MISSOULA — A pair of Missoula doctors are urging Griz fans to not abandon safety measures as they return to Washington Grizzly Stadium for games this fall.
Masks were pretty hard to find as the Griz held their first regular-season home opener before an excited crowd returning to the stadium for the first time in two years.
But the turnout sparked some concerns from health professionals trying to manage a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases. During a Friday news conference, the message was one of precautions for future games in the coming weeks.
"It is outdoors. We know that is safer. At the same time to have that much crowding with people yelling and shouting we know that's a place the virus can spread,” said St. Patrick Hospital Chief Physician Dr. James McKay.
“So trying to understand and be sensitive to everything involved, from my perspective, there's still things that you can do,” he continued. “You can go to a Griz game and you can still do things to be careful. You can still mask."
"While outdoor activities are certainly safer than indoor activities, anytime that you are in close proximity to others, particularly you're yelling, you're screaming in excitement. You're cheering on your team which we all desperately want to do right now. We really do want to get back to normal,” added Community Medial Center Pathologist Dr. Nicole Finke.
“If you're going to do those things, then try to do them as safely as you possibly can. And wear a mask. Try to stay distanced. And if you can't do those things then perhaps consider not doing them at all,” Finke explained.
Both McKay and Finke stressed their comments were their own medical opinions, based on current conditions. The Griz homecoming football game is Saturday against Cal Poly at Washington Grizzly Stadium.