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COVID-19 parties? Health leaders are urging people not to do this

A nurse practitioner with Novant Health revealed Monday more patients are attending 'COVID-19 parties' to purposely get exposed to the virus.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Doctors, nurses, and state leaders including Governor Roy Cooper have strong words for people who are purposely exposing themselves to the coronavirus: don't do it.

"That is completely irresponsible and absolutely unacceptable," Governor Cooper said in a news conference Monday, "If you do that, you could easily kill someone you love."

Yolanda Enrich, a family nurse practitioner with Novant Health in Winston-Salem, told WFMY News 2 some patients who are coming to the respiratory assessment centers have revealed they are attending gatherings to try and get exposed to COVID-19. 

"They think that they will be immune to it and that they will be able to go back to normal," Enrich said, "It's definitely a trend that we have noticed over the past few days."

Enrich alongside many other medical experts strongly advise against it. First, healthcare workers do not know how long possible immunity to the coronavirus could even last once someone is exposed. Second, purposeful exposure will put high-risk populations in even more danger. 

"If you go around spreading this virus, maybe you were very lucky and have mild symptoms, but maybe somebody else that you expose to the virus [could have] a very poor outcome," Enrich said. 

Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services Department also addressed this issue. 

"There is no circumstance under which we want folks to actively pursue getting COVID-19," she said, "The reason that we are working so hard collectively to keep virus spread low is the fact that when there is more virus in our community, it not only impacts those who have it but particularly those who are at high risk of getting severe reactions to the disease.

"We implore folks not to do that. We are nowhere near herd immunity. A part would not help us in any way - please do not do that."

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