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COVID-19: Northern Westchester HS Graduation Cluster Extends To Neighboring School District

More than a dozen people have tested positive for COVID-19 after a graduation ceremony at Horace Greeley High School. Photo Credit:
Westchester County Executive George Latimer discussing COVID-19
Westchester County Executive George Latimer discussing COVID-19 Video Credit: Official Westchester Gov Videos

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cluster that broke out following a Northern Westchester graduation ceremony has spread to neighboring communities.

The outbreak tied to the Horace Greeley High School graduation in Chappaqua last weekend has now led to 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including at least three students from Pleasantville who had contact with students during post-graduation gatherings.

Two families that traveled to Florida in recent weeks and returned back to Westchester attended the Horace Greeley High School drive-in graduation at the Chappaqua train station and subsequent parties on Saturday, June 20, Westchester County Executive George Latimer said this week.

The students did not exhibit signs of the virus initially, but have since tested positive for the virus.

The number of positive COVID-19 cases reported as a result has jumped from 12 to 14 to 19 this week as a result of the graduation ceremony alone.

“We saw how this started in Westchester with the index patient in New Rochelle,” he said. “One patient took sick, attended some religious events over a weekend, and inadvertently infected other people at no fault of his own.

“That’s how we went from one to a cluster of 100, to 1,000, into the situation we have now.”

Latimer made note that the outbreak may not be contained to Chappaqua and New Castle, there were also some attendees from nearby towns who attended the event and went to graduation parties, specifically citing Mount Pleasant.

He said that anyone who attended the graduation should get tested for COVID-19 and possibly quarantine themselves.

“This particular incident happened in Chappaqua, but it could have happened anywhere, or in any neighboring county. It’s the dynamic of any high school graduation across the country,” Latimer said.

“The fact that it happened here is not a particular mark, but it’s important to understand that if it can happen anywhere then the things we keep saying like ‘wear a mask’ and ‘social distancing’ are essential,” he added. “It doesn’t have to be a high school graduation, it could be an Independence Day Event that you host at your home.” 

In Westchester, 266,962 - more than 25 percent of the county’s population - people have been tested for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the state Department of Health. There have been 34,838 (13 percent) positive tests, which results in 1,425 residents’ fatalities.

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