41 attendees of swingers convention in New Orleans test positive for COVID-19

More than 40 attendees of a swingers convention held in New Orleans tested positive for the coronavirus after the event, according a blog post by the organizer.

Bob Hannaford, the organizer of the annual Naughty in N'awlins swingers gathering, a four-day event which began on Nov. 11, wrote in his blog that of the 41 attendees who tested positive, one was hospitalized in serious condition. 

“My friend is out of the hospital and looks like he will be fine,” Hannaford wrote in his blog post published on Nov. 27, 2020. 

"If I could go back in time, I would not produce this event again," he wrote of the swingers convention. "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."

Hannaford wrote that he and event organizers “went to extraordinary measures for check-in instituted a touchless process with required temperature checks, social distancing in line, and sanitizing upon check-in.”

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“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,” he added. 

He explained that guests were issued different colored wristbands to indicate who had COVID-19 antibodies and who recently tested negative for the virus. 

The contention was held at the NOPSI hotel just as New Orleans entered into its latest phase of reopening the same day the event began. Respective spokespeople for the city and the hotel did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a city spokesperson told the New Orleans Advocate that  it had expected “full compliance” with coronavirus safety regulations from those who attended the convention. 

Pedestrians are seen walking along Bourbon Street in the French Quarter on July 14, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

It remains unclear if any hotel staff who worked during the event tested positive. 

The United States added more than 4 million new coronavirus cases in November alone, more than double the 1.8 million cases reported in the month of October, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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Louisiana has since returned to stricter COVID-19 restrictions amid a recent surge in virus cases. 

“Louisiana is experiencing a third surge of COVID-19. With the continued rise in cases and hospitalizations, we have reason to worry and to make necessary changes in how we are battling this virus. Today, I am announcing that we will be going to a revised Phase 2,” tweeted Gov. John Bel Edwards.