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Coronavirus Contact Tracing Leads To Several Montgomery County Youth Sports Teams Quarantined

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A number of Montgomery County sports teams have been quarantined because of COVID-19. The potential outbreaks in youth sports leagues were identified through contact tracing.

Montgomery County health officials say sports teams are currently quarantined because some players tested positive for the coronavirus, including baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, basketball and field hockey. It's unclear at this point how many athletes or families are impacted.

Health officials say COVID-19 has been spreading in sports teams. The issue is with players who are asymptomatic during the game and then develop symptoms later.

"Because social distancing couldn't be maintained, entire teams have now been quarantined for 14 days," Montgomery County Commissioners Chairwoman Dr. Valerie Arkoosh said.

Controlling the spread of COVID-19 depends on the kind of contact tracing happening now in Montgomery County.

Here's how it works. People who test positive are asked to provide a list of people they've been around. Then, tracers call those people to tell them they're potentially infected, to get tested and to stay away from other people.

"We're trying to catch the people early enough so that they don't become a super spreader or spreader within their community or their family," Mary Urtecho-Garcia, a contact tracer, said.

It all depends on getting test results quickly, but there are delays. Sometimes people are waiting for weeks, an issue that was addressed Wednesday at a state legislative committee meeting.

"If we can't get test results in a timely manner, it's really difficult for contact tracing to be beneficial," Michel Masters, division director for communicable disease and control at the Montgomery County Office of Public Health, said.

Once there's a positive test, the calling begins.

There have been over 1,000 cases per day in Pennsylvania. That means thousands of calls have to be made depending on how many contacts each individual had. It's been slow to get rolling in Pennsylvania.

"It's absolutely essential if we're going to be able to safely reopen parts of our economy, get kids back to school," Rep. Dan Frankel, of Allegheny County, said.

With the outbreak in the youth sports teams in Montgomery County, health officials say they're monitoring the situation carefully and if the numbers increase, they might have to put a hold on the activities.

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