OSDH Says Thunder Fans Not At Risk For Coronavirus (COVID-19)
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma State Health Department is assuring Oklahomans no one inside Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena during the Thunder game Wednesday night is at risk for contracting COVID-19.
The state government jumped into action Wednesday after the first case of the new coronoavirus in Oklahoma City was discovered to be the Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert.
The OSDH statement though came as the Utah Jazz, who were also at the game, were being quarantined in their locker room and tested. The game was postponed before tip-off and the National Basketball Association suspended the remainder of its season sending ripples through the sports and entertainment world.
Despite the definitive statement from the Health Department, Thunder officials told staff to stay home and self-quarantine for 24 hours. However, as of Wednesday night, service and retail staff with the company SMG, which operates sales and food and beverage inside the arena, were not told to do anything out of the ordinary. There was no discussion of whether those staff would be reimbursed or compensated for lost wages due to the suspension of the game or the rest of the professional basketball season.
“I'm pretty upset,” arena bartender Katie Kahmann said Wednesday night. “I really rely on that job as part of my income. I'm a single mom. My daughter's about to graduate from high school. I have a trip to Carnegie Hall to pay for. I have all kinds of stuff and that's like thousands of dollars out of my income.”
Governor Kevin Stitt's office also looked to reassure nervous Oklahomans after the game. "the governor has been in touch with health officials the entire time, leading up to the game" and had been briefed as of 10p.m. Wednesday.
It's unclear how many tests the state has on hand or has given out to county health departments. Hospitals however are being told by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to test patients who come in with symptoms and doctors are being told to use their own judgment on whether to have patients tested. Due to the limited number of testing kits there isn't a guarantee that every patient will be able to be tested.
This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would be diverting nearly $7 million dollars to Oklahoma to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. President Donald Trump also said he would be asking for $50 billion in emergency assistance and would be suspending the April 15 tax deadline for certain businesses and individuals.
COVID-19 tests from last night's game are being processed and sources said the results should be ready sometime Thursday.