City of New Orleans concerned about private parties and large crowds on Bourbon Street contributing to COVID-19 spread

Updated: Jul. 21, 2020 at 4:20 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The City of New Orleans says it’s concerned about large gatherings on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter and short term rentals. This comes as the number of COVID-19 cases steadily increases. The city says the positivity rate has also doubled since June.

City of New Orleans Communications Director Beau Tidwell says while businesses have largely been compliant, officials are concerned about private parties becoming super spreader events.

“It’s these private gatherings, mass gatherings, groups, right? Everything has to be on the table. There are no provisions right now that we are putting out there, as we have said all along, we have never wanted to snap back. We don’t want to impose additional restrictions, we don’t want to make this any harder, but we do need people to exercise that individual responsibility,” said Tidwell.

LSU Health infectious diseases expert, Fred Lopez, MD, says events like that are especially worrisome when you consider what the recent data is showing.

“We’re starting to see deaths, which typically lag behind the other data, starting to show across the United States, an increase in the number of deaths as well. This is a time of reckoning. We’re in somewhat of a free fall relative to where we were,” Lopez said.

He says it’s also concerning that 30% to 40% of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic.

“We just don’t know how many of those people there are out there because we don’t have the luxury of being able to test everybody, particularly right now, because there are so many cases that our ability to test is being hampered, the turn around time on test results is being hampered,” said Lopez.

If you see a large gathering happening, the city encourages you to report it to 311.

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