HAVERHILL — To decrease the spread of COVID-19, city health officials are temporarily halting youth sports in Haverhill, with only two exceptions.

The ruling affects sports involving Haverhill High School, other schools and private youth organizations.

After a recent spike in coronavirus cases left Haverhill in the red, higher-risk category established by the state, the city's Board of Health met Thursday afternoon to discuss the issue.

The board decided to halt youth sports immediately for three weeks.

"We are stopping youth sports in the city of Haverhill for three weeks with the exception of golf and cross country,'' board member Peter Carbone said at the meeting. "It will be reassessed in three weeks. They (golf and cross country) are considered low-risk ... they are naturally socially distanced and low risk.''

Some Haverhill High sports that are traditionally played in the fall, such as football, had already been moved to a season that will start in February.

Watch eagletribune.com for more on this developing story. A complete report will appear in Friday's print edition of The Eagle-Tribune and at eagletribune.com.

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