NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) At least 41 people who attended a swingers convention in November tested positive for COVID-19, according to the event organizer.
Bob Hannaford, owner of Naughty Events, wrote in a blog post Nov. 27 that “5 people tested positive on Monday.”
On Tuesday that number climbed to 14, and by Wednesday positive cases jumped to 29 cases, and “by our last count, we have 41 positive tests, out of 300 people.”
The ‘Naughty in N’awlins’ convention typically attracts a few thousand people, but due to the pandemic, only a few hundred attended.
One of the attendees was hospitalized in serious condition after contracting the virus.
“If I could go back in time, I would not produce this event again. Even though most of the 41 positive cases have mostly been asymptomatic or very mild cases. The reason I wouldn’t is that I know of two people who had a tougher time and they were suffering. One of them, a good friend of mine, was hospitalized in serious condition,” Hannaford said.
Hannaford says extraordinary measures were put in place for check-in with required temperature checks, social distancing in line, and sanitizing.
“We issued wristbands in one color to indicate who had antibodies and therefore was not contagious. We issued a second color to those that showed us a very recent negative COVID-19 test. The wristbands even had each person’s date of their test circled.
Over 50% of our attendees had the antibodies and many of the rest got tested right before the event. We were feeling better and better about the risk potential as the event was about to kick off.
We required masks in all public places and told them they would have to wear them in elevators and even in our parties and while up on the rooftop pool.”
The convention was originally set to take place over the Summer.
“At first, we re-scheduled our event for August and later, because of a July spike, we moved it one more time to November. If we couldn’t have an event in November, we would skip this year and hope to make it until our next big event. As November neared, the numbers in New Orleans kept trending down, way down. By mid-October, New Orleans was one of the safest big cities in the US. The restrictions got lighter and lighter, more restaurants and bars reopened.”
As of Dec. 1, the positivity rate in New Orleans is just above two percent with more than 15,000 cases of COVID-19.