No New COVID-19 Infections Yet From Holy Innocents Exposure, County Reports

There have been no new cases of COVID-19 in the county resulting from last week’s announcement that two priests and a church staff member at Holy Innocents Church in Pleasantville had tested positive for the virus.

County Executive George Latimer said Tuesday that 205 tests were administered over the weekend to people who attended four days of Masses or a First Communion ceremony at the church from Aug. 24 through Aug. 30.

The county is awaiting results from the remainder of the tests before proclaiming that any potential outbreak has been contained, he said.

“Right now, we’re very encouraged. It’s very good news but my nature is to always be kind of cautious,” Latimer said. “I never parade around with good news because you never know when things might be a slight bit different as the next day goes by.”

The church revealed late last week that the priests, Fr. Luke Hoyt and Fr. Frank Sutman, tested positive for COVID-19. That required anyone who had attended Masses on Aug. 24, 26, 29 and 30 and a First Communion ceremony on Aug. 29 to quarantine for two weeks from the time they attended any of those events, health officials said.

Last Friday, it was estimated by county officials that as many as 400 people may have attended the Masses or the ceremony during the days in question. Everyone who was at the church on those days must remain in quarantine even if they have had a negative test result, county Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler said last week.

Latimer said the county continues to try to reach everyone who may have been at Holy Innocents during those four days. He said the First Communion ceremony may be the most challenging to trace and contact because there were people who attended who live outside the immediate area.

There has been no spike in Pleasantville, where the county showed six active cases in the village on Tuesday, or its neighboring communities since last week, Latimer noted.

However, there has been an uptick in active cases throughout Westchester during the past week. As of Monday, there were 572 cases in the county, up from around 500 or just below that mark for most of the summer. On Monday there were 37 positives from 3,079 test results in the county, a rate of 1.2 percent, the state reported.

Most encouraging, Westchester currently has 28 COVID-19-related hospitalizations, nearly steady from last week. The county has not recorded a virus-related death in nine days, Latimer said.

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