HHSAA Monitoring Big Island Dengue Fever Outbreak as State Tournaments Approach
Officials with the Hawaiʻi High School Athletic Association say they are actively monitoring the dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi as several state championships are scheduled to take place on the island during the winter and spring sports seasons.
The Division II girls basketball tournament is slated to run from Wednesday, Feb. 10 to Saturday, Feb. 13 at Kea’au and Waiākea High Schools, with swimming and diving championships running concurrently from Feb. 12 to 13 at Kamehameha Schools-Hawai’i.
Department of Health public health educator and information specialist Jonathan Hilts stated that the areas the tournaments are taking place has “very low risk,” however precautions should be taken. The statement was made during last month’s HHSAA executive board meeting.
“Despite the emergency declaration, the Department of Health has confirmed that Hilo remains a low risk area, and all state tournaments will proceed as scheduled,” said HHSAA executive director Chris Chun in a press release statement.
HHSAA officials say that, “although the risk of contracting dengue remains unlikely, as confirmed by the continued low number of cases, the HHSAA is issuing proactive measures to participating schools to protect themselves from potential risk, which include: avoiding areas with high mosquito activity, such as closed beach parks (Ho’okena Beach Park, Milolii Beach Park); keeping covered up with light colored clothing; and using repellent on exposed skin.
Representatives say the HHSAA has been actively monitoring the Hawai’i Island Dengue fever outbreak since its peak in November 2015, and has been consulting directly with the State Department of Health disease outbreak control division.
As stated by Hawai’i County Civil Defense, the declaration is largely regarding funding for equipment and personnel as well as suspend a county law relating to the acceptance of tires at the local landfill.