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Fans pack Moda Center to cheer on Blazers, despite COVID-19 concerns

Moda Center - March 2020
Moda Center - March 2020(KPTV)
Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 12:00 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A healthy-sized crowd packed the Moda Center Tuesday as the Trail Blazers beat the Phoenix Suns, proving thousands of people aren’t concerned about COVID-19 enough to stay home and watch the game from the couch.

“That wasn’t an issue in my mind,” said Randy Wolven.

“I’m definitely over 60,” he added.

Sharon Sheffield said she wouldn’t miss the game for the world. Her granddaughter purchased tickets for the game as a Christmas gift.

“We haven’t been for years, so this is big deal,” Sheffield said.

A self-described senior citizen, Sheffield said she knows that there’s more risk for people her age, but she doesn’t worry.

“I don’t have any preexisting problems – no cardiac or pulmonary, so I’m healthy,” Sheffield said.

She also came prepared, bringing a small container of hand sanitizer with her to the game.

“I wash my hands a lot. I’ve been trying not to touch my face, which is the hardest thing in the world to do,” Sheffield said.

Health experts said that’s exactly what people need to do to stay safe and better protect others: wash hands frequently, carry hand-sanitizer and stay home if you are sick.

Other than that, most healthy people can go about normal activities, including events, said Dr. Linda Cruz, the chief medical officer for Providence Medical Group in Oregon.

“Currently, Oregon has very limited cases and so we feel like, at this point, there’s no need to limit people’s exposure to public gatherings,” Cruz said.

Cruz said even people over the age of 60 should be fine if they are healthy enough.

There is a population of people that should consider skipping out on large crowds.

“Those would be people over 60 who have other chronic conditions like heart disease or lung disease, diabetes or people who are on medication that cause an immune repression response,” Cruz said.

The Moda Center has placed hand sanitizer in locations around the building.

The NBA has put restrictions in place to keep players healthy. At Tuesday night’s game, fans were not allowed to crowd over the tunnel areas to touch players or get autographs.

Media members have also been restricted in coverage of NBA games. Journalists are no longer allowed to conduct interviews in locker rooms and instead press coverage of the Trail Blazers is limited to specific, approved areas.