New York State health officials have linked several new COVID-19 cases to a large party in Rockland County earlier this month, but people had refused to cooperate with efforts to trace a potential outbreak.
The county issues eight subpoenas to compel cooperation, taking a similar tactic used during a measles outbreak two years ago in Rockland.
It is believed to mark the first time Tri-State area contact tracing efforts have used the legal system to deal with noncompliance during the COVID pandemic.
County official said Thursday that all eight people were cooperating with tracers following the subpoenas.
The June 13 party in New City linked to a new potential cluster of novel coronavirus cases was the first of three large gatherings reported in the county in the last two weeks.
The party host was reportedly positive for the coronavirus and symptomatic at the time, but held the party anyway.
Officials say multiple people who attended one of the three parties have refused to cooperate with contact tracers.
Alongside coronavirus testing, contact tracing is believed to be a crucial tool in limiting further public health and economic damage from the virus.
As of Wednesday, Rockland County had the highest percentage of daily positive COVID tests (1.2 percent) in the Mid-Hudson region. Health officials note that the figure is low relative to the worst of the virus a few months ago, but they are wary of a potential surge that could short circuit reopening plans.
New York has endured the most COVID-19-related deaths of any U.S. state.
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