Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced that the Suffolk County Department of Health Services issued a notice of formal hearing to the Miller Place Inn on October 10th to respond to various charges of COVID-19 violations. The notice follows a Sweet 16 super-spreader event held at the Miller Place Inn on September 25, which lead to 37 COVID-19 positive cases. 29 of those cases were individuals who attended the Sweet 16, seven were household contacts, and one case was a close contact of someone who attended the party.
“This was an egregious violation and should serve as a stark reminder of the consequences that exist for flouting COVID-19 protocols,” said Suffolk Country Executive Steve Bellone. “These rules and regulations exist for a reason - to keep New Yorkers safe - and we all have an obligation to act responsibly.”
According to health officials, the Miller Place Inn is charged with causing, permitting and serving as the venue for an indoor gathering of more than 50 persons and did not enforce New York State and County of Suffolk Department of Health COVID-19 restrictions. Additionally, the Miller Place in was charged with operating a food establishment in an unsanitary condition.
The legal action follows the reporting of several positive COVID-19 cases throughout the Sachem School District to Suffolk County Department of Health Services beginning on September 30th. After initiating comprehensive contact tracing investigations, the Health Department determined that the cases were connected to the Sweet 16 party held at the Miller Place Inn on September 25th.
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services took immediate action, and contacted the hosts of the event to obtain a copy of the guest list, which was provided voluntarily. Once health officials received the list, which comprised 81 guests, including 49 students and 32 adults, the department quarantined the entire guest list and entered the contact information into the county’s contact tracing system.
According to Health Commissioner Dr. Gregson Pigott, the situation is under control, and there is no community spread at this time. “This cluster should serve as a stark reminder of the consequences of violating COVID-19 rules and regulations,” said Dr. Pigott.
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services has identified 37 COVID-19 positive cases in connection to the Sweet 16 party: 29 of the positive cases attended the party, seven positive cases were household contacts, and one positive case was a close contact of an individual who attended the party.
To date health officials have identified 334 contacts, 151 who were non-school affiliated and 183 who were school affiliated. At present, 270 contact are under quarantine and 11 cases are under active isolation. Several contacts have already completed their quarantine period, as their exposure dates back to more than 14 days.
Health officials report that eight schools have reported positive cases in connection to the Sweet 16 party and 35 schools have at least one student who has been affected by the event, while one school has had as many as 74 students impacted.
NYS Executive Orders limit all non-essential gatherings to 50 or fewer people or 50% capacity, whichever is less. Fines for the violations include: $10,000 for violations of Section 12-B(2) of the Public Health Law and violations of New York Executive Orders and $2,000 fine due to violations of Suffolk County Sanitary Code.