At least two customers tested positive for COVID-19 and officials fear there could be many more cases due to the lack of masks or social distancing at a Hudson Valley bar.

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On Wednesday, Sullivan County Public Health Services confirmed two people who visited Nelly’s Sports Bar at 456 Broadway in Monticello on Saturday, Aug. 15 tested positive for COVID-19. Another person is hospitalized and presumed to be positive pending test results, officials say.

“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.”

Following an investigation, health officials say few or no individuals were wearing masks or social distancing at the sports bar that evening.

“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,” McGraw said in a press release. “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.”

Anyone who went to the bar on Saturday, Aug. 15, may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, officials say. Anyone who went to the bar should contact Sullivan County Public Health Services at 845-292-5910.

“The risk is potentially higher due to people not wearing masks or following current guidelines and protocols for prevention of COVID-19 transmission,” McGraw said. “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.”

COVID-19 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

“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.