A Oklahoma State Department of Health spokesperson told TIME that the Jazz players and supporters were tested as a precaution, since they had been in close proximity to a player with a confirmed infection. Isolating positive cases could help halt the spread of disease. On Tuesday, doctors at the OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City gave a COVID-19 briefing; there are now 29 positive cases in the state. “It’s very important to get testing, that we have the ability to test large numbers of people,” said Dr. Douglas Drevets, chief of infectious diseases at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
I reached out to Dr. Drevets with an interview request. Drevets wrote an email to an OU Medicine publicist about the request: I was copied on the correspondence, presumably unintentionally. “I am concerned that what he wants to talk about is the thunder situation,” Drevets wrote. “[Where] NBA players got tested with a shortage of tests in the community. Please work through that issue first. Otherwise I’m available.” When I asked the publicist why it would be “concerning” for the chief of infectious diseases at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, who has talked about the need for widespread testing, to discuss whether testing the Utah players was a proper use of scarce resources, she replied via email: “As University of Oklahoma employees, our faculty and staff are not allowed to give opinions on medical issues. We may discuss matter of factly what the protocols are for testing and what testing involves, if you would like to discuss that. We will not discuss if something was a wise use of resources or not.”