PALO CEDRO, Calif. - Shasta County saw a 40% increase in COVID-19 case rates between last week and this week, causing public health to tighten some protocols.
This means all youth football players including the high school level will start getting tested for COVID-19 weekly.
They plan to follow the same schedule of weekly testing the girl's volleyball team has been doing every Tuesday.
The system they are using has a 48-hour test result turnaround.
If one player tests positives, it does not necessarily mean the whole team would have to quarantine.
"All the lineman aren't practicing together, all the backs aren't practicing together, all the receivers aren't practicing together, so if someone comes back positive and we have to quarantine some athletes, we don't lose all our lineman or receivers, so we can still play," said Shawn Anstine, Athletic Administrator at Foothill High School.
This split practice schedule has helped keep athletes in contact with a consistent group, but testing a whole team will be challenging at first.
“We are now going to be testing 130 boys, so it will take a couple hours especially the first time,” said Anstine. “It’s just going to be another piece we have to go with to let the kids play football.”
Anstine said they can always pull up kids from the lower levels to cover for varsity players if needed, but he hopes test results will be negative as they get ready for the final stretch of this already shortened season.
Some football players at Foothill High School tell Action News Now that they are frustrated to learn about this new protocol.
"I think it's kind of dumb because all of us are fine and clean and we're young so our lungs are fine,” said Mason Martina, receiver and linebacker for the Foothill High School football team. “It's kind of respectable though making sure they're in check. You just got to play with the rules."
They do not have to fear getting their season shut down just yet.
“We are at seven and we have to be under 14,” said Kerri Schuette from Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency. “At this time, youth sports are not shutting down.”
Schuette added that it is a good time to remember to practice safety protocols like wearing a mask, social distancing and if you are 16 or older, getting vaccinated.
Since Foothill High School's COVID-19 testing is on Tuesdays, the football team missed the mark to get tested before this week's games.