Suffolk County officials doled out nearly $20,000 in fines for a series of COVID crowd violations that left more than 50 people infected and nearly 300 quarantined in recent days, officials said Wednesday.
The most serious violation stemmed from a wedding at a country club in Cutchogue, where about a third of 91 guests have tested positive and nearly 160 others were quarantined as a precaution. Six school districts have been impacted by the positive cases and associated risk of exposure, Suffolk County officials said. As a result of that superspreader event, $17,000 in fines were issued.
News 4 reported earlier this week on another one of the event violations -- a party in Farmingville that was busted with up to 300 people in attendance. Most of the attendees were minors, officials said. No positive cases connected to the party have been identified yet, they added, but the 47-year-old homeowner was charged with second-degree criminal nuisance and violating local social host laws. She also was handed $2,500 in fines from the county, officials said Wednesday.
Tracking Coronavirus in Tri-State
Also problematic: an adult birthday party in Bellport that left more than half (26) of 50 attendees infected; 132 people have been quarantined. That party did not violate gathering size rules so no fines were issued, though Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone used it as an example to showcase how quickly the virus can spread without precautions.
The crackdowns come amid a broader crackdown by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on social gatherings in certain hotspot areas of the state. While Suffolk County isn't one of those, by Cuomo's standards, it still must abide by the rules that remain in place statewide; parties of hundreds aren't permitted anywhere in New York at this point, and alcohol-infused bashes where minors are present have never been.
Suffolk County is one of the state's hardest-hit COVID counties. As of the state's latest data, it had nearly 49,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,000 fatalities, making it the 15th deadliest county for COVID in the entire country, according to data from Johns Hopkins.