COVID-19 clusters confirmed at Union Co. graduation ceremony and among middle school staff

COVID-19 cases reported after graduation ceremonies

UNION COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Union County Public Health officials say they have confirmed two COVID-19 clusters related to school functions.

Officials have identified 16 people who tested positive for COVID-19 who all attended the Marvin Ridge High School graduation. A portion of the individuals attended additional graduation-related gatherings not affiliated with the school district, “however the only common link among all of the positive individuals was the graduation ceremony.”

The second cluster was identified at East Union Middle School and involved five staff members who were working together, officials said.

There is no word on the current condition of any of the new patients and no names have been released per privacy protocols.

“COVID-19 transmission can occur 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, so there is the possibility of additional individuals who have not developed symptoms yet or who may be positive and asymptomatic. Individuals who attended the Marvin Ridge High School graduation, please follow the 3 Ws and take additional precautions when interacting with individuals from our vulnerable population,” health leaders said. “If attendees or someone in their home develops symptoms, seek out COVID-19 testing from your physician.”

For additional testing opportunities in and around Union County, you can visit the Union County COVID-19 webpage.

Officials say contact with a positive person is currently “the highest transmission method within Union County, accounting for 43% of total cases as of July 7, 2020.”

Union County Public Schools Board Chair Melissa Merrell issued a statement Tuesday night.

“As Union County Public Schools held graduations, the district provided clear health and safety guidance for graduates and their guests. Ceremonies included social distancing protocols, and staff encouraged all attendees to wear face coverings. In addition, hand sanitizer or hand washing stations were available at each stadium,” she said.”

For additional information on clusters and outbreaks, visit the NCDHHS Dashboard.

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