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PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY: Positive COVID-19 Cases with Exposures at Nelly's Sports Bar in Monticello

Monticello, NY – Sullivan County Public Health Services is alerting anyone who visited Nelly’s Sports Bar at 456 Broadway in Monticello on Saturday, August 15, that they may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and to contact Public Health Services at 845-292-5910.

Two individuals who visited the bar on the night of August 15, 2020 have tested positive, and one additional person is hospitalized and presumed to be positive pending test results. As far as Public Health staff can determine, few or no individuals were wearing masks or social distancing at the sports bar that evening.

“The more an individual interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread,” explained Public Health Director Nancy McGraw. “The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in a restaurant or bar setting if people are in very close proximity to each other and drinking alcohol.”

COVID-19 is mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. It is thought that the virus may spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose or mouth, causing infection. Therefore, personal prevention practices (such as hand-washing, staying home when sick) and environmental cleaning and disinfection are important principles to keep in mind. 

Fortunately, there are a number of actions operators of restaurants and bars can take to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread.

“The risk is potentially higher due to people not wearing masks or following current guidelines and protocols for prevention of COVID-19 transmission,” said McGraw. “If you start to develop symptoms of COVID-19, we urge you to contact either your healthcare provider or Sullivan County Public Health Services at 292-5910 x 0 and ask for an Infection Control nurse.”

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Possible symptoms COVID-19 include one or more of the following:

•           Fever or chills

•           Cough

•           Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

•           Fatigue

•           Muscle or body aches

•           Headache

•           New loss of taste or smell

•           Sore throat

•           Congestion or runny nose

•           Nausea or vomiting

•           Diarrhea

If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

•           Trouble breathing

•           Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

•           New confusion

•           Inability to wake or stay awake

•           Bluish lips or face

Call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Individuals who have questions regarding access for testing should call their health care provider or the New York State COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065, or visit the NYSDOH website at https://covid19screening.health.ny.gov. Sullivan County’s coronavirus information page, including the latest statistics, can be found at www.sullivanny.us/departments/publichealth/coronavirus.

Don’t become complacent

“While the number of cases in Sullivan County has been in the single digits for several weeks, this is slowly increasing. As of today, August 26, 2020, we have 14 active cases, and there are 29 people on quarantine being monitored for symptoms. These are individuals with a known direct exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19,” noted McGraw.

Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19 – meaning you could be transmitting coronavirus without knowing it.

“Thinking that we’re past this pandemic, or that we’re immune to it, or that we don’t need to wear a mask and social distance anymore, is foolish and can have serious consequences for the health of others who may be vulnerable or have underlying health conditions,” stated McGraw. “If we ignore the existing scientific evidence, the number of cases in Sullivan County will be guaranteed to climb again. The demonstrated irresponsibility of some individuals are putting many other people at risk by not taking these preventive measures seriously.”