Correction: This story has been corrected to make it clear that the gender of the coach was not revealed and to correct the timing of the exposure.
A Montgomery County youth sports coach had contact with players and attended a 4th of July party while infected with COVID-19, according to county commissioner Dr. Valerie Arkoosh.
Dr. Arkoosh spoke about the person, whose gender or identity was not revealed, while discussing contact tracing during a COVID-19 news conference Wednesday afternoon.
The county's contact tracing team had shared the story of "a youth sports league coach, who tested positive for COVID-19, and was coaching during the infectious period, coached several games," Arkoosh said. "And this individual acknowledged that they did not always maintain social distance and did not always wear a mask."
“So because of that, working with the president of the league, the Office of Public Health recommended that 12 players and all three coaches that were involved be quarantined for a 14-day period,” Dr. Arkoosh said.
Montgomery County officials learned through contact tracing that the person also attended a 4th of July party during the infectious period.
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“However, they were unwilling to give us the names of the people that were also at that party,” Dr. Arkoosh said. “And so because of that, our contact tracing team was not able to notify these individuals that they had direct contact to somebody who was positive for COVID-19.”
Dr. Arkoosh said her office began to receive several calls from people who had attended the party after rumors spread.
“But because we weren’t given the direct information, our contact tracing team couldn’t confirm one way or another,” she said.
County officials also learned that parents of children who should’ve been in quarantine took their kids to play in other sports leagues.
"You have somebody who’s a positive individual. They go to a party. They don’t share with our team who was at that party. So we have no way to contact those people and tell them to quarantine," she said. "Or we have people that are just simply defying the orders to quarantine even though they know with certainty that they were directly exposed to the coronavirus."
Dr. Arkoosh then spoke about a second incident in which a large graduation party with more than 100 people took place in the county in late June. Attendees were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing; some were also sharing drinks as well as vape pens, according to Dr. Arkoosh.
“We believe there are probably other cases from that party but they have not admitted to being at the party,” she said. “We also believe that many people were potentially exposed at that party, but we have not been able to notify them because no one has been willing to share the names with us.”
Dr. Arkoosh said the confirmed cases led to the virus spreading to first responders, pool lifeguards and other groups who have regular contact with the public. She also cited both stories as examples of how outbreaks can form.
“Non-cooperation with contact tracers can result in outbreaks that are substantial and can infect many, many, many people in our community,” she said. “So again I say, we are all in this together. And if you test positive, please cooperate with contact tracing.”
Montgomery County reported 59 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday for a total of 8,861 cases.