At least 10 people have tested positive and 48 others have been forced to quarantine after New York health officials traced a COVID-19 cluster back to an early voting site in the Hamptons.
Six of those who tested positive at the Stony Brook Southampton campus were poll workers, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Wednesday.
All those who tested positive are currently isolating, along with 48 other people they had been in close contact with, Bellone said.
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services is urging anyone who cast a ballot at Stony Brook between October 26 and October 28 to be aware of their potential exposure and get tested.
‘The Suffolk County Department of Health Services learned on November 3 that a person who worked at the Stony Brook Southampton early-voting site tested positive for COVID-19. Subsequently, five additional poll workers at this location and four personal contacts of those workers have tested positive for the coronavirus,’ Health Department spokeswoman Grace Kelly-McGovern said in a statement.
‘While the department does not believe there to be any additional community spread from this case, we advise individuals who voted early at this location from October 26-28 to monitor their overall health for COVID symptoms and contact their health care practitioner if they become symptomatic,’ she added.
Six of those who tested positive were poll workers at the site at the Stony Brook Southampton (shown on October 31) campus, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Wednesday
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services is urging anyone who cast a ballot at Stony Brook between October 26 and October 28 to be aware of their potential exposure
All those who tested positive are currently isolating, along with 48 people they had been in contact with (Stony Brook Southampton College shown above)
As the nation braces itself for a second surge of coronavirus this winter, Bellone warned that on a local level Suffolk County is already currently experiencing an uptick in cases.
He said that the infection rate in the county has not been below one percent since October 21.
‘Over the last week, we’ve averaged a nearly 1.5 percent positivity rate,’ he said. ‘These numbers are a concern with winter approaching, [and] with the virus surging in other parts of the country.’
Bellone also warned against gatherings that could spark further clusters, ahead of flu season.
The executive pointed toward a recent gathering of 32 students of the Shoreham-Wading River High School in the area that led to three positive cases and saw the entire school district to close their campuses and return to virtual lessons.
A large number of teachers who had to quarantine, Bellone said. Currently, 161 people are in quarantine, including 11 school staff members, 140 students and 10 household contacts.
‘If precautions aren’t taken, and even if precautions are taken,’ gatherings can lead to coronavirus clusters, he said.
Bellone said the county had been averaging hospitalizations with the virus in the 20s over the past several months, but ‘hospitalizations are back up into the 40s at a regular level now, with the virus surging literally around the world.
‘These numbers are concerning. We cannot afford to slide back,’ he said. ‘Even with the guidelines in place, you can end up in situations like this.’
Currently, 42 individuals are hospitalized countywide, with four in intensive care. Five were discharged over the past 24 hours, Bellone said.
People queue to cast their ballots at a the Stony Brook campus polling station in Suffolk County of the New York State
As the nation braces itself for a second surge of coronavirus this winter, Bellone warned that on a local level Suffolk County is already seeing an uptick in cases
Bellon added that it’s critical to contain the spread of coronavirus in the region so that that it can continue its economic recovery.
In April, the county recorded over 1,000 new cases every day for several days, though eventually new cases dwindled to under 100 every day for most of the summer.
As of Thursday, Suffolk County has reported 49,854 cases of coronavirus. More than 2,000 people have died.
Last week, Bellone announced a $17,000 fine against the North Folk Country Club for violating Gov. Cuomo’s executive order that limits non-essential gatherings to 50 people, after it hosted a wedding for 90 people.
At least 30 of those guests later tested positive for COVID-19, and 159 of those guests’ close contacts have been told to quarantine.
The country club was fined an additional $2,000 for violating the county’s sanitary code, Bellone said, though he didn’t specify which aspect of the code the country club defied.
Earlier in October, the county fined a Long Island inn for hosting a Sweet 16 birthday party with 81 guests, 29 of whom tested positive for Covid-19.
A total of 270 people connected to the event were told to quarantine, the Suffolk County Health Department reported.
New York State as a whole has recorded 521,000 COVID-19 cases since March, and 32,000 deaths.
The former US epicenter, New York City, has recorded 271,000 of those cases – but officials suggested than number may actually be six times greater than reported.
Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai tested more than 10,000 blood samples for antibodies against COVID-19.
They found that about 22 percent of samples had antibodies, which means that around 1.7 million people in the city have previously been infected.
Meanwhile, more than 24,000 residents of the Big Apple have been killed by the deadly disease.