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Guiding Principles In Assessing Contact Risk Of Rugby During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Guiding Principles In Assessing Contact Risk Of Rugby During The COVID-19 Pandemic

The IRFU have published Guiding Principles In Assessing Contact Risk Of Rugby During The COVID-19 Pandemic.

The document is available to view and download here.

It outlines key considerations behind the IRFU’s Return To Rugby Guidelines For Clubs while also outlining measures to manage a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 Case (available below).

Irish Rugby moved into the Contact Stage of the summary roadmap on Monday July 20th, with support guidelines issued in accordance with the principles in this document.

Its author is IRFU Medical Director Rod McLoughlin. Speaking about the document, he said:

“As COVID-19 has so many symptoms which are shared with other, far less serious issues and ailments, it will be important that people know how to sensitively and sensibly deal with a person displaying symptoms.

“Not every person who has a cough or a fever will have COVID-19, so we hope that good judgement combined with the information contained in our document will assist clubs in the weeks and months ahead.”

The following is an excerpt from the IRFU’s Guiding Principles In Assessing Contact Risk Of Rugby During The COVID-19 Pandemic.

Managing a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 Case.

Whilst at a rugby event (training or game):

  1. Ideally the designated COVID-19 Club Compliance Officer, staff member or volunteer should take charge of the management of any persons with COVID-19 symptoms.
  2. Immediately separate any child or other person displaying or complaining of COVID-19 related symptoms from other participants, staff and spectators.
  3. Ask this person to wear a face covering if possible or if available provide them with a facemask.
  4. The designated person managing the situation should try to maintain at least 2 metres from the person with symptoms and should wear a face covering and wash their hands regularly.
  5. Provide the ill person with tissues and hand sanitizer and using appropriate PPE, ensure that all tissues are disposed of in a waste bag that can be tied and marked as separate from other waste.
  6. If they are well enough to go home, arrange for them to be transported home by a household member, as soon as possible and advise them to inform their GP by phone of their symptoms.
  7. If they are too unwell to go home or advice is required, contact 999 or 112 and inform them that the sick person is a COVID-19 suspect.
  8. All persons who have been in close contact with the suspect case will need to be informed to restrict their movement for 14 days or until further information is available (i.e. a negative test result of the suspect case).
  9. The participant should have a medical assessment (GP or Hospital) and they will inform Public Health if needed and if case positive, Public Health will decide appropriate contact tracing.
  10. The COVID-19 Club Compliance Officer cannot diagnose a member with COVID-19. This can only be done by being tested by a qualified medical person.

Following a rugby event (training or game):

  1. The person should refrain from activity and seek medical advice.
  2. The medical practitioner will assess the case and determine the need for PRC Testing.
  3. If the test is negative the person can return to activity once symptom free for 48 hours.
  4. If the person is confirmed as having COVID-19 (PCR test positive), they need to self-isolate and follow medical advice.
  5. Once a confirmed case of COVID-19 occurs, Public Health will be informed and carry out contact tracing.
  6. Public Health will determine who are the close contacts who will have to ‘restrict movement’ for a minimum of 14 days. These people will be actively monitored and guided by Public Health. Public Health will also passively follow up all who are deemed to be casual contacts (ref 3).
  7. Whilst awaiting outcome of a suspected case, a club should stop all members of the same training group / team / pod from attending the club whilst awaiting the outcome of the suspected case. A club may also need to consider ceasing all activities whilst awaiting the outcome of the suspected case.
  8. Management should consider medical advice.

The document can also be read in full as part of the IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines For Clubs at: https://www.irishrugby.ie/running-your-club/return-to-rugby-for-clubs/