Person tests presumptively positive for coronavirus after visiting New Orleans for conference

March 10, 2020

Person tests presumptively positive for coronavirus after visiting New Orleans for conference

NEW ORLEANS- At least one person who attended a journalism conference in New Orleans has tested positive for the coronavirus.

IRE released a statement on Twitter confirming the case, adding, “To ensure the safety of our attendees and community, IRE is notifying conference attendees now so that individuals can make their own decisions on how best to proceed.”

“The attendee has mild symptoms and is expected to make a full recovery. They are self-quarantining at home for 14 days. The attendee has been reaching out today to people they had close contact with during the conference. IRE is notifying individuals who participated in a pre-registration hands-on class with the attendee. The person traveled from within the U.S. to the conference in New Orleans and was present from Thursday (3/5) until Saturday afternoon (3/7). Based on the onset of the limited symptoms, they could have contracted the virus either before, during or after the conference.”

The National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting organization, known as NICAR, gathered from Wednesday evening to midday Sunday. It is a national nonprofit that journalists join to learn best practices from one another. 

Over 1,000 people attended the conference, which was held at the Marriott Hotel on Canal Street. 

IRE urges attendees to contact them in the event of illness so they can relay the information to public health officials and other attendees as necessary. 

Full statement from IRE officials here:

A person who attended the NICAR20 conference in New Orleans last week tested presumptively positive today with COVID-19.

This attendee has mild symptoms and is expected to make a full recovery. They are self-quarantining at home for 14 days, as recommended by health professionals.

The test has been sent to the Centers for Disease Control for confirmation. Until the test result is confirmed by the CDC, which can take up to a week, it is considered a presumptive positive. IRE is notifying conference attendees now so that individuals can make their own decisions on how best to proceed.

The attendee traveled from within the United States to the conference in New Orleans and was present from Thursday (March 5) until Saturday afternoon (March 7). Based on the onset of the limited symptoms, they could have contracted the virus either before, during or after the conference. Symptoms can appear within two to 14 days of exposure, and in some cases do not appear at all.

The attendee has been reaching out today to people they had close contact with during the conference. In addition, IRE is notifying individuals who participated in a pre-registered hands-on class with the attendee.

IRE has consulted with the CDC for guidance. The CDC recommends conference attendees contact their health care provider to let them know that they attended a large gathering with someone who has a laboratory-positive test for COVID-19. Based on your health history and whether you have any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough or shortness of breath), your doctor may want to see you and/or conduct a coronavirus test. Protocols and testing availability vary from state to state.


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