#Rockland County issues subpoenas, fines to contain coronavirus cluster

#Rockland County issues subpoenas, fines to contain coronavirus cluster

July 1, 2020 | 2:13pm

Rockland County is playing hardball to contain a coronavirus cluster, issuing subpoenas and threatening $2,000 daily fines to force a group of partygoers to cooperate with health officials.

At issue is a party in mid-June in the town of Clarkstown where as many as 100 people were exposed to the deadly bug and eight have already tested positive — yet the revelers refuse to assist the county, reported Wednesday.

“My staff has been told that a person does not wish to or have to speak to my disease investigators,” county Health Commissioner Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said at a press conference.

“They hang up. They deny being at the party, even though we have found their names from another party attending or a parent provides us with the information. They do not answer their cell phones and do not call back.”

“This must stop,” Ruppert said. “Unfortunately, I am now forced by these circumstances to send subpoenas to the individuals who are required to cooperate with us. Failure to comply will be costly — $2,000 per day.”

People attending the party, young adults in their early 20s, were exposed to COVID-19 by the host, who was already showing symptoms, lohud said. But the eight people who later tested positive for the bug have rebuffed county investigators, who want to reach out to others they might have come in contact with and potentially infected.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day said Wednesday that “nobody is in trouble,” and that “it’s a matter of information.”

But Day also made it clear that the county wasn’t messing around.

“I don’t care who you are, who you know, how much money you make, where you live, or anything along those lines,” he said. “If you get in the way of a health department investigation, I will take and we will take every step necessary to ensure that we respond appropriately, and we’re taking a serious response.”

“We are deadly serious,” Day added. “We will not allow to have the health of our county compromised because of ignorance, stupidity, obstinance, or anything else for that matter.”

Officials said the subpoenas have been issued and the fines will start if the party attendees continue to refuse to cooperate.


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