1,429 audience members who attended the HK Phil Orchestra concert last week urged to be tested as the infected bass clarinet player has high viral load

Lorenzo Antonio Iosco

14th October 2020 – (Hong Kong) A 35-year-old foreign bass clarinet player of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Lorenzo Antonio Iosco has tested preliminarily positive for COVID-19. He started to develop a fever on the 11th of this month and visited North Lantau Hospital and Union Hospital respectively on the same day before being tested positive in preliminary diagnosis. The patient participated in an orchestra performance at the Concert Hall of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on the night of 9th and 10th of this month. The CHP appeals to the audience attending the concert of the orchestra on those two days to be tested for the virus.

As the two performances involved a large number of staff and audience, the CHP appealed to the audience who attended the concert on the two days to be tested for the virus. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department stated that there were 1,429 audience members in the two days. The CHP stated that the patient lives in Tower 2, Phase 1, Coastal Skyline, Tung Chung, and his family members are temporarily asymptomatic and have been sent to the quarantine centre. The CHP will distribute sample bottles to other residents at the patient’s apartment block. Since the patient could wear a mask during the performance, more than 90 musicians who performed on the same stage are classified as close contacts and are being arranged for quarantine. It is understood that the patient’s CT value is 15, indicating a high viral load and strong infectious power. Preliminary investigations revealed that more than 50 backstage staff who participated in the two performances had no contact with the patient during the period, and they wore masks. The CHP will arrange virus testing for them.

Principal Clarinet at Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Andrew Simon of HK Phil is also one of the members designated for quarantine. He uploaded a picture on Facebook last night (13th). It can be seen that the staff of the Department of Health wearing full protective equipment picked him up to go to the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre, he said that he saw the mother, students and friends of Lorenzo in the vehicle and estimated that he would be quarantined for 14 days.

According to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, there are 1,971 seats in the Concert Hall of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. The number of audience at Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra concerts on 9th and 10th October and is 709 and 720 respectively, which did not exceed half of the original capacity. There were at most 4 connected seats for the audience, and there were 4 empty seats between each 4 connected seats, and the seats were evenly distributed. In addition, the CHP stated that it would distribute sample bottles to the staff of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and other staff of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. The epidemiological investigation of the case is still ongoing.

It is recommended that the audience who have attended the two performances pay attention to their physical condition and seek medical advice as soon as possible if they are uncomfortable. Even if there is no symptom, the existing free virus testing services should be used as much as possible, including testing at the government’s 4 temporary testing centres in Wanchai, Kwai Tsing, Kowloon City and Yau Tsim Mong, or they can go to the General Outpatient Clinics of the Hospital Authority to obtain the Deep throat saliva sample collection kits.