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MHSA taking precaution as thousands visit Bozeman for basketball tournament

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Posted at 3:39 PM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 17:42:55-04

BOZEMAN — Thousands of people are headed to Bozeman for the 2020 Montana High School Association (MHSA) state basketball tournament, which starts Thursday and goes into Saturday.

Normally, thousands of people coming to the city is great news, but for this event some people are worried.

Close contact is very common in high school sports, especially basketball. Not just for the players but also for the spectators cramming in to watch.

“Our participants and those fans that come to our event are a priority, and we want to make sure that they are safe,” said Mark Beckman, the executive director for MHSA.

This isn’t normally something to be concerned about but with the possibility of a coronavirus outbreak threatening more and more people, it may raise some worry at this time. But Beckman says they are following all guidelines from the state and local health departments.

“The Montana School Board Association guidelines, the office of public construction guidelines, the NCAA guidelines and of course the CDC. We’re really following the CDC guidelines,” Beckman said.

And MHSA is thinking outside the box in any way they can to eliminate personal contact for players.

“Well what we’re going to do with our players and our coaches, we’re going to ask them to go to the recommended fist bump or elbow bump before games and after games. So, that’s one little thing, but we think it’s an important thing, so does the NCAA,” he explained.

The organization is taking no chances when it comes to spectators feeling sick.

“If someone is feeling ill or sick, has the fever or the cough, we’re asking them to stay home but also we have an option for them because all of our games, as they have been for the last 4 years will be broadcasted live on the NFHS Network,” Beckman said.

MHSA says they are relying on services from the facility to make sure everything stays sanitized and as clean as possible.

In previous years, as many as 6,000 people have attended this event.

Again, officials are stressing to everyone who feels sick to stay home and watch the tournament here.

There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 actually in Montana. Here is the latest update from the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services as of Thursday morning:

  • Reported COVID-19 Cases in Montana: 1*
  • Individuals monitored by public health: 30
  • - Individuals who have completed monitoring process: 26
  • - Individuals who remain under monitoring: 4
  • Persons tested for CoVID-19: 34
  • - Persons with negative results: 34
  • - Persons with positive results: 0

The sole confirmed Montana case is a Lake County woman who is currently in Maryland. Health officials in Maryland say the woman was last in Montana in November 2019, has not returned to the state since that time, and was not in Montana during the 14-day incubation period. Despite the fact that the woman is not in Montana currently and has not been in Montana since she was exposed and tested positive, current CDC guidelines mandate that her case is considered to be a "Montana" case. Click here for more information.

Click here for the latest information about COVID-19 at the CDC website.