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Two Union County COVID-19 clusters identified following graduation ceremony, teachers working together

Health officials have confirmed that 16 individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 attended the Marvin Ridge High School graduation.

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — Union County Public Health is confirming two COVID-19 clusters that have been identified in the county. 

Health officials have confirmed that 16 individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, attended the Marvin Ridge High School graduation.

A portion of the individuals attended additional graduation-related gatherings not affiliated with Union County Public Schools, however the only common link among all of the positive individuals was the graduation ceremony, officials reported. 

Back in late May, the Union County Schools Board of Education voted to hold an in-person high school graduation, which violated North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper's current coronavirus restrictions.

RELATED: Union County to hold in-person graduation, violating governor's order

"As Union County Public Schools held graduations, the district provided clear health and safety guidance for graduates and their guests," Union County Public Schools said, in part, in a statement. "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."

 A second cluster has been identified at East Union Middle School involving five staff members who were working together. 

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. 

If attendees or someone in their home develops symptoms, seek out COVID-19 testing from your physician. 

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

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