‘Careless’ dance competition sparks COVID outbreak quarantining 300, NY officials say

Katie Camero
·2 min read

Multiple students attended a dance competition in New York last week despite having COVID-19 symptoms, officials said. Now, more than 300 children and their families are quarantining, with another 300 required to self-monitor, according to Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente.

More than 20 cases have been reported so far, a number that is “currently growing” since the April 17 event in Syracuse, Picente said during a Tuesday news conference.

Eighteen of the 20 coronavirus cases involve kids as young as 6 and as old as 17 from multiple school districts. Picente said it’s possible more districts will be affected and may have to switch to remote learning to prevent further COVID-19 spread.

The dance competition, which was not named, has led to the county’s “largest” and “fastest cluster of cases and impact.”

“Careless behavior is preventing us from getting back to normal and punishing those who are doing the right thing. So, this can all be avoided, as we’ve been saying all along,” Picente said, adding that the growing number of cases are “unnecessary.”

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He blamed the “failure [of] others to follow simple safety guidelines, like wearing masks, social distancing, testing and the most simple of staying home and not participating in activities if you have symptoms” for the general public’s frustration over not being able to do what they want during the pandemic.

It’s unknown if the dance competition, which likely involved other dance studios in the area, required students, parents and teachers to wear masks during the event, making it unclear how the coronavirus spread to so many people.

Picente did not name the local dance studio out of confidentiality, but he did reveal that the school “did not have a plan in place to operate in what is classified as a high-risk activity in New York.”

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