A Rhode Island child who received an autograph from Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). However, state health officials are denying a link between the two cases.

On Friday, Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey announced that two children in the town had contracted the disease -- and that one of them had gotten an autograph from Gobert in Boston at the Jazz’s March 6 game against the Celtics at the TD Garden.


The announcement came after Gobert reported Wednesday he had a confirmed case of the new coronavirus. Minutes after, the NBA suspended the remainder of its season.

The Providence Journal quoted Lacey as saying that one of the children had recently returned from a cruise to the Bahamas, and that the other had come into contact with an unnamed Jazz player at last week’s game against the Celtics.

The public schools in Westerly, as throughout Rhode Island, will be out next week, said Lacey, who is also the acting town manager.

Students and staff at the Springbrook Elementary School are on a two-week quarantine going forward, officials said.

All of that said, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) told Jazz media that, with Gobert not developing symptoms until Tuesday of this week, “We have no worries about your March 2-7 contact with [him].”

In addition, they further advised that those who had not been in close contact with Gobert -- defined as within 6 feet for a duration of 15 or more minutes -- on or after March 9 “are at low risk of developing symptoms for COVID-19.”

A statement issued by the Celtics on Thursday noted that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health “has advised us that based on [Gobert’s and the Jazz's Donovan Mitchell’s] health statuses during this period, it is unlikely that anyone from the team came into contact with [the Jazz players] while they were contagious.”

Mitchell also tested positive for the virus.

“The safety of our fans, players, staff, and media is of paramount importance to us," they wrote. "And, we will continue to monitor developments and provide information as we work with league and health officials through this situation.”

Upon returning home from Oklahoma City on Thursday, the Jazz met with the state epidemiologist for UDOH, Dr. Angela Dunn.


The took detailed notes of their meeting with Dunn. Dunn said that while those who had close contact with Gobert and Mitchell should limit their public contact, they didn't need to be altogether cut off from the public or their families. Additionally, she said that the "families and loved ones of Jazz players who have not had close contact with the two positive cases pose absolutely no risk to the general public.”

Dunn's notes aside, the Jazz players themselves are participating in a 14-day self-quarantine.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has since reached out to the All-Star center to encourage him to participate in making a public service announcement as the so-called "Patient Zero" to help combat the spread of coronavirus.

Prior to his diagnosis, Gobert was notably dismissive of the seriousness of the pandemic, as exemplified by his decision to touch all of the microphones and recorders before him during his post-shootaround media session on Monday.