Oth­ers from magic club test pos­i­tive for virus

The Kansas City Star - - Front Page - BY JUDY L. THOMAS [email protected]­star.com

Two more peo­ple who at­tended a March 5 ma­gi­cian group’s meet­ing also at­tended by Dennis Wil­son, who was Johnson County’s first coro­n­avirus death, have tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19, the head of the group said Wed­nes­day night.

David Sandy, pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Broth­er­hood of Ma­gi­cians Ring 129, whose monthly meet­ing the three at­tended, said the man and his wife are self-quar­an­tined at their home.

“They couldn’t go to the hos­pi­tal be­cause they were only tak­ing peo­ple in the hos­pi­tals that needed ven­ti­la­tors or were hav­ing breath­ing prob­lems,” Sandy told The Star late Wed­nes­day. “And they weren’t hav­ing any breath­ing is­sues.”

Sandy said the man is a ma­gi­cian and his wife has been his as­sis­tant for many years. He said he talked to the man Tues­day night and was told that nei­ther he nor his wife had been able to keep anything down for more than a week.

“Of course ev­ery­one’s con­cerned, be­cause we’re a very

tight-knit close group,” he said. “We’ve known each other for many, many years. And she’s fighting cancer right now, go­ing through chemo­ther­apy treat­ment.

“It is pretty heartwrenc­h­ing. We’re like a fam­ily.”

Sandy told The Star that he had not been con­tacted by any health de­part­ments.

“We did send out an email blast letting peo­ple know what had hap­pened, and I checked the sign-in sheets for ev­ery­body who was in at­ten­dance to make sure they were in the loop as to what was go­ing on,” he said. “But it’s hard to tell peo­ple that may have been ex­posed to go get tested when they can’t get tested un­less they’re sick.”

Dennis Wil­son, 74, of Lenexa, a re­tired school su­per­in­ten­dent, died Satur­day morn­ing just five days af­ter tests con­firmed he had coro­n­avirus. His is the first death to be re­ported in Johnson County.

For the past 25 years, Wil­son had been a hobby ma­gi­cian, per­form­ing on stage and for cor­po­rate events, pri­vate func­tions, fes­ti­vals, fairs and school fundraiser­s.

Like the cou­ple who is sick, he was a mem­ber of the In­ter­na­tional Broth­er­hood of Ma­gi­cians Ring 129, the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Kansas City-area chap­ter.

Wil­son and the cou­ple had at­tended the chap­ter’s March 5 monthly meet­ing at the Hamp­ton Inn near In­ter­state 35 and 75th Street in Mer­riam. A photo taken dur­ing the meet­ing shows the three sitting next to each other.

Sandy said about 30 peo­ple at­tended the gath­er­ing. He said no oth­ers have re­ported hav­ing any symp­toms.

Sandy told chap­ter mem­bers about the cou­ple’s ill­ness in a Face­book post Tues­day night.

“It is with great con­cern that I tell you that two of our great friends and long­stand­ing Ring mem­bers are very sick and have been pos­i­tively con­firmed to have the CoVid-19 virus,” he said, adding that he’d known them both for most of his life.

“They both be­friended me when I was just a kid. They both are very, very spe­cial peo­ple to me... as well as all mem­bers of our Ring.”

Sandy said the man gave him per­mis­sion to share the news be­cause they “would like all of the prayers for their re­cov­ery as they can get.”

“Both of them are a vi­tal long-stand­ing part of our fam­ily,” he said, “and we want them to over­come this hor­ri­ble af­flic­tion.”

Sandy said there’s no way to know how or where the three con­tracted the virus.

“We have no idea,” he said. “For all we know, be­cause we meet at a ho­tel, it could have been resid­ual on a sur­face at the ho­tel. Or some­one could have picked it up at a gas pump.”

Sandy told mem­bers, how­ever, to be care­ful when making as­sump­tions.

“Please un­der­stand that this virus can be trans­ferred in count­less ways,” he said, “touch­ing a door­knob or other hard sur­face, ca­sual con­tact in a store or any­where really, a gas pump han­dle, a credit card ma­chine, the list just goes on and on for­ever. Yes, our Ring has suf­fered an un­speak­able loss with the pass­ing of Dennis... and now we’re all pray­ing for speedy and full re­cov­er­ies for” the other cou­ple, he said. “In my opin­ion, we need to fo­cus on the present sit­u­a­tion and stay­ing healthy our­selves in­stead of try­ing to ‘back­track’ through as­sump­tion and im­pli­ca­tion…

“Our Ring has been very trans­par­ent with the re­cent de­vel­op­ments and has no­ti­fied ev­ery­one in­volved as best we can through this Face­book page and an email blast. Peo­ple know when and where they’ve been, and if they’ve at­tended any of our Ring func­tions lately, they are al­ready self-aware of what they should look for if they have con­cerns.”

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