Suffolk: New Super-spreader Events Include Cutchogue Wedding

A wedding at the North Fork Country Club and a birthday party in Bellport, both on Oct. 17, have proved to be super-spreader events for the Covid-19 coronavirus, says Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who is urging residents to avoid large gatherings and adhere to public health guidelines over the Halloween weekend.

In a press conference Thursday, Mr. Bellone announced that the North Fork Country Club has been fined $15,000 for violating New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order limiting gatherings to 50 people, and $2,000 for other violations of the Suffolk County sanitary code.

Mr. Bellone said 30 of the 91 people who attended the wedding have tested positive for Covid-19, and 159 of their contacts are now in quarantine. The State Liquor Authority also announced it is investigating the event.

The wedding led to cases of the virus in six local school districts, including Mattituck High School, the Hampton Bays School District, East Quogue Elementary School, Northport High School, Eastport-South Manor High School and Paul J. Gelinas High School in East Setauket.

This is the second time the county has issued fines for violations of the public gathering executive order — 37 people tested positive for the virus after a Sept. 25 Sweet Sixteen party at the Miller Place Inn, after which 270 people were quarantined, including people affiliated with 35 school districts.

The Bellport birthday party, which was at a private home and had about 50 people in attendance, did not violate the governor’s executive order, but it did lead to 26 cases of Covid-19 and the quarantine of 132 other people.

Mr. Bellone added that police responded Saturday night, Oct. 24, to a house party in Farmingville with 200 to 300 people in attendance, mostly minors. The homeowners were issued a $2,500 fine for violating the executive order involving gatherings, and also received citations for violating the state’s social host laws against serving alcohol to minors.

Mr. Bellone added that police responded Saturday night, Oct. 24, to a house party in Farmingville with 200 to 300 people in attendance, mostly minors. The homeowners were issued a $2,500 fine for violating the executive order involving gatherings, and also received citations for violating the state’s social host laws against serving alcohol to minors.

The county had not yet traced any cases of the virus to the party, which happened just days ago.

“This type of blatant disregard for the wellbeing of others is not only extremely disappointing, it will not be tolerated. If you violate the rules you will be caught,” said Mr. Bellone. “We’ve been through too much, and experienced too much pain, anxiety and harm. This kind of activity is what threatens to bring us back…. It’s a threat to our public health and our continued economic recovery.

The county reported Wednesday that 1.9 percent of people tested for Covid-19 in the prior 24 hours tested positive, a total of 169 new cases. The county has hovered around a 1 percent positivity rate for months, and this is a significant jump.

While Mr. Bellone said the county health department does not believe there’s “any further community spread at this time,” he cautioned that some cities in New Jersey are going back into lockdown, along with much of Europe.

“We do not want that to happen in Suffolk County,” he said, adding that the county’s low infecton rate “isn’t a mistake.”

“We followed the guidelines, we socially distanced and we acted responsibly,” he said.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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