GAA clubs across the country and in Laois have recommenced full contact training in recent weeks.
Challenge matches resumed from Monday and competitive action is set to recommence in Laois at the end of this month.
However, the threat of Coronavirus has not gone away. In recent days, we’ve seen the number of new cases of the infection begin to rise slowly again.
It is a somewhat worrying trend and on Monday, the day GAA challenge games were allowed to resume, a player in a Kilkenny club tested positive.
Regardless, the GAA have circulated guidelines to clubs on to deal with a cases of Coronavirus.
Entitled ‘Dealing with positive Symptomatology’ the document sets out advice ‘on an interim basis and pending general Sport guidance from Government Departments’.
Firstly, it sets out the difference between ‘close and casual’ contacts:
“If a player reports positive symptoms on their Health Questionnaire, or has tested positive for Covid-19 within the 48 hour period following a training session or game, members of the infected player’s team and backroom team (e.g. Manager, Coach, Selectors etc) should be considered close contacts until advised otherwise by Public Health authorities.
“If the incident occurs arising from a game situation between two different teams, a risk assessment should be performed by Public Health in line with current HPSC Guidelines to ascertain whether some or all of the members of the opposing team should be considered close contacts.”
And the document then sets out what steps should be undertaken in either of the above scenarios:
1. Player should not attend training/game/work, should self isolate and contact GP to arrange testing.
2. Player should also inform Covid supervisor of relevant team
3. If the positive symptomatology has arisen and a match has occurred involving that player in the preceding 48 hours, a risk assessment should be performed by Public Health to ascertain whether some or all of the members of the opposing team should be considered close contacts.
4. Player undergoes Covid swab test (usually arranged by Public Health Authorities within 24 hours of referral). If positive symptoms in player are within 48 hours of last collective training session or game, his/her team should:
5. Defer all activity (training and games) until test results are available as all squad will be considered close contacts if the individual tests positive for Covid 19.
6. If the test is negative, training and games can resume while continuing to adhere to all control measures & pre training / games health questionnaire. The player can return to activity once symptom free for 48 hours.
7. If the test is positive – all further activity suspended until public health contact tracers carry out full close contact assessment and testing.
8. Team members (including Manager, Coach, selectors etc) self isolate as per public health advice and until advised otherwise.
Given all of the above, the GAA’s Covid Advisory Group strongly recommends that Clubs allow a minimum 48 hours between activities (training sessions or games) for each individual team.
While finally, the document has some advice for doctors and physios when treating injured players.
It says: “Doctors and physiotherapists wear face mask and gloves pitchside (glove change after each player contact with safe disposal)
“Injury assessments in the dressing room/medical room when necessary – mask to be worn by doctor / physio and player with adherence to all HPSC PPE guidance for close proximity assessments.”