Health officials urge safe celebrating as Ohio University continues in NCAA tournament

Ohio News

ATHENS, Ohio (WCMH) — Health officials and Ohio University leaders are urging Bobcats fans to safely celebrate the basketball team’s success.

The OU Bobcats, a 13-seed in the NCAA tournament, defeated No. 4 Virginia on Saturday night. Shortly thereafter, fans crowded onto Court Street to celebrate the victory.

Dr. James Gaskell, the Athens City-County Health commissioner, said he is concerned about the possibility of the celebration leading to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“It’s really important, at this critical time in the pandemic, that we try to prevent spread,” he said.

Gaskell is urging students to watch the Bobcats while still adhering to the health guidelines that have been in place for much of the past year.

“It’s important to social distance,” he said. “It’s important to mask up. It’s important to not gather in large numbers. Gatherings should be less than 10.”

Patti McSteen, OU’s interim Dean of Students, sent a letter to students on Monday, also urging them to celebrate safely.

“Please remember that we are counting on you to continue doing a good job following public health guidance, including wearing a mask and maintaining a safe physical distance from others, especially as we approach the end of the semester and you begin to prepare to return home for the summer,” McSteen wrote, in part.

If the Bobcats defeat the Creighton Blue Jays on Monday, they would play the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Sweet 16.

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