ORLANDO, Fla. – The coronavirus continues to negatively impact the Orange County conference industry as a major health technology conference announced Thursday that it was canceling an event due to health risks.
The HIMSS Global Health Conference and Exhibition was scheduled to start Monday at the Orange County Convention Center, where nearly “45,000 health information and technology professionals, clinicians, executives and market suppliers” would attend from around the world, according to the HIMSS website.
President Donald Trump had previously announced he planned to attend the conference.
“We recognize all the hard work that so many have put into preparing for their presentations and panels that accompany every HIMSS conference,” said Hal Wolf, president and CEO of HIMSS. “Based on evaluation of evolving circumstances and coordination with an external advisory panel of medical professionals to support evidence-based decision making, it is clear that it would be an unacceptable risk to bring so many thousands of people together in Orlando next week.”
Officials said in a news release that this is the first time in 58 years the event has been canceled.
“It is now clear that cancellation is unavoidable in order to meet HIMSS’ obligation to protect the health and safety of the global HIMSS community, employees and local residents, as well as for the healthcare providers tasked with keeping our U.S. and global communities healthy,” the news release said.
The announcement marks the second conference set to happen in Orange County this week to cancel or move an event online due to coronavirus fears.
Ellucian, a higher education software company, announced Tuesday it was shifting to a virtual-only conference in April.
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Florida has four patients with the virus, including one case that is awaiting federal confirmation, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday. Five other Florida residents are being treated for the coronavirus outside the state.