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COVID-19 outbreak tied to a June golf tournament in Meridian

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Posted at 4:39 PM, Jul 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-11 18:42:15-04

This article was originally published by Audrey Dutton of the Idaho Statesman.

A golf tournament in June at The Club at SpurWing has been linked to several cases of COVID-19, according to local health officials.

The Wing Ding golf tournament ran from Wednesday, June 24, to Saturday, June 27, at the private club. The Central District Health department that investigates outbreaks of the coronavirus in Ada County was aware of “about 12 positive cases,” spokesperson Christine Myron told the Idaho Statesman by email Friday.

“Given the time frame of the golf tournament and where we are today, people who may have been exposed at the tournament would be sick at this time,” Myron said. “It’s not the first we’ve heard people who have tested positive referring to having been at a golf tournament within the state, but this sounds as if it’s the first identified cluster associated with a golf tournament here in Ada County.”

A total of 144 people attended the Wing Ding tournament, according to Todd Bindner, head golf pro at SpurWing.

Most of the players were in their 40s and 50s. Older members generally opted out of the tournament, Bindner said.

“I was surprised” by the outbreak that followed the tournament, he said.

SpurWing didn’t have any known or suspected cases of COVID-19 among staff before the tournament, Bindner said. Since the event, four of the 20 golf shop employees have tested positive, and a few servers have as well.

Masks, food and social distancing
The private golf course did not have indoor events as part of the four-day competition. Participants did go inside the golf shop, using two doors to enter and exit. The club asked people to wear masks when they were inside, and all employees were required to wear masks and gloves inside, Bindner said.

Out on the golf course, most of the SpurWing staff wore gloves but weren’t required to wear masks, Bindner said.

SpurWing encouraged players to observe the 6-foot rule for social distancing and to share golf carts only with their close contacts, which generally meant they could ride with their partners, he said.

Food was served as to-go box lunches, Bindner said.

“We never had any real big sit-down dinners,” he said. “We figured if we stayed away from that, we’d be safe. ... We’re all, like, how did that happen?”

The club also didn’t have a scoreboard, to keep people from gathering in one place, Bindner said. “We did have scorecards that were passed between everyone,” he said.

Bindner said he’s not aware of anyone from the tournament being hospitalized.

“Most people I know that did have it, (they said it) felt like it was flu symptoms,” he said. “Headache, fever, body aches, tired, then seemed to recover fine.”