Rangers Opening Series Against Mariners To Be Relocated Because of COVID-19

Mariners and Rangers say they are working with MLB to find alternatives for the games

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The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners are looking for a venue for their season-opening series after Washington's governor announced a ban Wednesday on all large gatherings in the counties hit hard by the new coronavirus.

Gov. Jay Inslee said social gatherings of 250 or more people, including sporting events, are banned through at least the end of March because of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Seattle area. Officials said gatherings of under 250 could also be barred unless specific measures are followed.

That decision impacts the Mariners' first seven games of the Major League Baseball season against the Texas Rangers, which were scheduled for March 26-29.

The ban also impacts the Washington Sounders' March 21 home game against FC Dallas. Tickets to the match will grant fans admission to the rescheduled game.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States has topped 1,000 overnight as efforts to contain the disease continue. At least 31 people have died.

In written statements, both the Mariners and Rangers said they are working with MLB to find alternatives for the games scheduled during their opening homestand.

"While we hope to be back to playing baseball in Seattle as soon as possible, the health and safety of our community is the most important consideration. We will provide more information about our plans for the games as it becomes available," the Mariners said in their statement.

MLB could shift the Rangers-Mariners four-game series to Arlington, where the Rangers are set to open the new Globe Life Field. Texas general manager Jon Daniels said this week the park would be ready if need be.

"I think we're just, everybody has to be open to what the experts say," Texas pitcher Corey Kluber said at the Rangers' camp in Surprise, Arizona. "None of us are experts. If I was trying to say whether something was good or bad, I'd be speaking without knowledge of the situation."

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus addressed the media Wednesday and asserted that he now thinks it is appropriate to characterize COVID-19 as a pandemic.

The Seattle area is dealing with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the country -- there have been 19 deaths from the same suburban nursing home. Inslee said Tuesday the state is preparing for potentially tens of thousands of cases, based on estimates of the spread of the disease.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the WHO, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks. Those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 63,000 so far have recovered.

After the opening homestand, the Mariners are not scheduled to play at home again until April 9-14 against Boston and Washington.

The move comes hours after reports the MLB was looking to flip sites if the coronavirus shuts down ballparks.

How to Avoid COVID-19 Infection:

The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

*Information shared from the Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Copyright NBC 5 News and The Associated Press
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