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Sparks to join L.A. County Public Health Department officials in roundtable discussion

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(Los Angeles Sparks)

The Sparks are sequestered in the WNBA’s protected bubble in Bradenton, Fla., but as L.A. County passed 5,000 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak Tuesday, the team hasn’t forgotten the impact of the pandemic that forced it 2,500 miles from its home in the first place.

In the midst of their season at IMG Academy, the Sparks will partner with the Los Angeles County Public Health Department for a virtual roundtable discussion on Aug. 17 focused on the pandemic, social justice initiatives and the public health department’s anti-vaping and anti-smoking campaigns. The event, scheduled to be livestreamed at 5 p.m. on the Sparks’ Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn accounts, will feature Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Public Health Department, Sparks head coach Derek Fisher, and Sparks stars Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike.

The Sparks previously partnered with the department on an anti-vaping and anti-smoking campaign. Prior to its game Saturday against the Indiana Fever, the team will wear “Never Stop Quitting Smoking” shirts. The Sparks have also advocated for people to wear masks, wash their hands and practice social distancing as public health officials work to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

On the heels of the strong ratings for the Sparks’ season-opening win over the Mercury, ESPN adds 13 more WNBA games to its lineup.

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“The Sparks are especially proud of our partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health,” Sparks President and Chief Operating Officer Danita Johnson said in a statement. “Not only have we joined with them to help discourage youth from smoking and vaping, but we will continue to assist their crucial work fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.”

L.A. County surpassed what Ferrer called a “heartbreaking” milestone Tuesday with more than 5,000 COVID-19-related deaths. Despite the somber mark, the county reported stabilizing hospitalizations, as there were 1,542 people with confirmed cases hospitalized Tuesday compared with more than 2,000 daily hospitalizations a month ago.


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