Cameraman who worked Jazz-Pistons game diagnosed with coronavirus, in coma

DETROIT — A camera operator who shot footage inside the Utah Jazz locker room after a March 7 game in Detroit is in a medically induced coma after being diagnosed with COVID-19, his friends said. The game was played just four days before the NBA suspended operations because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The man, who is in his 50s, has worked for years as part of broadcast crews for NBA games at Little Caesars Arena, according to friends. That included the Jazz-Pistons contest where part of his assignment, according to coworkers, was filming postgame locker-room interviews for the broadcast feed that went back to Utah.

Yahoo Sports is not naming the man due to privacy concerns. It is unknown where, when or how the man contracted the coronavirus. According to a friend, he began feeling ill about a week after the game. When home remedies didn’t work, he reported to a suburban area hospital on March 18. 

DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 06: A general view of the start of the NBA game between the Detroit Pistons and the Houston Rockets at Little Caesars Arena on January 6, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

“He sent me a text saying, ‘Oh [expletive], they put me in an exam room with masks,’” friend Grov Tigue told Yahoo Sports. “At 11:11, he sent another one saying, ‘They say my oxygen level is low. They want to get it to a higher level.’ But he didn’t have a diagnosis yet.  

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Last week, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announced that they had tested positive for COVID-19 after contracting it in Australia, where Hanks was filming a movie. 

"We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches," the Oscar-winning actor shared on Instagram. "Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive."

"Well, now. What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks’ will be tested observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?"

Idris Elba took to Twitter on Monday morning to announce that he, too, contracted the virus. The actor was at the same conference in Webley as Sophie Trudeau, who also tested positive. 

He shared with his fans:

"This morning I tested positive for Covid 19. I feel ok, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus. Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing. No panic.

Sophie Gregorie Trudeau, the wife of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, was announced to have tested positive for the virus last week. 

Her symptoms developed after attending a conference in Britain in early March. The prime minister is not showing symptoms and will not be tested, but will remain under quarantine.

Kristofer Hivju, best known for his role as Tormund on "Game of Thrones," took to Instagram on Monday to reveal he was self quarantining with his family in Norway.  

"We are in good health,” he wrote. “I only have mild symptoms of a cold. There are people at higher risk for who this virus might be a devastating diagnosis, so I urge all of you to be extremely careful; wash your hands, keep 1,5 meters distance from others, go in quarantine; just do everything you can to stop the virus from spreading.

Olga Kurylenko, who starred in the James Bond movie “Quantum of Solace,” announced this weekend that she has contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. 

“I’ve actually been ill for almost a week now,” she wrote on Instagram. “Fever and fatigue are my main symptoms. Take care of yourself and do take this seriously!”

Donavan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, both players on the Utah Jazz basketball team, have tested positive for the virus. Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive, which prompted the suspension of the rest of the basketball season. 
Callum Hudson-Odoi, a forward for the Chelsea football team, tested positive for the virus, in addition to Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta. Following the announcement, all professional soccer games in England have been postponed. 
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“Thursday I texted him about the [Darius] Slay trade [involving the Detroit Lions] and he replied at 1:18 on Thursday, ‘Still in the hospital,’” Tigue said. “Saturday I hit him at 6:47 a.m. Then he replied at 3:48 p.m. He said, ‘I’ll be out of touch for a day or so.’ Then I found out they were putting him into a coma.

“[Doctors] couldn’t get his oxygen levels right. They pulled him out of the coma yesterday but put him back in,” Tigue said.

Two members of the Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert and Donavan Mitchell, have both announced they tested positive for the coronavirus. Additionally, Pistons forward Christian Wood confirmed he also had tested positive. Wood’s agent, Adam Pensack, said Wednesday his client is “fully recovered” from the virus.

After Gobert tested positive on March 11, NBA commissioner Adam Silver decided to suspend the season, including pulling the Jazz and Thunder off the floor just before the start of their game in Oklahoma City. 

“I didn’t know he did the [Utah] game until I called him,” Tigue said. “When I called him that Wednesday, the 11th, he didn’t know anything about the games being canceled yet. While we were on the line, one of his bosses called him. Letting him know what to do next.”

The man regularly works as a camera operator on NBA broadcasts, according to coworkers who requested anonymity due to employment concerns. 

Generally, non-nationally televised NBA games are filmed by crews associated with the home team. The footage is also sent back to the local or regional sports networks that carry the game for the road team. There are often additional camera responsibilities, such as filming the team play-by-play person and color analyst on the court pregame, focusing on a single player during action or getting coach and player reactions for a postgame show. Tigue’s friend often performed those tasks.

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