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Guest at LGBTQ fundraiser with thousands of attendees tests positive for coronavirus

The Winter Party Festival is an annual fundraiser in Florida.


Samira Sadeque


Published Mar 16, 2020

A guest of the Winter Party Festival, an annual LGBTQ fundraiser, in Florida has tested positive for coronavirus, according to festival officials.

The Winter Party Festival, which took place in Miami Beach, Florida, from March 4-10, announced via Instagram on Sunday that the guest tested positive last week but did not show symptoms during the festival. 

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Greetings Winter Party Guests, I am writing to let you know that on Saturday night (the 14th), I was informed that one of our Winter Party Festival (WPF) guests has tested positive for COVID-19 this last week. We are grateful to them for alerting us, particularly given that they were not experiencing symptoms during WPF. While we know there are many places people could have been exposed before and after Winter Party as this virus has developed, we wanted to make sure you have this information as soon as possible. The health and safety of anyone who participates in any Task Force event is of great importance to us. Information and circumstances have changed rapidly since WPF. We continue to encourage all WPF guests to monitor their health, practice social distancing, wash hands with soap, use hand sanitizer and contact their doctor if they think they are exhibiting symptoms. If you test positive for COVID-19, please contact those you were in direct contact with so they can take steps to monitor their health and speak with their doctors. More information from the CDC can be found here: Given what we knew at the time about the virus prior to WPF and working with local Miami Beach officials, we took steps to ensure the safety of attendees. The educational posters throughout WPF venues and 10,000 hand sanitizers we distributed over the weekend were both appreciated and utilized by attendees. Again, please take care of yourselves and if you test positive for COVID-19 in the couple of weeks, please feel free to email me at [email protected] – Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force

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The festival—which involves dancing, music, and beach parties—raises funds for the LGBTQ community. 

One Twitter user shared a tweet with Winter Party’s announcement and said it could put at risk “anyone who’s been in a gay bar in the last week.” The user also claimed more than one person had tested positive.

Another user responded to the tweet saying they had symptoms and got tested and that their friend tested positive for the virus. 

The Winter Party Festival did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.

According to its website, this was the 27th annual festival and involved 80 organizations. Out magazine reports that the festival usually hosts about 10,000 participants, and this year’s festival was sold out.

Florida has the fifth-highest number of cases of coronavirus in the U.S. It was the first state out of the West Coast to report deaths.  The festival took place weeks before President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over the virus and the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic. The WHO, however, announced the coronavirus to a global emergency in January.

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*First Published: Mar 16, 2020, 12:28 pm CDT