Minister: Saliva Test Required For Contact Sports

February 28, 2021 | 2 Comments

“Contact sports bring a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission, therefore the Government requires adults wishing to participate in Stage 3 and 4 sports [contact sports training and competitive play] to undertake a saliva COVID-19 test and repeat every 28 – 30 days,” Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport Dr. Ernest Peets said.

Minister Ernest Peets Bermuda Feb 28 2021

A Government spokesperson said, “As Bermuda prepares to return to competitive local sports, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, Dr. the Hon. Ernest Peets, JP, visited one of the COVID-19 sports testing centers to assess the progress.

“The public will be aware that the Ministry created the Return to Play Guidance for Sports, which is a step by step document that outlines the process for the resumption of sports in Bermuda.

“One of the requirements for the resumption of contact sports is for athletes to take a saliva test. This is required to participate in Stage 3 and Stage 4 activities of the Return to Play Guidance.

“Contact sports are currently in Stage 3 and are being progressed to Stage 4 on the basis of test take-up.

“One sport with 95% of members tested has been moved to Stage 4. Only athletes who confirm that they have a negative test result are able to participate in Stage 3 or 4 activities. This should be monitored by the clubs alongside their regular COVID-19 checks.”

Minister Peets said, “Contact sports bring a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission, therefore the Government requires adults wishing to participate in Stage 3 and 4 sports [contact sports training and competitive play] to undertake a saliva COVID-19 test and repeat every 28 – 30 days.

“I want to emphasis that for health and safety reasons if an athlete does not comply with the testing requirements, then participation in the competitive sports will not be possible.”

The Minister continued, “Additionally young persons and children aged 11 to 17 who participate in contact sports are strongly recommended to be tested. Individual clubs and NSGBs may determine whether to require it. Children aged 10 and younger can be encouraged to test also.”

“As someone who engages in competitive sports, I also participated in the required testing. The saliva test is non-invasive and easy to self-administer. There are no health risks associated with the test, and it is provided free of charge by the Government of Bermuda.

“Athletes must register to take the test so their kit can be prepared and they can receive their test results. A video link and written instructions will be provided to demonstrate how to use kit.

“Once registered, communication on how and when each sport will test will be provided through collaboration between the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation, the National Sports Governing Bodies and clubs/teams.

“However, sufficient registration is required in order to book a testing date. So athletes are encouraged to register at the earliest opportunity so a test date can be set up.”

Minister Peets concluded, “The Ministry wishes to assure the public that the test results are fully confidential. Only the patient, the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit and Ministry of Health authorized officers will know the results. In the event of a positive test result, the patient’s physician will also be informed.

“If a sample is positive, the patient’s physician or the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit will be in touch with the patient to communicate the result and provide guidance on isolation, management and testing.

“Again, in order for us to successfully resume contact sports in Bermuda, the Ministry encourages all athletes and the parents or guardians of young athletes to be familiar with the Return to Sport Guidance and the testing recommendations and requirements.”

The Minister ended by saying, “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of Bermudian life – sporting, cultural and entertainment events have been likewise severely impacted.

“Bermuda has come a very long way in controlling COVID-19 to save lives and minimize the impact to our economy and quality of life. We are grateful to the public and the sporting sector for their patience, collaboration and willingness to do the right thing for sport and for the country.”

“All Guidance can be found at https://www.gov.bm/guidance-governing-sporting-bodies-affiliating-clubs-teams-and-sporting-events.”

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Comments (2)

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  1. sage says:

    Are saliva tests available to everyone requiring a test, or exclusively sports competitors? If so why not?

  2. pink buoy says:

    From February 2, 2021, Health Minister Wilson stated (taken from gov.bm):

    “In closing, I also have an update regarding saliva testing…

    The World Health Organization currently does not recommend the use of saliva as the sole specimen type for routine clinical diagnostics. However, saliva may be used in specific cases where collecting nasopharyngeal swabs can be problematic such as mass screening or, especially, when elderly persons with dementia or young children may be involved. As such, Bermuda has implemented saliva screening programme in which any person testing as a “presumed positive” on saliva must also have a nasopharyngeal sample tested for diagnostic confirmation.

    Saliva screening of select populations began on 28 September 2020. These populations include: long term care facility staff and residents; BHB staff and patients; select essential service workers; other vulnerable populations; and, other select groups, such as hospitality workers. “

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