Swingers convention in New Orleans led to 41 COVID-19 cases, organizer says

Let’s face it. Holding a swingers’ convention amid a raging coronavirus pandemic is one idea that won’t end well, and it didn’t in New Orleans. The owner of an events company who held a “Naughty N’awlins” convention in November says his four-day swingers’ convention has been linked to 41 new coronavirus infections.

“We warned people with comorbidities not to come. If they had diabetes, are over 65, had heart problems, asthma, or other health issues that made COVID-19 a higher risk,” Hannaford wrote. “As I was writing everyone to try and convince high-risk people not to come, I thought of my own wife (Tess) who has a compromised immune system.”

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Right after the “Naughty N’awlins” convention opened on November 11, local COVID-19 cases jumped from five positive tests to 41 confirmed cases in just a matter of days, Hannaford wrote.

“We had 5 people that tested positive on Monday. On Tuesday we got up to 14. On Wednesday we jumped up to 29 cases and by our last count, we have 41 positive tests, out of 300 people. Most would consider that a positivity rate of 13%, but there’s more to a positivity rate,” Hannford stated in his blog.

Approximately 300 participants attended “Naughty N’awlins.” According to Hannaford, Naughty Events issued wristbands which indicated if a participant had shown paperwork to prove they had antibodies and another wristband which showed the date of the participant’s last negative COVID-19 test result. Attendees were also told to socially distance and wear masks in public spaces.

“We have been very aggressive with contact tracing,” Hannford wrote. “During check-in, we issued diaries to everyone so it would be easier to track who they interacted with. We didn’t just mean sex, we strongly urged everyone to keep a diary for everyone that they were in contact with for more than 10 minutes, especially without a mask.”

One of the attendees of “Naughty N’awlins” was hospitalized in serious condition, but has since been released, according to Hannaford.

On the first day of the “Naughty N’awlins” event, approximately 250 people checked in at the NOPSI Hotel, according to NOLA.com’s Carlie Wells, who first reported the outbreak of cases.

After the rash of virus cases, Hannford admitted he had regrets about holding the convention.

“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,” Hannford wrote. “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.”

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