South Hardin's softball season has come to an abrupt end after one of the players tested positive for COVID-19.
The Tigers played a home game on Wednesday, July 8 and were scheduled to play two more games in the regular season before hosting a regional first round game on Monday, July 13.
The team was informed that it had come into contact with someone who tested positive and members are required to quarantine for 10 days. The player was not at Wednesday’s game but did attend practice earlier this week.
“Disappointing, but there’s more school districts popping up every day and that was a risk of the Fourth of July and just the season in general,” said Dr. Adam Zellmer, superintendent of South Hardin schools. “I think that this is out of an abundance of caution and we need to make sure that we are protecting as many of our own kids and community as well as the teams and communities that we would be participating with. Those are the reasons why the decision was made to cancel the season.”
The athlete who tested positive was not showing symptoms of COVID-19 when she participated in practice earlier this week, but when she did start experiencing symptoms she was tested for COVID-19. Coach Becky Rosonke said there was very limited contact between the player who has COVID-19 and the rest of the team and coaching staff.
As of Thursday morning, Hardin County had reported 84 cases of COVID-19 since March. By 1 p.m. Thursday that number had increased to 87 cases. Of those 87 cases, 12 percent are reported to have been people age 0-17, and another 52 percent are people age 18-40.
Over the last month, a number of Iowa high school teams have had to suspend their sports seasons due to cases of COVID-19. The Iowa Falls-Alden baseball team suspended all practice and play from June 18 until July 1 because a member of its team tested positive. Other activities have also been affected. Last week, South Hardin schools notified the public that a student who participated in its June 27 commencement ceremony had tested positive for COVID-19.
Zellmer said the baseball team was not affected by the softball player's positive test, and it will continue with its postseason as scheduled.
“All of that would be considered secondary contact and if it becomes the duty of the person who is infected through contact tracing to try and reach out to those people that they may have been in close contact with for 15 minutes or more,” said Zellmer. “The difference between teams canceling the seasons and not canceling the season is sometimes there will be members of a team and someone in their family has it so they might quarantine but that doesn’t mean the rest of the team has to. In this case, a member of the team and a member that participated in practices and things with the team has been determined to have it and that makes it direct contact with the members of that team.”
The softball squad was 4-7 and had been playing better toward the end of the season. The team was slated to host a home Class 2A Regional game against Clarion-Goldfield-Dows on Monday.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Coach Rosonke. “We were going to have regionals at home and we were going in the right direction.”