The Vermont Department of Health is investigating an outbreak of COVID-19 cases related to youth and adult recreational hockey and broomball teams in central Vermont, officials said Friday.

The outbreak is linked to people who practiced or played at the Central Vermont Memorial Civic Center in Montpelier earlier this month, officials said. So far, the Health Department has identified 18 confirmed cases among players and several close contacts and most are in adults.

“So far, there is no indication of community spread of the virus,” said Patsy Kelso, state epidemiologist, at the governor’s bi-weekly virus briefing.

A pop-up testing site is being opened on Saturday at the Barre Auditorium from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Health Department recommends people with direct links the teams or the Civic Center and their close contacts get tested.

“We’re considering a number of steps to strengthen guidance, particularly around off-the-ice activities and inter-state play,” Gov. Phil Scott said during his bi-weekly virus briefly. “We also need all players and families to abide by the strict guidance we already have in place.”

The Health Department’s contact tracing team is continuing to reach out to people who may be affected, Kelso said. The governor urged people not to become complacent.

“If we want to keep businesses and schools open, if we want our kids playing sports, and if we want to get back together with family and friends, all of which is really important to our mental health and social well-being, we have to be smart about how we do it,” he said.

“While small gatherings are OK, they still need to be done using precautions, like wearing masks and keeping 6 feet apart,” Scott said. “But we’ve got to avoid gathering in large crowds, crowds from red counties without quarantining. Even sharing food at these types of events can be risky.”

In New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu and health officials announced Thursday that the state is “pausing” all hockey activities at indoor rinks for two weeks following positive COVID-19 tests for 158 people associated with the sport over the last two months.

Dr. Ben Chan, state epidemiologist, said the cases come from 23 different New Hampshire hockey organizations and teams, “and there are additional connections with out-of-state ice hockey organizations.”

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