullett.

Section 10 that states a negative COVID-19 test is required before travelling to competition and a test must be administered to each athlete and team staff member participating no more than 72 hours before start of competition and results must be in hand prior.  

If a tournament lasts more than four days, another test is required on the fourth day and every two days after for the duration of the tournament.  

That may be something professional sports teams can accomplish, but for school systems it would cost a fortune and there's another hitch.   

"We have very limited testing capabilities we have nationally a reagent shortage, the chemicals used to actually run the pcr test, the test that checks for active viral infection," says Dr. Gullett.

Testing is at a premium and limited even in cases that actually need it. 

"We have trouble getting people tested who are part of cluster investigations sometimes we can't even get those individuals tested and we know they were exposed," Dr. Gullett adds.

The hope is that on Tuesday, Governor DeWine will address this issue in his bi-weekly press conference to give schools and other sports teams a better idea of how they'll need to proceed.