MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – A second man who attended the Winter Party Festival in Miami Beach last month has died of COVID-19.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the National LGBTQ Task Force said they are mourning the loss of Ron Rich. The post said Rich, who served on the hospitality team, was well known for his big smile and warmth.
“Ron was a very sweet guy. Heart of gold. He was always there. He was one out those volunteers you didn’t have to worry about. Once you told him what to do, he got it done. Then he would come back to you and ask, ‘how else can I help?’,” said Victor Gimenez, executive director of the Outshine Film Festival.
Gimenez knew Rich for the last 5 years. Rich passed away over the weekend.
“My main reaction was complete surprise in how quickly it happened. Within a week of being admitted to the hospital, he was gone. It floored me. It’s giving me the goosebumps right now,” said Gimenez.
The first man to succumb to the virus after attending the festival was 40-year-old Israel Carreras of North Miami. Days after attending, he developed symptoms. He passed away last Thursday. He was Miami-Dade’s first reported COVID-19 death.
The festival was held in Miami Beach on March 4-10th. The first closures put in place by the city were March 15th. That’s when they closed certain sections of the beach and implemented an 11 p.m. curfew.
At least nine people who attended the festival have tested positive for COVID-19.
The event, which about 3,500 people attend, is a fundraiser for the National LGBTQ task force.