14 people who tested positive for COVID-19 have been linked to an outbreak that originated at Jesse Oaks Food & Drink in Gages Lake, health officials said. | Photo: Google Street View.

Health officials are warning of a ‘potentially large outbreak’ after a spike in COVID-19 cases linked to volleyball leagues at bar and restaurants in Lake County.

The Lake County Health Department said they are investigating several coronavirus cases linked to adult volleyball leagues.

14 people who played or watched volleyball at Jesse Oaks Food & Drink in Gages Lake in September have tested positive for the virus.

Multiple people among those cases reported to officials that they also played volleyball at other bar and restaurant locations.

“We are currently working diligently to speak with infected individuals and notify close contacts who have been identified,” said Dr. Sana Ahmed, Medical Epidemiologist at the Lake County Health Department.

“However, nearly 200 volleyball players and spectators may have been exposed. This could potentially be a large outbreak, and we need the public’s help to contain the spread of this virus,” Ahmed said.

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Those who played volleyball or visited Jesse Oaks in September are asked to quarantine at home for 14 days from their last game.

“If you are still within your quarantine period, get a molecular (PCR) COVID-19 test, at least 5 days after your last game. Get tested sooner if symptoms develop,” the health department said in a statement.

The health department said that during quarantine, a person should stay home, limit their contact with others in their home, avoid having any visitors, and wear a face-covering if they must leave to seek medical attention.

“A negative test result does not shorten the 14-day quarantine period, since the virus may take up to 14 days to be detectable by a COVID-19 test,” the health department added.

Jesse Oaks has suspended all volleyball activities for 14 days and may only resume once in compliance with state guidelines after that time.

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“Under the current phase of the State’s plan, volleyball is considered a medium risk sport, and no competitive matches between teams are permitted,” said Larry Mackey, Director of Environmental Health at the Lake County Health Department.

“Failing to abide by these guidelines puts the public’s health at risk, prolongs the pandemic, and has the potential to force additional restrictions on local businesses that are working so hard to protect their employees and customers,” Mackey said.

“We continue to address any complaints of facilities not following these guidelines and are working closely with business owners to help them operate safely. When businesses don’t cooperate, however, we have no choice but to pursue enforcement measures,” he added.

As of Monday, 16,960 Lake County residents have tested positive for the disease and 464 people have died in the county.

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