NEW YORK - A new cluster of COVID-19 cases has appeared in Rockland County and officials are asking anyone who attended at least three house parties linked to the outbreak over the last two weeks to cooperate with officials and get tested.
At least nine people, all in their twenties, have tested positive for COVID-19 after the cluster was linked to a house party in West Nyack. Officials say the party’s host was already symptomatic and after 50-100 people were exposed, there were at least two other parties with the same guests in attendance in New City the following weekend. None of the people who have tested positive have been hospitalized.
County health officials say the fight to make sure all of those who were potentially exposed get tested has been an uphill one.
"Many do not answer their cell phones and do not call back," said Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert about efforts to contact the party's attendees. "Sometimes parents answer for their adult children and promise they have been home consistently when they have not been."
Rockland County Executive Ed Day says that those who refuse to cooperate with contact tracers will face steep fines.
“I am not going to stand idly by while you risk the health of this county,” Day said. “There are subpoenas issued this morning, eight of them, to force compliance. With those subpoenas, a failure to comply brings with it a $2,000 fine. That could be repeated every day."
Day said that he expects more parties over the holiday weekend, potentially with those same young adults who were exposed in attendance, but the county is hoping that extra police patrols will help target July 4th gatherings of over 25 people.