50 Georgia children exposed to virus after Santa, Mrs. Claus test positive

'I feel that it is important to note that exposures happen every day as we go about our day to day lives.'

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About 50 children were exposed to the potentially deadly novel coronavirus while taking holiday pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus in Ludowici, Georgia last week. 

The festive photoshoot took place at the Long County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas parade and tree lighting ceremony on Thursday (Dec. 10). According to WSAV, Santa and his wife did not exhibit virus symptoms at the event, but both tested positive Saturday.

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“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,” said Robert Parker, chairman of the Long County Commission, in a news release, per CNN. “They were not displaying any symptoms at the time of the event.”

The school board has asked parents of children who came in contact with Santa and Mrs. Claus to keep their kids home from in-school learning until after the holiday break.

“While this event was not put on by the City of Ludowici or the Long County Board of Commissioners, it was well attended by our public officials, and I believe I speak for the majority of them in saying that 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,” said Parker, whose own children posed for pictures with Santa Claus. 

“I have personally known both ‘Santa’ and ‘Mrs. Claus’ my entire life and I can assure everyone that they would have never knowingly done anything to place any children in danger,” Parker added. “They 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.”

Parker noted that incident was “cause for concern” but not “cause for panic.”

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“I feel that it is important to note that exposures happen every day as we go about our day to day lives, often without any knowledge,” he said in a statement. “Children are in close contact with both other children and adults daily at school, rec functions, and church. Proper CDC exposure guidelines should be followed if your child was exposed, however I do not feel this incident is cause for panic.”

Parker claims he and his family have, so far, not displayed any COVID symptoms.

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