After attending swingers convention in NOLA, 41 participants test positive for coronavirus
NEW ORLEANS - Though Louisiana's most prominent health officials are persistent in urging citizens to avoid large in-person gatherings, some simply aren't willing to give up their favorite events.
But a recent report from The Advocate indicates that doing so may come at a cost to one's health.
According to The Advocate, 41 individuals who attended a swingers convention in New Orleans last month have now tested positive for coronavirus.
The convention's organizer, Bob Hannaford, told The Advocate that one of the infected persons became so sick they had to be temporarily hospitalized.
The person has since been released, but Hannaford says he still feels haunted by the what the event resulted in.
"If I could go back in time, I would not produce this event again," he wrote Friday in a blog post about this year's event. "I wouldn’t do it again if I knew then what I know now. It weighs on me and it will continue to weigh on me until everyone is 100% better."
Though Hannaford and other organizers attempted to implement safety precautions into the convention's requirements, these regulations didn't seem to be enough.
For example, in 2019, the convention drew 2,000 participants and Hannaford confirmed that there were significantly fewer attendees this year.
Organizers also required that all guests wear masks and practice social distancing in addition to mandating that all attendees submit to virus and/or antibody testing before the gathering.
"Over 50% of our attendees had the antibodies and many of the rest got tested right before the event," he wrote.
Despite the aforementioned protocol, a significant number of guests tested positive for the virus.
Hannaford indicated that the outbreak can likely be traced back to an apathetic attitude among the attendees.
He explained that during conversations with participants, almost everyone he spoke to admitted that by the last day of the convention they were basically ignoring all coronavirus safety precautions.
Fortunately, Hannaford also said that most who were infected experienced mild or asymptomatic cases.
After the Thanksgiving holiday, Louisiana is reporting a total of 171 new coronavirus cases, according to Louisiana Department of Health.
Just before the holiday, on Wednesday, Nov. 24 Louisiana was reverted back to Phase 2 of its coronavirus reopening process at the order of Governor John Bel Edwards.
This phase of the process requires that event centers limit gatherings to 25% (up to 75 people at indoor venues and up to 150 at outdoor venues where social distancing is not possible).
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