A second person who attended the Winter Party Music Festival in Miami Beach last month has died after contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), festival organizers said Tuesday.
A growing number of people who attended the famed party are reporting flu-like symptoms and positive COVID-19 diagnoses.
In a Facebook post, the Winter Party Festival said Ron Rich, a festival volunteer, succumbed to COVID-19 over the weekend.
“Ron was a familiar face to the guests who attended the Task Force Gala, Winter Party Festival and our Fort Lauderdale house parties over the past five years as his big smile and warmth had him mostly serving on our hospitality team,” the post read.
The post continued: “Ron also volunteered with the Outshine Film Festival and Lambda Legal. He will be missed. We extend our condolences to his family and friends.”
The death comes less than a week after another man who attended the festival, 40-year-old Israel Carrera, died of COVID-19.
His partner, Franco Conquista, says Carreras came down with what appeared to me mild symptoms at first but his condition got progressively worse.
“It started with fever, and then very quickly he was having problems with breathing,” Conquista said.
Eventually, he was taken to the hospital, where he would later succumb to the virus.
The Winter Party Festival, is an annual, weeklong LGBTQ event that draws thousands from across the country.
After it ended March 10, several attendees tested positive for the coronavirus, according to festival organizers.
NBC Miami reports that a 67-year-old man who attended the festival is currently in the ICU fighting for his life after he and his husband tested positive for COVID-19.
J. Heider said his husband, Thom Carr, was in critical condition on a ventilator.
“That’s been the hardest thing of all is not to be there and to be able to be supportive and to have to know that I’m there and bringing him love and support,” Heider said.
Heider said if he knew then what he knows now, he wouldn’t have attended the party.
“I think that we were operating under the guidance of our leadership at that time, the president, the governor, other people were saying go about your lives, live your lives. At that time they were saying it’s no worse than the flu,” Heider said.