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Growing number of COVID-19 cases linked to NBA Finals and the Deer District

Posted at 6:01 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 20:51:15-04

MILWAUKEE — The number of COVID-19 cases linked to the Deer District during the NBA Finals is growing. It is now nearly 600.

deer district

During the Bucks playoff run, game after game the Deer District was packed with fans. There was anywhere from 20,000 to 60,000 fans in a night.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Service says of those fans and the ones inside during the game, there were 584 cases.

Marquise Jenkins
Marquise Jenkins got COVID-19 after going to the Deer District for Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Marquise Jenkins was one of the fans who went to the Deer District and the area around it to watch Game 5. He says he stuck to the outskirts of the crowd, but enjoyed the experience.

“It was definitely crazy. It was crazy to the point that you know, like the Bucks won in Phoenix, now the Bucks are up 3-2,” said Marquise.

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Thousands turned out for Game 6 on Saturday night in the Deer District.

A few days after the game, Marquise started to feel sick.

“I had like a cough. Then that cough turned into the chills and then the chills turned into a fever,” said Marquise.

When the fever spiked to 103 degrees, Marquise knew something was wrong and went to the ER in the middle of the night. That’s when he found out he had COVID-19.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has linked the 584 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 to the Deer District and NBA Finals.

“We do know there are large events and large gatherings, that it is going to spread,” said Kirsten Johnson, commissioner of the Milwaukee Health Department.

Of the nearly nearly 600 cases, a majority - 57 percent - were not vaccinated.

“It’s the delta variant. We anticipated an increase in numbers. Unfortunately we are seeing an increase in the number of hospitalizations. Proportionately, it was much smaller than it was previously,” said Johnson.

Johnson says it is OK to go to events like the Deer District celebration or the Wisconsin State Fair. But you need to be cautious.

“First and foremost, we need more people to get vaccinated. Then, wear masks,” said Johnson. “We are really encouraging people if you are in large groups or you are indoors, you should absolutely be masked, whether or not you are vaccinated."

Marquise was not vaccinated when he contracted COVID-19. He says he is now considering the shot, but really plans to focus on wearing a mask anywhere he goes.

“Maybe later on, like I said, I will get it,” said Marquise. “Definitely got to take precautions of anything. Just keep my mask on at all times, whether I am going to the mall, the grocery store, hanging out with friends. Just keep the mask on at all times.”

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