San Jose Sharks to play Thursday despite health officials calling for cancellation due to coronavirus

Despite Santa Clara County (California) health officials calling for sports teams and other large gatherings to cancel events due to the coronavirus, the San Jose Sharks will play Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild, the team said in a statement.

With confirmed coronavirus cases in the county increasing, Santa Clara County public health officials held a news conference Thursday afternoon, urging large-scale events to cancel.

The recommended measures are intended to help curtail exposure to the virus, known as COVID-19, to larger groups of people.

Sharks Sports and Entertainment issued a statement in which it said it was “aware of the recommendations” made by the county, but that Thursday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild “will go on as scheduled.”

The Sharks also said in the statement that they will “continue to actively monitor the situation” and “will be evaluating further upcoming events in the coming days.”

That puts into question future Sharks games — they play in the county located just southeast of San Francisco.

Aside from Thursday’s game against the Wild, the Sharks are also scheduled to host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday and the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday. After that, the Sharks go on a four-game road trip, with their next home contest scheduled for March 19 against the Montreal Canadiens.

“This would include Sharks games, yes,” Santa Clara County Emergency Operations Center director James Williams said in the news conference, via the San Jose Mercury News. “It’s not just a question of Sharks games. There are many organizations that host large gatherings … we have an obligation to make this apply to everyone.

“The bottom line here is people aren’t in spaces where they’re among many, many other people without being able to keep a distance from others.”

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Santa Clara County reached 20 on Thursday, including six new cases.

“Our cases to date indicate to us that the risk of exposure to the virus in our community is increasing,” county health officer Sara Cody said in the news conference.

The United States is assessing how to control the spread of the coronavirus, as the total number of confirmed cases has soared to more than 220.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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