Covid 19 Response - Updated December 20, News (Niagara North Stars)

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Covid 19 Response - Updated December 20
Submitted By Kathy Ditto on Mon 12 20, 21
As we head into the holiday break we want to continue to do what we can to keep the kids playing the game they love, while also using caution and wisdom to keep everyone as safe as possible. So, we are going to implement a few additional precautions this week (December 20-25), under the guidance of public health and our Covid Response Committee. 

1)      With only 4 remaining games on the organizational calendar we are going to reschedule those to the new year.  
2)      All practices this week will be OPTIONAL for all families. 
3)      The dressing rooms will be closed until further notice. The reason for this is that the room is the only area of ‘close contact’ (like a classroom) that would demand self isolation even with no symptoms  and we want to prevent those contacts as much as possible. Therefore please come half dressed to the rink 15 min before your skate and tie up your skates in the hallway / benches. 
4)     Teams entering Christmas tournaments are asked to reconsider. If you decide to participate please ensure all necessary precautions are taken.  

Omicron has changed the playing field for Covid. Current data shows you have 40-60% risk of getting omicron if you a high risk/close contact with positive person EVEN IF YOU ARE DOUBLE VACCINATED. This decreases to 20-30% if tripled vaccinated. Specifically, high risk contacts include poorly ventilated rooms and no mask (e.g dressing room, household, classroom). Niagara public health has a detailed table of exposure risk https://www.niagararegion.ca/health/covid-19/pdf/risk-assessment-tool.pdf. All new Covid cases are now presumed to be Omicron and the quarantine periods are longer.  

We do not expect a high degree of illness with Omicron in fully vaccinated individuals (the vaccines do work) however we will get positive cases with mild illness or asymptomatic in our vaccinated coaches/players. Many other organizations are already seeing this. Positive cases will shut down teams even if no one gets sick. Our goal is to reduce the number of positive cases in our organization to preserve the remainder of the season.  

Higher risk activities – this includes tournaments, shared dressing rooms, social events/restaurants  
Moderate risk – this includes regular season games  
Lower risk activities – this includes coming to team practices fully dressed and avoiding dressing rooms.

Our Recommendations:
- use 3 ply surgical masks instead of cloth masks- avoid dressing rooms
- all team warm ups need be outside, at home or in a ventilated hallway 

We are doing everything we can to continue to create a safe environment where our kids can stay active and enjoying sport. Thank you so much for all your support in helping keep each other safe.  

Thanks everyone and please keep safe.   
Ben Lockyer - President Niagara North
Dr Matt Greenway 
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