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Anime Dallas President, Guest Exposed to COVID-19 One Week Prior to Event

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Anime Dallas convention president and chairman John Swasey confirmed with Anime News Network that he was exposed to an individual who received a positive COVID-19 test on November 26. Swasey and his daughter, who was a guest at the Anime Dallas convention, quarantined for three days according to guidance from a medical professional. Both tested negative on November 29, three days after exposure and attended the Anime Dallas event on December 4-6.

The CDC testing guidelines currently state that individuals who have been in close contact with someone who received a positive COVID-19 test should self-isolate for two weeks, even in the event of a negative test.

Swasey received a PCR test to confirm whether he was currently carrying COVID-19. However, the risk of receiving a false negative PCR test three days after exposure can be greater than 67 percent if the individual does not have symptoms, according to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine in August. MIT Medical suggests that anyone who believes they were exposed to quarantine five to seven days prior to testing in order to protect against false negative results and the CDC states individuals should quarantine for a minimum of five days prior to testing.

"On average, symptoms of the virus develop five to six days post exposure, but the incubation period can be as long as 14 days. And, of course some people never develop noticeable or debilitating symptoms — hence the recommendation to self-quarantine and self-monitor for a full two weeks after any likely exposure," wrote MIT editor Kim Schive.

Swasey announced publicly on the Anime Dallas Facebook page that he and his daughter tested negative for COVID-19.

"For your information, many of our guests, including me (our president) and my daughter who is also attending as a guest as well, received negative COVID-19 test results before the event; we don't have COVID," Swasey wrote.

Individuals have criticized the decision to hold the Anime Dallas event over the weekend in the midst of the ongoing pandemic and the spike in cases in Texas and throughout the United States. According to The New York Times, Texas had a 22% rise in reported COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks. There were an estimated 221 new coronavirus deaths and 11,098 new cases reported in Texas on December 5, with an average of 14,162 cases per day. Dallas is currently classified as a trauma service area by the state. For the last week, COVID-19 patients account for 15 percent or more of Dallas area hospital capacity.

"As of Sunday morning, there have been at least 1,333,809 cases and 23,111 deaths in Texas since the beginning of the pandemic," according to a New York Times database. Dallas County is currently third in total cases within Texas.

Multiple planned guests pulled out of the convention leading up to December 4. Brittany Karbowski, Ry McKeand, Austin Tindle, and Freddie Heinz cancelled appearances for the 2020 event. Voice actress Luci Christian was listed as a board member for the con but wrote on Twitter that she advised staff to postpone the event. Following the decision to go forward with Anime Dallas, Christian and voice actor David Wald pulled out of the event and asked to be removed from the convention's board.

The event's page outlines guidelines for attendees. Event staff required mask compliance at all times, installed hand sanitation areas in panel rooms, hotel rooms, and at vendor booths, required an attendance cap at less than half of last year's attendees, and implemented socially-distanced seating. Close contact events, like dances, were not held over the weekend.

Last year's event had approximately 4,000 anime fans in attendance.


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