Days after a Christmas parade, the pair who played Santa and Mrs Claus tested positive for Covid, potentially infecting about 50 kids.
Santa and Mrs Claus made an appearance at the Long County Chamber of Commerce annual Christmas parade on December 10 at Ludowici, Georgia in the US.
The news of the diagnosis was announced by the Long County Board of Commissioners on Facebook, in a release signed by Robert D. Parker, the chairman of the board.
“The events were well attended and roughly 50 children had their picture taken with Santa,” Mr Parker wrote.
“It has now been brought to the attention of the Chamber of Commerce, as well as my office, that after the event both ‘Santa’ and ‘Mrs Claus’ were tested for the COVID 19 virus and both received positive test results.”
At the time of the parade, neither Santa nor Mrs Claus were showing any Covid symptoms.
Mr Parker said he has personally known the two which played the roles of Santa and Mrs Claus and said neither would never knowingly do something to put children in danger, adding his own children had a photo taken with Santa.
“They [Santa and Mrs Claus] have both filled these roles for many years, and bringing joy to children during the holidays is one of the most important parts of their lives,” he said.
Town defends decision to hold Christmas parade
Though Mr Parker acknowledged this is “cause for concern”, he said it should be noted “exposures happen every day as we go about our day to day lives”.
The US continues to lead the world in Covid cases, with over 16 million reported since the start of the pandemic.
More than 300,000 Covid related deaths have been reported in the US, according to Johns Hopkins data.
In the state of Georgia, there have been over 480,000 confirmed cases, with 353 from Long County, state health data shows.
Mr Parker then offered some sound health advice and stood by the decision to have festivities amid the global pandemic.
“Proper CDC exposure guidelines should be followed if your child was exposed, however I do not feel this incident is cause for panic,” he said.
“We still stand by the decision of the Chamber to move forward with these holiday traditions, and to bring some sense of normalcy to these trying times.”
Most people were not happy that the Christmas parade went ahead at all.
“Bad call to hold this event right now,” one person commented on Mr Parker’s post.
“You all should have known better. Continuing to ‘live life like normal’ is exactly why we are all in this mess.”
Another said the ordeal was “incompetence at its finest”.
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