GCPH closely monitoring COVID-positive FHS athletes


By London Bishop - lbishop@aimmediamidwest.com



FAIRBORN — Fairborn High School resumed summer basketball conditioning on Tuesday after a few of its athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

Fairborn schools cancelled all basketball practices for nearly three weeks in order to sanitize its facilities and ensure the safety of the students before returning to school.

Greene County Public Health has closely monitored the outbreak among FHS athletes. GCPH reported that they had tested 11 football players, three of whom came back positive for COVID-19. Athletic Director Kevin Alexander also confirmed he knew of at least one football player and one basketball player who had contracted the virus. Contact tracing on the 11 tested players is still ongoing, but GCPH does not anticipate any more positive cases from this cluster of infections.

“As soon as we were notified, we took the proper steps,” said Superintendent Gene Lolli.

The school conducted a deep cleaning of the weight room and other athletic facilities, and notified parents of students who had come in contact with the virus.

Basketball practices were shut down for a total of 19 days, according to Anderson. Over the course of the month of June, outdoor-only football practices were allowed to continue as per guidelines by GCPH.

Lolli said that players who had come down with COVID-19 would require clearance from a doctor in order to play again.

Spread of COVID-19 among the younger generations is part of a concerning trend, according to GCPH Community Epidemiologist Dr. Don Brannen. Brannen’s work has been focused entirely on the COVID-19 pandemic since February.

“The average age of an infected individual has dropped 16 years since the first half of the pandemic in March, from 57 to 41,” Brannen said. “Young kids are going out and socializing more. The good news is, they are getting infected more, but not hospitalized as much.”

According to Brannen, the three biggest risk factors for contracting COVID-19 are direct contact with an infected person, travel, and working in healthcare. However, nearly 25 percent of cases in Greene County can be attributed to community spread, he said, i.e., being in a public space without masks or social distancing.

“Fairborn has a lot of people in closer proximity,” Brannen said. “When we look at odds of infection for the county, Bath Township is significantly higher than the rest of the county, particularly in municipal areas.”

While Brannen said predictions indicate Greene County may again be on a downward trend for infection rates, residents should not be complacent. The number of coronavirus cases in Greene County changes hourly, according to Brannen. By the time this newspaper concluded his interview, the number of cases had gone up from 350 to 356. However, there are simple actions residents may take to stop the spread that go beyond the CDC’s regulations.

“We’re practicing social distancing after being out of quarantine, but we’re also eating healthier and exercising,” Brannen said. “Improving cardiovascular health is a way to keep healthy during the age of coronavirus. We need to take all measures to keep each other safe, this is the way to go.”

By London Bishop

lbishop@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach London Bishop at (937) 502-4532

or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.

Reach London Bishop at (937) 502-4532

or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.