The coronavirus first began affecting the world on Dec. 12, 2019, and by the looks of it, the virus doesn’t look to be slowing down as it continues to mutate into different strains and affect individuals in various ways.

In the spring of 2020, sports came to an abrupt halt, and while they were able to get back on track, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to effect sports.

The coronavirus has reached the Comet boys basketball program as they have entered COVID-19 protocols causing games to be postponed.

“The HCHS boys basketball program is under COVID protocols,” the HCHS athletic department announced this week, just prior to Tuesday and Wednesday’s scheduled games.

It is unclear at this time if a player or players have tested positive for COVID-19, or if they are in quarantine due to exposure of the virus.

Halifax County Public Schools have reported a total of 284 positive tests since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.

Of that, Halifax County High School has reported 82 positive tests since Aug. 30.

Just as all aspects of local schools, members of the athletic department say they are doing the best they can to prevent the spread.

“We try to do mitigations to prevent it from happening, and we do the best we can. We take the necessary precautions to keep the kids safe,” said athletic director Allen Lawter.

However, as many sports fans understand, it is almost impossible to prevent an outbreak between teammates considering they are constantly in the same vicinity and around each other constantly.

“Our nurses help us with most of the precautions to keep the kids safe, but if someone does test positive and we are informed of the test then we ask them to quarantine to prevent the spread as much as possible,” said Lawter.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday shortened the recommended isolation and quarantine time.

In the new guidance, people who test positive for COVID-19 should isolate for five days, and if they are asymptomatic, or showing no symptoms, after that time, they may exit isolation if they wear a mask around others.

Individuals go into quarantine when they have had close contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19.

For people who are either unvaccinated or those who are more than six months out from their second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine — or just two months for the Johnson and Johnson shot — the CDC now says those people should quarantine for five days followed by five days of “strict mask use.”

However, the guidance further states if “quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.”

Vaccines and boosters don’t always prevent an individual from catching COVID-19, but it does help lessen the severity of the virus.

In Halifax County, about 53% of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Anyone above the age of 5 is eligible to be vaccinated.

It is unknown at this time how long the Comet boys basketball teams will be in COVID-19 protocols.

However, Lawter says he hopes to see the boys back in action on Tuesday as they are scheduled to take on Martinsville at Martinsville High School.

Josh Carlton is a sports writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him jcarlton@gazettevirginian.com. 

Josh Carlton is a sports writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him jcarlton@gazettevirginian.com.