The annual parade passed off in Ludowici, Georgia, and was hosted by the Lengthy County Chamber of Commerce. As a part of the festivities, kids have been allowed to sit down in Santa’s lap for a photograph. At the least 50 kids posed for pictures Thursday, two days earlier than Mr. and Mrs. Claus each examined optimistic for COVID-19. The confirmed exams have been shared in a discover posted on the Lengthy County Board of Commissioners website on Monday, claiming that each Santa and his partner didn’t present any signs on the occasion. The announcement was additionally shared on the chamber’s Fb web page.
“Whereas that is trigger for concern, I really feel that it is very important notice that exposures occur daily as we go about our day after day lives, typically with none data. Youngsters are in shut contact with each different kids and adults every day in school, rec capabilities, and church,” Robert D. Parker, chair of Lengthy County Board of Commissioners, wrote. “Correct CDC publicity tips must be adopted in case your youngster was uncovered, nonetheless I don’t really feel this incident is trigger for panic.” Regardless of the chance the occasion entailed and the variety of rising instances in Georgia, Parker made no apologies, noting that his kids additionally took pictures with Santa.
“It was effectively attended by our public officers and I imagine I communicate for almost all of them in saying that we nonetheless stand by the choice … to maneuver ahead with these vacation traditions, and to carry some sense of normalcy to those attempting instances.” In keeping with Parker, such vacation traditions are important due to the “numerous underprivileged kids who would by no means have skilled the enjoyment of assembly Santa Claus.”
However whereas one would possibly commend Parker for searching for kids who may not in any other case have their dream of assembly Santa Claus come true, the chance introduced by this occasion can’t be ignored. Exposures could occur daily and may not be supposed, however internet hosting an occasion of this type with out taking the correct precautions is irresponsible. Not solely are instances rising nationwide, however signs is probably not noticeable in kids for days, inflicting not solely an opportunity of publicity between households but additionally fellow college students, friends, and workers who could have are available contact with the kids since. Within the announcement, Parker claimed that the occasion and faculty current the “identical danger of publicity”; nonetheless, voluntarily internet hosting a vacation occasion regardless of public well being official suggestions is totally different than attending college, as schooling is obligatory.
Moreover, whereas it’s unclear what number of kids wore masks and what number of didn’t, footage posted on social media clearly present that each Mr. and Mrs. Claus didn’t put on masks. Youngsters could not present signs as severely as adults however that doesn’t imply they aren’t impacted by or can’t be contaminated by the virus.
State demographics present that Lengthy County has a inhabitants of roughly 20,000 individuals. In keeping with the Georgia Department of Public Health, not less than 16 new instances of the virus have been reported within the nation within the final week. As of this report, greater than 534,000 individuals have been contaminated with and not less than 9,856 have died on account of COVID-19 in Georgia, in keeping with knowledge compiled by The New York Times. Whereas a vaccine is at present being distributed to well being officers and susceptible populations nationwide, following security precautions and different laws in place to cease the unfold of COVID-19 is crucial.