HHSAA Monitoring Dengue Outbreak
All Hawai’i High School Athletic Association state tournaments on the Big Island will go on as planned, despite Monday’s emergency proclamation on the dengue fever outbreak by Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi.
In a statement released hours after the declaration, HHSAA Executive Director Christopher Chun said that this week’s OC16/HHSAA Division II Girls Basketball Championship will continue as planned from Wednesday through Sunday at several East Hawai’i gymnasiums. Additionally, this week’s OC16/HHSAA Swimming and Diving Championships, also held on the Big Island at Kamehameha-Hawai’i, will take place on Friday and Saturday.
“Despite the emergency declaration, the Department of Health has confirmed that Hilo remains a low risk area, and all state tournaments will proceed as scheduled,” said Chun.
In the weeks and months leading up to this week’s events, the HHSAA has kept in close contact with the Department of Health on the dengue fever situation. In an executive board meeting held last month, DOH public health educator and information specialist Jonathan Hilts explained that the Kea’au and Hilo areas are low risk places in the outbreak, as compared to several spots in West Hawai’i.
A spokesperson with the HHSAA told Big Island Now that several parents of Oahu student-athletes have called to voice their concerns about the tournaments remaining on the Big Island. All participating schools, however, have stated that they will participate in the tournaments as planned.
Last November, four Oahu schools pulled out of the Konawaena Girls Basketball Tournament, held at the school’s campus in Kealakekua. Only Lahainaluna High School on Maui flew down for what ended up being a four-team tournament. Additionally, five Oahu teams declined to participate in the 16-team Kea’au/Waiakea Boys Basketball Tournament in early December because of the dengue concerns, and Kamehameha-Kapalama chose not to show up for the Cliff and Kathie Dias St. Joseph Cardinal Classic Basketball Tournament.
During that same time frame, however, several schools from Oahu participated in soccer tournaments that were held in Kealakekua and Waimea.