DETERMINATION OF SARS-COV- 2 FREQUENCY IN TURKISH WOMEN’S FIRST FOOTBALL LEAGUE AND ASSESSING OF THE EFFECT OF BUBBLE CONCEPT ON SARS-COV- 2 TRANSMISSION
Taşdemir, Esin Nur
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Aim: The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all sports events, as well as the Turkish Women’s Football League. The 2019-2020 season was first ceasedthan cancelled. The league’s 2020-2021 season was played in Antalya, with the participation of 16 teams in a “bubble” tournament format, between 17 April and 5 May 2021. This study aims to investigate the frequency of SARS-CoV-2 in the Turkish Women’s Football League and the effect of the “bubble” concept on person-to-person transmission. Method: To determine the frequency of SARS-CoV-2 in the Turkish Women’s Football League, the infection history of everyone participating in the tournament was questioned and compared with the prevalence of Covid-19 in the community. Daily symptom checks and routine reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) (48-72 hours before hotel check-in, upon arrival, and the day before matches) screening were performed to determine the potential carriage of SARS-CoV-2. To reduce the risk of person-to-person transmission, all participants were instructed to wear masks, and to follow hygiene, and social distance measures in all common areas. Follow-up of positive cases, contacts, and suspected cases was done by TFF assigned tournament doctors. The onset date and type of symptoms were recorded. The measures aplied in the stadium were according to the TFF’s “Regulation for Measures to be Taken in Competitions Due to the Covid-19 Outbreak.” Results: From 11.03.2020, when the first case was detected in Turkey, to 13.04.2021, the incidence of Covid-19 in Turkey was 4.69%.During same period it was 10.8% in women football players and 5.79% in team managers. In the pre-arrival test, Covid-19 was detected in 5.03% of women football players (19 out of 377). Of the tests performed to footballers during the “Bubble”, Covid-19 has been detected in 0.83% (3/358). Tests of 1 team manager and 2 referees, who were in the “bubble” but not in contact with players, were positive. All 6 detected cases were asymptomatic when detected. 5 cases later showed flu-like symptoms. Hospitalization was not required. It was revealed that 5 out of 6 cases had contact with a the positive case before the tournament. The case detected on the 20th day of the “bubble” remained asymptomatic. It was a recovered person from Covid-19, before the tournament. The source of transmission could not be found. Conclusion: The frequency of Covid-19 in women football players is higher than in the Turkish community. We conclude that is because football is a team sport and a contact sport. PCR scanning 48-72 hours before arrival is an important step in identifying potential SARS-CoV-2 carriers before they enter the “bubble”. No person-toperson covid-19 transmission was detected during the tournament. An athlete whose source of contamination could not be determined had no contact with other positive cases in the bubble. Being beyond the 3 months post infection, generally accepted non infective positiveness, we conclude the player to be a re-infection case. We conclude that the bubble application, which includes testing, enhanced hygiene, social distancing and daily symptom monitoring strategies, minimize the transmission of Covid 19 and ensures a safe environment for sports organizations.
- Bildiri