TORONTO — Public health are reporting more COVID-19 cases linked to basketball tournament held in Ontario earlier this month.
To date, 25 COVID-19 cases have been associated with the event, including 16 from Quebec, three in Toronto, and two in Durham Region.
Health officials say are continuing to have difficulty contacting people who attended, including players and spectators.
“We want to rule out a super spreader event and we’re challenged by not knowing who attended and not having contact information,” said Dr. Robert Kyle, Durham Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “We have issued an order to the operator of the facility to give us names and contact information.”
The Durham Region Health Department says as many as 7,000 thousand people who attended the 43rd Annual Jane and Finch Classic basketball tournament, which was held at Playground Global facility in Oshawa from Aug. 3 to 8, could have been exposed to COVID-19.
Kyle says a preliminary investigation by the health unit revealed that the facility and event organizers were not following Step Three guidelines under the provinces roadmap to reopening.
“The facility operator wasn’t adhering to any COVID protocol, so we what we would expect is of course masking indoors, adhering to gathering limits, collecting contact information, passive screening at the door and having a work place safety plan in place, none of that was in place,” Kyle said.
Bylaw officers with the City of Oshawa were at the facility on Tuesday afternoon as the health unit continues its investigation into the outbreak.
Playground Global, which operates facilities across the Greater Toronto Area, has not yet responded to CTV News Toronto’s request for comment.
One of the event’s organizers, Clayton Thomas says he was shocked to learn out of the outbreak weeks later.
Thomas said the tournament didn’t have a vaccine policy, but insisted health and safety protocols were being followed.
“We let all the people in based on the government maximum capacity, we did temperature scans, anyone who attended the event had to sanitize at the front,” he said.
Thomas adds he doesn’t regret hosting the tournament.
“Most of the youth and parents out there knew there was a COVID risk out there and still wanted to attend, which shows how much of a need there is for competitive sport and to keep their well-being going.”
After learning of the outbreak, organizers have been contacting teams – some have already played elsewhere.
”If we knew this happened earlier we would have changed the course of how we did things but we played since that weekend,” said Chris Campbell who coaches a youth a team
Kyle says the facility operator is co-operating and has submitted a workplace safety plan.
Health officials are urging anyone who attended the event to get tested.