Public health officials’ mantra in the last few weeks as the holidays approached has been to avoid social gatherings, which are an excellent way to spread the COVID virus.
Two such instances that illustrate why this is so were reported Monday in the Capital Region, one ironic and one potentially criminal in nature.
Columbia County officials said that 15 members of a local church gathered to record a religious service for viewing by congregants who are avoiding gatherings. It turns out that one of the 15 was infected at the time, and now five are.
Warren County officials said its health workers have documented at least 10 new cases of COVID in recent days that appear to stem from a Dec. 18 underage drinking party and sleepover in another county that drew 50 or more revelers, one of whom was infected.
Contact tracing has been difficult, as those infected gave conflicting reports of who else was at the party.
Warren County did not identify the location, but Saratoga County confirmed indirectly that it was in Wilton.
Saratoga County officials have given no public indication they are looking into any such party — which would be in direct violation of the state’s 10-person limit on such gatherings as well as alcohol consumption laws — or looking at its potential impact on public health.
Asked specifically about a Dec. 18 party in Wilton, a spokesman provided a general quote from county Health Commissioner Dr. Daniel Kuhles on the importance of personal hygiene and distancing and said further comment was impossible because law enforcement is involved in the investigation.