Youth sports can resume outdoors in Orange County starting Friday

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Youth football and other high-contact outdoor sports will be permitted to resume in Orange County beginning Friday, bringing the county in line with recent guidelines released by the California Department of Health, officials said Tuesday.

The California Department of Public Health’s revised guidance on youth sports cleared the way for high-contact sports such as football, field hockey, rugby and water polo to resume Friday in counties that are in the purple and red tiers if the county has a COVID-19 case rate at or below 14 per 100,000 people. Orange County met the benchmark Tuesday, said Orange County Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau.

The county’s adjusted case rate is 11.9 per 100,000 people, and the positivity rate is 5.4%, data show. Under previous guidelines, sports in which players are in close contact with one another could be played only if a county reached the far less restrictive orange tier with a positivity rate between 2% and 4.9%.

“This is very big news,” Chau told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. “This will be something for the children to look forward to.”

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