Nebraska urges voluntary quarantine of tournament-goers

March 7, 2020 GMT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska officials are asking dozens of people who attended a Special Olympics basketball tournament last week in Fremont to self-quarantine after learning a woman infected with COVID-19 also attended the event.

The woman spent most of the day Feb. 29 at the Fremont Family YMCA, where the tournament was held, according to a news release Saturday from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Health officials have urged the tournament’s players, coaches and team staff members to self-quarantine and monitor themselves until March 14 for symptoms of the virus, including fever, cough and shortness of breath. They’re also asked to self-report to the Nebraska public health online system or call their local health departments for next steps.


About 500 people attended the event from Fremont, Omaha, Lincoln and other areas in eastern Nebraska, officials said. Spectators and other people who were in the YMCA building that same day are at much lower risk than the direct participants of the tournament.

Several institutions in Fremont, including Fremont Public Schools, Archbishop Bergan Catholic Schools, Trinity Lutheran School, Midland University and the YMCA, canceled or postponed all activities effective immediately.

The Douglas County Health Department also issued a news release Saturday warning that the woman had visited a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in north Omaha on Wednesday. Health officials are asking anyone who was at the VFW post on Military Road between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. that day to go to the Douglas County Health Department website and report their possible exposure to the virus.

Officials said the risk of exposure at the VFW post is thought to be low, but asks those who were there to monitor their health until March 18 and call their doctor if they show any symptoms.

The 36-year-old infected Omaha woman who attended the tournament tested positive Friday for COVID-19 after being taken to an Omaha emergency room Thursday. Health officials say she had recently traveled to the United Kingdom and first started showing symptoms of a respiratory illness on Feb. 24. She returned to Nebraska on Feb. 27.