A cluster of coronavirus cases has been linked to an early voting site on New York’s Long Island, according to a local executive. The cluster, which occurred at a Suffolk County polling site, has led to at least 10 confirmed COVID-19 cases, six of which have occurred among poll workers.
An additional 48 contacts are under quarantine in relation to the cluster, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a Facebook update on Wednesday.
A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) several weeks before Election Day called for stronger mitigation at the polls after an analysis of a Delaware primary found that only 54% of poll workers said voters were wearing masks correctly. However, the agency then said that quarantined, coronavirus-ill voters could still show up to the polls to cast their ballot in-person.
And past research has revealed that COVID-19 is likely most contagious before symptoms begin to show, causing concern among voters that standing in line for long hours potentially in an enclosed area could up the risk of spread.
The cluster in Suffolk County comes as the area is experiencing an uptick in spread.
“We have seen a steady uptick in our numbers,” Bellone said in the update, adding that the county has enacted a number of enforcement actions to combat the spread.
Bellone said Suffolk County is averaging a 1.5% positive rate across the region.
“We have not been below 1% since Oct. 21,” he said.
According to the county’s health department, 55 patients are hospitalized, an increase of 13 over the last 24 hours. Six of those patients are in ICU. The county has seen nearly 50,000 cases since the outbreak began.
“These numbers and the fact they are ticking up are a concern within the context of where we are,” Bellone said Wednesday. “With the cold weather, with the winter approaching, with the virus surging in other parts of the country, with the virus surging literally around the world — these numbers are a concern.”
Bellone also mentioned a second cluster stemming from a gathering of more than 30 high school students that resulted in three positive cases and spurred the district to switch to remote learning because of the number of contacts in quarantine.
Fox News’ Kayla Rivas contributed to this report.