LONG COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Long County Commission Chairman Robert Parker is warning families their children could have been exposed to COVID-19 during holiday festivities in Ludowici on Thursday. The activities are a part of the Long County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas Parade.
Parker says a photoshoot with Santa and Mrs. Claus may be the source of the outbreak. The two people portraying the jolly couple tested positive for COVID-19 following a rapid test taken on Saturday. A release from Long County says that roughly 50 children had their picture taken.
The Long County School System is asking parents to keep children that were exposed or show symptoms at home until after the new year. This does not mean that school is canceled.
Parker says it is not known how many children and their family members may have been exposed to the virus. He included a statement in a press release to the Coastal News Service.
Parker says he supports the chamber continuing the festivities and holiday traditions, because for some kids in the area it’s all they have.
“I’ve known the folks that portray Mr. and Mrs. Claus, my whole life they were doing it when I was a child and I could tell you that they would never intentionally, had they known they were sick, had they felt sick, they would’ve never intentionally put anybody in harm’s way,” Parker said.
He says they wanted to retain a sense of normalcy, however those who were in close contact have started to follow CDC guidelines to limit the spread.
“Nobody made anybody go there, I mean the parents had the choice to send their children, they knew what precautions would be in place. The school has notified the parents and any of the children that were in contact have been asked to quarantine,” Parker said.
Parker says they’ve only had about two cases among county employees. Masks are not required but are recommended.
He says anyone who starts to feel sick or has any symptoms or is just concerned should get tested.
*The Coastal News Service contributed to this report.*