High school seniors with coronavirus likely got sick at graduation parties, officials say

High school seniors with coronavirus likely got sick at graduation parties, officials say

NORTH FULTON, Ga. — Fulton County health officials said they believe a cluster of COVID-19 cases from graduates of the Lovett School is tied to graduation parties, but they have no connection to the school’s official graduation celebration.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray was at the Lovett School, where there are a lot of rumors flying around. Last week, a group of girls in Lovett sweatshirts showed off their positive coronavirus test results on TikTok.

Fulton County Health Director Lynn Paxton said they are having trouble tracking the real size and scope of this cluster because families are reluctant or afraid to talk to them.

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"We’re doing our best to investigate this as we can within the limits of people choosing to pick up calls," Paxton said.

Lovett will send out a new email to parents Thursday night urging them to work with the health department.

Paxton said that in spite of all of the social media chatter, the official count of cases tied to Lovett is 18.

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“I have no evidence that there are anywhere near 70 people infected,” Paxton said. “We just have not seen anything that makes us believe that at all.”

Lovett sent Gray a statement, reading, in part:

"The school has been made aware of several off-campus social gatherings but has no information on any private events."

The health department said it’s highly unlikely anyone was exposed at Lovett’s socially distanced graduation parade.

“What makes more sense is that it was after it was over and people went to parties,” Paxton said.

Gray pulled the latest COVID-19 geographic data, which revealed that the three Buckhead-area ZIP codes surrounding Lovett had the three highest percentage increases in COVID-19 cases in all of Fulton County, all up more than 20%. There were a total of 82 new cases in the area from May 22 to May 27.

"I’s a simple plea of work with us, so that you can help us to help you," Paxton said.

Lovett students were not the only ones celebrating graduation with gatherings. Health officials said this isn’t about punishing or embarrassing anybody, but to prevent the spread, they need to get an accurate picture of who was at these parties and may have been exposed.

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