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Health Dept. Issues Isolation Order For Ballerina Who Performed After Testing COVID-19 Positive

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A teenage girl in “The Nutcracker” ballet, featuring several dozen students of Brooke Bailey’s dance and gymnastics school, performed two nights this week at the Alhambra Theatre when she should have been home in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, Christian County Health Director Kayla Bebout confirmed Friday.

The health department contacted the girl at least a few days before the first “Nutcracker” performance Tuesday to tell her she had tested positive for COVID-19 and needed to isolate. She received an additional written order Thursday after the health department learned she had not been in compliance.

The dancer also was contacted late Thursday afternoon and given instructions to not return to the Alhambra for performances that evening and tonight, Margaret Prim, executive director of the Pennyroyal Arts Council, said.

Parents of the other performers were notified in an email of a positive coronavirus case, Prim added.

The student performed with the ballet on Tuesday and Wednesday, potentially exposing other students to the coronavirus. 

Bebout said the dancer received an isolation order from the health department and agreed Thursday to comply with the order. 

“Due to the increased number of cases in Christian County … we have not been able to do all of the contact tracing for the additional exposure with ‘The Nutcracker’ that this dancer may have been part of,” Bebout told Hoptown Chronicle. “Therefore, if any parents have concerns,” they should call the health department, she said. 

“I think everybody needs to be extra cautious if they are attending [the ballet] or performing,” Bebout said. 

The health department worked with the arts council, which manages the Alhambra, to get the dancer in compliance with the isolation order. Bebout said she was not in contact with Bailey, who owns the dance school.

Bebout complimented Prim and the arts council for working to make the theater safe for live performances. The fact that a dancer performed after testing positive for the virus was not a poor reflection on the venue, said Bebout, because the arts council did not know the dancer had tested positive.

“I’ve got a great relationship with the health department and as soon [Bebout] called me and told me this, then I immediately took the steps she asked me to do,” Prim said. 

The final performance of “The Nutcracker” is scheduled for 6:30 tonight.

The Alhambra’s has approximately 650 seats, but the arts council is limiting audiences to 177 people to ensure 6 feet of space between family groups, said Prim. 

“After this show tonight we have a big sanitation from McGee Pest Control,” Prim said. 

The Alhambra will be open Sunday for “Storytime with Santa” at 1:30 p.m., followed by a double-feature movie showing of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Hoptown Chronicle contacted Bailey through social media Thursday afternoon but had not heard back from her when this story was published. 

(Jennifer P. Brown is the editor and founder of Hoptown Chronicle. Reach her at editor@hoptownchronicle.org.)

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