Coronavirus infects New Orleans journalism conference attendee

A person who attended a journalism conference in New Orleans last week has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

In a statement, officials with the Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) with the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia said one of its members who attended The National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR) 2020 conference in New Orleans last week has tested presumptively positive for the novel virus, or COVID-19. The IRE on Tuesday said the final results were pending from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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“IRE is notifying conference attendees now so that individuals can make their own decisions on how best to proceed,” officials said in a statement.

“The attendee traveled from within the United States to the conference in New Orleans and was present from Thursday (March 5) until Saturday afternoon (March 7). Based on the onset of the limited symptoms, they could have contracted the virus either before, during or after the conference. Symptoms can appear within two to 14 days of exposure, and in some cases do not appear at all,” reads the statement.

The attendee, who was not identified, has “mild symptoms and is expected to make a full recovery,” IRE officials said. He or she is in self-quarantine at their home, where they will remain for the next 14 days.

More than 1,000 people attended the conference, which took place at the Marriott hotel on Canal Street, according to local news station WBRZ-2.

“The attendee has been reaching out today to people they had close contact with during the conference. In addition, IRE is notifying individuals who participated in a pre-registered hands-on class with the attendee,” per the statement.

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Reporters from the Raleigh News & Observer, the Charlotte Observer, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Fresno Bee, the Miami Herald, and other publications attended the conference, the Miami Herald reported.

The number of cases of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. surpassed 1,000 on Tuesday evening. More than 30 states have been affected by the virus, which began at a live animal and seafood market in the city of Wuhan, China.