The fallout from the latest COVID-19 outbreak in Port Stephens has impacted the area's sporting bodies and weekend competition rounds.
A number of sporting clubs on the Tomaree Peninsula and the wider Port Stephens have made the decision to suspend training and weekend matches for the time being. These include:
Nelson Bay Junior Marlins AFL Club
The junior AFL club will suspend all training and games for at least two weeks following a child, aged 10, testing positive for COVID-19 after playing an AFL game with the under-9 Nelson Bay Blue Marlins against Newcastle City Sky Blues at Don Waring Oval, Nelson Bay on Sunday, July 19.
The child's teammates are considered close contacts and have been asked to self isolate at home for a period of 14 days.
The opposing team, and others present at the oval on the day, are asked to be on the lookout for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested immediately should any respiratory symptoms or fever occur.
"As a club we are shocked to learn of [Thursday's] positive case, and we are devastated for the family involved, and will do everything we can to support the family," junior Marlins president Josh Horvath said on the club's Facebook page.
"We have been working with Hunter New England Health and AFL Hunter Central Coast... and will continue to work with them.
"We urge all players and families to please stay away from the club. There will be no training or games for the next two weeks. I would just like to thank all members for your understanding and cooperation."
Nelson Bay Marlins AFL Club (senior)
The Bay's senior AFL club on Friday advised the men's and women's teams would not play in the Hunter and Central Coast competition this weekend (July 25-26). It follows the cancellation of its training sessions on Thursday, July 23.
"The committee has been in talks all week regarding the current COVID-19 outbreak in the Port Stephens region and had determined that we could not accept the risk to our members and broader community of games going ahead," the club stated on its Facebook page on Friday afternoon.
"As such we welcome the league's decision this afternoon to postpone all games within the Port Stephens area this weekend.
"Additionally we wish to advise members that the club rooms are currently closed for deep cleaning and the car park is being used for overflow for the pop up testing clinic next door at Elizabeth Warring.
"We again remind members to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and immediately self isolate and get tested at the first sign of even the mildest symptoms."
Nelson Bay Junior Rugby League
Junior league president Brooke Hill said that while the club was yet to have any diagnosed COVID-19 cases, "we do not want to take the risk for our members, the game, or our community by continuing to train or play until we have some concrete answers on local virus transmission rates and our potential exposures".
"As a consequence, NBJRL will withdraw from participating in the round one competition matches on Saturday, July 25, and that all training is currently suspended. We have gone to great lengths, more than any others, to keep high standards in sticking to our COVID Safety Plan," she said.
"I am extremely grateful to those special people among the committee, coaches, managers and volunteers who have helped and supported us in every step of this process. This has been a really difficult decision to make when all of our kids are so keen to return to the footy field after many months."
Nelson Bay Hockey
Nelson Bay Hockey has determined that its safest course of action is to suspend all games scheduled for this weekend, July 25-26.
"Our club executive will meet again next week when new information is available, and make a decision about the following week's games. We are of course disappointed to have to stop again after such a late start, but we are determined to do everything we must in order to protect the health and safety of all our players, families, volunteers and organisers," a spokesperson said.
Nelson Bay Junior Rugby Union (Gropers)
The junior Gropers club has postponed the start of its competition for 14 days. Hunter Junior Rugby Union clubs were due to play their first game of the season on Saturday, July 25.
"This decision wasn't taken lightly. Regardless of the scale of this outbreak, it's the potential that forms the risk to our players, our supporters, our volunteers, and our community," a Nelson Bay Junior Rugby Union spokesperson said.
Port Stephens Netball Association (Raymond Terrace)
After discussions with Netball NSW, Port Stephens Netball Association's executive and club COVID-19 coordinators regarding the COVID-19 situation on the Tomaree Peninsula, the club has decided to classify the July 25 round of games as a bye for all teams.
"This means that there will be no games played this weekend. This round will also not be replayed at a later date," Jodi Cassar, Port Stephens Netball Association's COVID-19 coordinator, stated on the association's Facebook page on Friday morning.
"We appreciate that some of our members may be disappointed about this notice, but we must ensure that we provide the safest possible playing environment for all our members."
Nelson Bay Netball Association
Nelson Bay Netball Association has suspended training and games for the next two weeks. The committee said the proactive move would allow it to "gather information and advice from Netball NSW and NSW Health and to examine the health climate in our immediate area".
The suspension period will stretch from July 24 to August 7 inclusive.
"It is important that we work together as a community to ensure everyone remains safe and healthy. We feel this decision may help to ensure that we can return to the courts sooner rather than later. NBNA thank you for your ongoing support," the committee stated through the association's Facebook page.
Overnight on Thursday, Tilligerry Football Club's executive committee decided that due to the large number of members that interact in Nelson Bay for work, school and socialising, and in light of the new COVID-19 cases, that it would cancel all games - home and away - that were due to the played this weekend, July 25-26, to "eliminate any risk of further outbreaks in our community and the wider community".
"This decision was not take lightly and is believed to be the best possible option for players, coaches, managers, committee members and referees, and also the wider community of Newcastle and the Hunter," Tilligerry FC stated on its Facebook page.
"The [COVID-19] testing levels are in the thousands at the moment and we are hoping if it is contained and there are no further cases arising over the next week then we can resume playing the following weekend and for the rest of the season. We hope everyone understands and supports this decision."
Him Do Taekwondo Academy
Ronald Bergan, master of the Salamander Bay-based academy, made the decision on Thursday to "shut the doors again" to the studio until further notice due to the outbreak of COVID-19 that has "hit out beautiful part of the world".
"Stay well and I will update when the doors open again," Master Bergan stated on the academy's Facebook page.
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