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Around 100 people attended a party in Rockland County, New York last month, and now local officials are serving subpoenas after nine guests tested positive for the coronavirus. The New York Times reports that the June 17 party was mostly comprised of individuals in their early 20s, and the event violated a state order that was in effect to prohibit gatherings of over 10 people in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
At the time of the party, the host showed symptoms of the virus and later tested positive for it. Eight guests also tested positive, and Rockland County officials are attempting to stop the cluster spreading further but have so far been unsuccessful in tracing who else might have been exposed. "My staff has been told that a person does not wish to, or have to, speak to my disease investigators," explained the county's health commissioner, Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert. "They hang up. They deny being at the party even though we have their names from another party attendee."
Due to the response they've since gotten from those who went to the party, county officials issued subpoenas on Wednesday to eight people believed to have attended. Anyone who does not comply at this stage and share further information will face fines of $2,000 a day. Officials added that they have been made aware of two other parties in the town of New City in which some of the guest might have overlapped, with one on June 20 and the other on June 27.
"I will not allow the health of our county to be compromised because of ignorance, stupidity or obstinance, or anything else," added Rockland County executive Ed Day.
Those who have cooperated with officials thus far have indicated some of the same individuals are planning a large party for Fourth of July weekend. In order to contain the virus, officials have indicated it is vital to know who might have had contacted with the nine confirmed cases from the first party.
As the country continues to open up, Ruppert has stressed that precautions still need to be taken in order to save more lives. "You may wish to be invincible, but you're not," said Ruppert. "None of us are against this dreadful disease."
She also took a moment to highlight that states that have reopened quicker than New York have recently reported an increase in new cases.