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UVA Health continues to monitor the impact from football game crowds

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:52 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Health experts with the University of Virginia want everyone to be cautious in public right now. The coronavirus, especially the delta variant, is flying around the Charlottesville area.

But, these experts say they aren’t linking any increase to last week’s football game just yet. Though, around central Virginia, we are in a period of high transmission right now.

“Today almost 60 patients that are hospitalized with COVID, so that, that is something that we’re seeing right now,” UVA Health Epidemiologist Dr. Costi Sifri said.

They say they haven’t seen a direct link to this from the UVA football game last week, but they are constantly monitoring it.

“If there was a large cluster of cases at you know, a super spreading event that occurred at Scott Stadium, then we would see it pretty quickly,” Sifri stated. “Because, you know COVID has...an average time from exposure to infection of about four or five days.”

There are now conversations about a mask mandate for future games, to continue to limit the spread at Scott Stadium. Though, the problem would be regulating this for all of the attendees.

“The reality is that’s a large group of people to have a requirement for with a mask mandate,” Sifri said. “It is certainly an option and something that’s on the table that will require a considerable, considerable effort. So, I think that that’s what the university is looking at.”

There were more than 40,000 people at last week’s game. A group this size is what draws questions about masking at outside events.

UVA Health says previous strains of COVID-19 were rarely transmitted outside. But because of the unknown of the delta variant, they say they do not have all of the answers right now for the current risks outdoors.

“If you want to, you know, protect yourself in the best possible fashion, wearing a mask, we know works,” UVA Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Reid Adams said. “And doing so in whatever setting you are where you’re around people, will provide you the best protection that we have available, other than vaccination.”

UVA Health says to analyze situations based on your own, personal risk. So, if you live with people who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised, it’s best to mask up when you are outside with others.

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