New York to investigate potential coronavirus cluster from graduation after Florida traveler tests positive

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo conducts a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., after a meeting with President Trump at the White House on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call | Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday that the state’s department of health will investigate a high school graduation ceremony after a student who recently traveled to Florida tested positive for Covid-19, according to a press release. 

Four people who were in contact with the student have tested positive for the coronavirus since the drive-in ceremony was held on June 20 in Westchester county, just north of New York City, according to the release.

All of the individuals who have tested positive are now self isolating and anyone associated with the graduation ceremony at Chappaqua Train Station or any associated events are instructed to quarantine until July 5, the order stated. 

“New Yorkers have controlled the spread of this unprecedented virus by being smart and disciplined, and our progress to date is illustrated by the current low numbers of new cases and hospitalizations,” Cuomo said in a press release. “We’re prepared to do the aggressive testing and contact tracing required to slow and ultimately control any potential clusters of new cases like the one in Westchester County.”

It wasn’t made clear whether the department of health has concluded the student was infected in Florida or how many people at the ceremony were potentially exposed to the virus. A spokesperson for Cuomo wasn’t immediately available for comment. 

“The District repeatedly provided clear guidance and protocols for families that complied with all applicable health and safety orders and guidelines,” Christine Ackerman, superintendent of the Chappaqua Central School District, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, at the event, and despite police presence, numerous individuals failed to follow our protocols.”

The investigation comes only days after Cuomo, alongside New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, ordered all travelers arriving to their states from Florida, Texas and other states with spiking Covid-19 infection rates to self-quarantine for two weeks. 

People who don’t voluntarily quarantine for 14 days will be subject to fines and a mandatory quarantine. Cuomo said the fines will be $2,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second and up to $10,000 if they cause harm.

The coronavirus has shown signs of easing in New York while accelerating in the South and West. Florida reported more than 9,600 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, the second day of record breaking new cases, according to the state’s health department. 

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