‘They should be more transparent’: Coach linked to Wisconsin Dells tournaments speaks out, fears gym is COVID hotspot
WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. – One day after Justagame Fieldhouse in the Wisconsin Dells was confirmed to be linked to multiple positive cases of COVID-19, a coach linked to tournaments there says they worry the situation might be worse than first believed.
The coach, who spoke to News 3 Now under the condition they remain anonymous, says they were cautious about heading back to the gym when it reopened this summer.
“I was a little hesitant and leery,” they said. “Only because of the quantity of people that would be coming through the doors.”
The coach says during volleyball tournaments at Justagame, 300 people can come through the gym at one time. After a mid-July tournament, two dozen coaches got an email from the gyms owner, Kyler Royston, saying that a player who had been in and out of the gym several times had tested positive.
Shortly after, the coach says they tested positive also.
“I believe it was due to my interaction with athletes,” they said. ”
They wipe sweat off their head. They shake hands. They say, ‘Oh nice hit’, then they shake or slap hands with someone. That person then touches their face.”
The coach says they have since spoken with 22 athletes in the Wisconsin Dells alone who have tested positive after being at the fieldhouse for competition. The coach says, they believe this is contributing to a greater spread throughout town.
“(The players) go from one facility to the next. They have dinner. They interact with a server. They interact with a bartender,” the coach said.
While Royston initially declined any knowledge of positive Coronavirus cases linked to the gym, he later declined to comment. Following the documented case in July, JustAgame began requiring spectators to wear a mask. Players, athletes and coaches are exempt from the policy.
JustAgame is not charging for admission this year, which the coach says is a loophole aimed to avoid liability for the spread of COVID-19.
“Not charging admission allows you to not have any legal responsibility for any outcome for that,” they said. “You’re playing at your own risk.”
Columbia County Department of Health and Human Services has not responded to request for comment, but per the Wisconsin DHS website, there are currently four workplaces under investigation for Coronavirus spread.
“I feel they should be more transparent about what is going on,” the coach said. “That multiple athletes who have come through the door. They are not responsible for the transmission of the virus, but they need to be responsible business owners and say ‘This is what happened’.”
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