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Citing Abundance of Caution Ridgway Makes COVID-19 Cancelations Despite No COVID-19 Issues

RIDGWAY, Pa. – Despite no COVID-19 cases and no need to participate in any contact tracing because of any staff or student contact with a COVID-19 case, Ridgway chose to cancel all athletic events Tuesday out of an abundance of caution.

On a post on its Facebook page Tuesday afternoon,  the district said it was canceling all athletic contests with opposing teams for Tuesday, Oct. 20, out of “an abundance of caution” for the health and safety of its students, staff, and community. Ridgway said the fact Elk County was in a “moderate level of community spread” even though Ridgway Borough itself was in a low-level of community spread, was the reason behind the cancelations.

“As of the date (Oct. 20) of this post, RASD (Ridgway Area School District) has no students/staff positive for COVID 19; no in school close contacts between students/staff and individuals positive for COVID 19; and RASD has not been required to participate in contact tracing by the PA Department of Health,” the Facebook post said. “The positive COVID 19 cases in Elk County are increasing. Elk County is in a moderate level of community spread. However, the community of Ridgway is in a low level of community spread.

“The District is taking precautionary mitigation efforts to reduce risks and community/school spread to maintain in-person instruction. Consistent with the RASD’s health and safety plan for athletics and extra-curricular and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our students, staff and community, RASD athletic contests for this evening are being canceled with opposing teams.
Because of our local data, RASD remains open for in-person instruction. RASD coaches and athletes may practice if they choose to do so. Please continue to wear face coverings, keep a social distance of (six feet) or more, wash your hands, avoid gatherings, and if sick, stay home. Together we can keep COVID 19 low in Ridgway.”
Tuesday’s varsity events included Ridgway at Elk County Catholic in girls’ basketball and St. Marys at Ridgway in girls’ volleyball.
There was no indication on the Facebook post if the cancelation of athletic events would continue the rest of this week or into the future. There is a potential District 9 football playoff issue if they do continue, as Ridgway is slated to play at Brookville in the opening round of the District 9 Class 2A playoffs at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23.
According to the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Early Warning Dashboard, there were seven new cases in Elk County from ending Oct. 8 through the week ending Oct. 15. The incident rate in the County was 43.1 per 100,000 residents, the PCR percent positivity rate was 7.9 percent, there were no new hospitalizations in Elk County, there were no new people on ventilators, and the percent of hospital emergency room visits increased by 0.4 percent.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 numbers in Elk County stand at 91 confirmed cases as of Oct. 20 out of a county population of 30,169 or 0.3 percent.  There have been two COVID-19 related deaths in Elk County. Of those 91 confirmed cases, eight or 8.8 percent were linked to long-term care facilities – one among residents and seven among employees. None of the deaths were associated with long-term care facilities in Elk County County.

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