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Two events in NY county turn into superspreaders that infect 56 people

Two events in a suburban New York county turned into coronavirus superspreaders that infected 56 people and sent almost 300 others to quarantine, officials said Wednesday. 

A wedding and a birthday party in Suffolk County, separately held on Oct. 17, led to dozens of COVID-19 infections and forced hundreds to isolate, Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone said during a press conference. 

“These kinds of superspreader events are a threat to our public health and to our continued economic recovery,” he said. 

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“We have come incredibly far and this — this kind of activity is what threatens to bring us back,” he added. 

Approximately 91 people attending the wedding at North Folk County Club in Cutchogue, Long Island, officials said, adding that 27 guests, two employees and an outside vendor tested positive and another 159 attendees are quarantined.

The wedding violated New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNew York City to add COVID-19 checkpoints at bridges, crossings Don't let 'experts' ruin your Thanksgiving Cuomo reverses on in-person Thanksgiving plans with family MORE’s (D) 50-person gathering limit, which means the country club could face $17,000 in fines, Bellone noted. North Folk Country Club did not immediately return a request from The Hill for comment. 

Fifty people attended the adult birthday party on the same day, which was in accordance with the executive order, but 26 people were infected and 132 are quarantined, he said. 

Bellone also mentioned a party last Saturday that had an estimated 200 to 300 attendees, who were mostly minors. That party’s host faces charges of giving underage minors alcohol and a potential $2,500 fine for disobeying Cuomo’s order, he added.

If coronavirus cases arise out of that party, the county health department will launch “a comprehensive case and contract tracing operation.”

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“This kind of blatant disregard for the well-being of others is not only extremely disappointing, it will not be tolerated,” Bellone said.

The press conference came two weeks after a birthday party at the county's Miller Place Inn resulted in the business being fined $12,000. The party led to 28 infections among students and nine infections among adults. 

As of Thursday morning, Suffolk County has confirmed 48,829 COVID-19 cases and 2,019 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. It ranks 20th among the counties with the most cases and the 15th deadliest.