BANDON — Three positive COVID-19 cases were discovered at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort through the resort's stringent testing procedures prior to the U.S. Amateur that officially began Monday.
Bandon Dunes has set up a rigorous testing procedure among other restrictions to ensure the safety of players, employees and the community during the tournament.
For safety purposes, no spectators are allowed and there also aren't volunteers, which were a key part of the past USGA tournaments.
Bandon Dunes employees and anyone else involved in the tournament were tested for COVID-19 on site through a mobile testing trailer provided by BioReference Laboratories, Inc., which is partnering with USGA, with a 48-72-hour test result turn-around. In addition, all players had to be tested with results known prior to arriving at the tournament (two tests for players).
Everyone within the Bandon Dunes "bubble" for the U.S. Amateur is screened daily.
Players are staying at the resort as well as Bandon Beach Motel and Bandon Inn and the Red Lion in Coos Bay.
There are 264 golfers who came to Bandon for the event, all selected through exemptions due to COVID-19 concerns — in normal years, qualifying tournaments are held across the country. Most of the golfers have been here for a few days, practicing on the courses. Each player was allowed to bring up to two guests with them. There are also about 50 USGA officials and a handful of media professionals covering the event, in addition to 200 BDGR staff members inside the bubble.
According to Brian Leon, epidemiologist with Coos Health and Wellness, there has not been a lot of COVID-19 case activity the past week, other than a few clusters officials have been dealing with, including an outbreak at Bay Cities Brokerage last week and the three positive cases discovered during testing at Bandon Dunes over the weekend. Leon said a few golfers didn't pass the pre-travel check so had to cancel. Of the three positive cases discovered among the players already here, one of them was the delayed result of a pre-travel test.
Saturday, Bandon Dunes General Manager Don Crowe sent out an email to employees, letting them know of the situation.
"Essentially, everything has worked as planned and we are grateful the USGA worked closely with us prior to the event to make sure everyone is as safe as possible," Leon said during the weekly press briefing Monday afternoon.
Leon said the three cases are not symptomatic but they are competitors who now won't be able to play in the tournament. All three are self-isolating, as well as those in close contact with them.
"They are staying here and isolating," Leon said. "Since they are already here, they will (adhere to) Oregon Health Authority guidelines."
"The plan included extreme social distancing," Leon added. "In a (normal) tournament, it wouldn't have been unusual to have players share vehicles and hotel rooms, but they've put restrictions on how many (people) players could bring and limited exposure."
Leon said Bandon Dunes also is being extremely careful with other aspects of the tournnament, such as the handling of food and staff exposure to golfers.
The three cases will not be included in Coos County's totals, as each positive or presumptive COVID-19 case is counted in the county where the person resides.
As of Monday, there are 69 confirmed positive cases in Coos County (again, this does not include the three U.S. Amateur golfers), and 22 presumptive cases for a total of 91 cases. There have been 4,910 people who have tested negative in the county and 29 positive or presumptive cases in the last 28 days.
Additionally, there are no current hospitalizations from the virus, thought there were four previous hospitalizations. There have been no fatalities due to COVID-19 in Coos County.
When asked about the outbreak at Bay Cities Brokerage last week, Leon stressed that a presumptive case is still considered a COVID-19 case by health department guidelines. There were two positive cases at Bay Cities Brokerage and five presumptive, with at least three more positive and presumptive added to the initial total since being discovered.
"There continues to be a misunderstanding of the significance of presumptive cases," Leon said. "The way we look at outbreaks are not just individuals at the job site or facility, but we go one further generation past that."
If those people connected to the outbreak by one degree of separation are showing symptoms, they are presumed to have COVID-19.
"Presumptive cases are cases, 100%," Leon said.