Big Island state events will go on

High school state sporting events on the Big Island will go as scheduled this week, despite the island declaring a state of emergency amid the dengue fever outbreak.

“Everything will proceed as scheduled. There have been some inquiries from the schools,” Hawaii High School Athletic Association spokeswoman Natalie Iwamoto said Tuesday.

An HHSAA press release said it has been monitoring the outbreak since November and has been consulting with the State Department of Health disease outbreak control division.

“They (DOH) have indicated the areas we’re going to be in are low-risk, but we should take proper precaution,” Iwamoto said.

Proactive measures the HHSAA issued to participating schools to protect themselves include avoiding areas with high mosquito activity, keeping covered up with light colored clothing and using repellent on exposed skin.

The Big Island declared a state of emergency on Monday. The Hawaii Department of Health confirmed as of Monday 251 cases of dengue on Big Island, including 227 island residents and 24 visitors.

The OC16 Girls Basketball Championships — Division II tournament begins today at Keaau and Waiakea High Schools. Kapaa High School’s varsity girls basketball team is scheduled to play 7 tonight at Keaau versus Big Island Interschlastic Federation’s Kohala.

Kapaa varsity girls basketball head coach William Aki said he and the team have been preparing since last week.

“We haven’t had this problem before,” he said. “So, just like I said, just taking the precautions and making sure we have medication and stuff.”

The OC16 Swimming and Diving Championships will begin Friday at the Kamehameha Schools – Hawaii campus. Swimmers from Kauai and Kapaa High Schools and Island School will be there.

“We feel we are prepared for whatever we need to take care of if anything happens on the Big Island,” said Kauai High swimming coach Kelsey Tanaka. “We pretty much assured them (parents) that this should be safe, especially since we are taking extra precautions with bug sprays and anything else we need to do beforehand.”

Island School swim coach Shannon Wigent said she was on the Big Island recently for another state swimming competition and everything went fine.

“I think people felt like, people were aware of it,” Wigent said. “People were taking precautions. Obviously, it’s something if the kid is not comfortable with it, if the family is not comfortable with it, then I wouldn’t want anybody to go if they felt like it was too big of a risk. I think we’re just going by the guidance that we’re getting from the state level.”

“There were no issues. I think there were some people who chose not to go just out of concern,” she continued about the past event. “I think people took precautions. They used bug sprays. They were careful with where they were, closing doors, that type of thing. But there was no issues that I was aware of from that event.”


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