State basketball tournament shut down
March 12, 2020
The Northern Wyoming News has received a report from Worland High School Activities Director Mark Mortimer that the 3A/4A State Basketball Championships have been cancelled.
The Wyoming State Speech Meet has also been cancelled.
Per the Wyoming High School Activities Association website, "The 3A/4A State Basketball Tournament and State Speech have been cancelled. The [Natrona County] Health Department has made the decision" based on COVID-19 concerns.
The first round of games were played before the decision was made and announced, one 3A Girls game with Lyman defeating Newcastle 46-34; and one 4A girls game with Cheyenne Central defeating Green River 62-37.
During a press conference, Executive Director of the Casper Natrona County Health Department Anna Kinder said the decision was proactive and "precautious and making sure we don't transmit the virus amongst people. We want to keep it small. We want to contain it."
She did note that Natrona County did not have any confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a later press conference, Natrona County infectious disease doctor Mark Dowell, the county health officer, said it was a "no-brainer" to cancel the tournament due to COVID-19. "My job is to protect the state, its citizens." He said when the NBA and NHL have suspended season and NCAA conferences are cancelling tournaments it made no sense to continue with the tournament. He said the state had its first case reported Wednesday night (in Sheridan County). "We really don't have an idea of what we have in the state. I'd rather be proactive than reactive," he said. "I wouldn't sleep at night if I put hundreds and hundreds or potential thousands of people at risk."
Dowell added that the United States has done a poor job in developing widespread testing. "Our state lab has 2,700 test kits, period," he said
We will have more on this as this story develops.