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Winter sports will start on time, MHSAA says

Face coverings required for most activities; specific guidelines to be posted next week

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan high school winter sports will start on time in November.

Face coverings are required for athletes practicing and competing in basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling, the Michigan High School Athletic Association said Friday.

They are not required for athletes in bowling, gymnastics, skiing and swimming unless the players are on the sideline and not actively participating.

Sport-specific guidelines will be posted next week on the MHSAA website at https://www.mhsaa.com/sports.

“But let’s be clear: Our statewide COVID-19 numbers have to get better,” said executive director Mark Uyl. “In order for our schools to continue playing sports this winter, and in order for fans to be there to cheer them on, we must continue working to slow down this virus.”

Host sites must strictly enforce spectator capacity limits on a game-by-game basis.

The state health department reported 1,826 new confirmed coronavirus cases Friday and 18 deaths.

“People have started to develop some pandemic fatigue. People are letting their guards down,” said Dr. Adnan Munkarah, chief clinical officer at Henry Ford Health System, adding that masks are critical.

He said Henry Ford had nearly 100 COVID-19 patients Friday at its hospitals in southeastern Michigan. It had 32 on Sept. 21 but hundreds more earlier in the pandemic.

While the number of infections has been rising, “we have not seen a similar commensurate increase in the number of admissions,” Munkarah said, noting that younger people have been getting infected.

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