The owner of an events company says his four-day swingers' convention in New Orleans held last month has been tied to 41 new coronavirus infections.
The case count from the “Naughty N’awlins” convention, which began on Nov. 11, jumped from five positive tests to 41 confirmed cases in a matter of days, Naughty Events Owner Bob Hannaford wrote in a blog post Friday. Hannaford wrote that the company has reached out to attendees to urge them to get tested and conducted “very aggressive” contact tracing.
Though most of the cases have been mild or asymptomatic, at least two people had a "tougher time" and were "suffering," he said.
It’s unclear exactly how many of the convention’s 300 attendees have tested positive. Hannaford did not immediately respond to a phone call requesting comment from NBC News.
"You see, we have no idea how many people got tested after our event, nor if anyone tested positive and didn’t tell us," Hannaford wrote. "There could also be people that are positive, but without symptoms, so they never got tested."
Naughty Events issued wristbands that indicated if an individual had shown paperwork to prove they had antibodies and other wristbands that had the date of the individuals' last negative test result. Attendees were also required to socially distance in lines and wear masks in public spaces, Hannaford wrote, but some attendees admitted to being more lax on the last few days of the convention.
“Sometimes it is O.K. to admit that we do not have the answers,” Hannaford wrote in his blog. “I don’t have the answer now, and I didn’t have the answer on November 11th, the day our event started. But 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.”
The four-day convention was held on the same day New Orleans’ Phase 3.3 reopening plan went into effect, which increased gathering and indoor seating sizes. Indoor events were limited at a maximum of 100 people, masked and socially distant, and required special events and live entertainment to obtain permits, according to NBC News affiliate WDSU.
A spokesperson for the city of New Orleans confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday that the Naughty Events convention did not have a permit. The spokesperson did not immediately respond to an email asking whether the company was being investigated for violations of the city’s coronavirus restrictions.
New Orleans has since undergone stricter coronavirus restrictions after Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards imposed firmer guidelines amid a national spike in cases. There have been more than 13.6 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S, and more than 232,000 of them in Louisiana as of Tuesday afternoon, according to NBC News data.