CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo is ordering state health officials to investigate potential coronavirus exposure in Westchester County, after someone who attended a drive-in graduation ceremony for Horace Greeley High School students tested positive for COVID-19.
The individual recently traveled to Florida and experienced symptoms after the ceremony on June 20 at the Chappaqua train station, according to the governor’s office.
Since then, at least four more people tested positive after coming into contact with that person.
Cuomo’s office said all who tested positive are currently self-isolating, but many more should self-quarantine.
In addition to the graduation ceremony, the individual attended a non-school related event with Horace Greeley juniors and seniors, as well as students from surrounding school districts.
The governor’s office said anyone who attended the ceremony or subsequent events should quarantine until July 5, and that the state’s contact tracing program will reach out to those who should get tested.
Susan Maher was there with her family.
“It was a gorgeous night. We were in the car most of the time,” she told CBS2’s Nick Caloway during a Zoom call.
For her, the quarantine order means closing her small business.
“It really is kind of a big teaching moment for all of us to really sit down and think how our behavior is going to affect others,” Maher said.
Sarah Alvi and her sister, Sophia, stayed in their vehicle and watched the graduation from afar.
“Nearly no one was wearing a mask. It was as if COVID hadn’t even existed for the last three months,” Sarah Alvi said.
They say it’s alarming how quickly a surge in cases in Florida can spread here.
“It’s scary. Florida may be far away, but it just shows how interconnected our world is and our country is, and how the decisions of one state’s governor ultimately now can affect a small town in Westchester,” Sophia Alvi said.
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County Executive George Latimer says this cluster mirrors one in early March when New Rochelle became the epicenter of the virus in the region due to one patient, and he worries this could lead to the same situation.
“It went from one to 100 to 1,000 cases in the snap of a finger,” Latimer said.
Superintendent Christine Ackerman said in a statement the district is “fully cooperating” with the health department’s investigation.
The Chappaqua Central School District says the drive-in graduation strictly followed Department of Health guidelines and that the district provided clear guidance for families, but that “numerous individuals failed to follow our protocols.”