Yonkers Raceway may have been Ground Zero for the spread of the deadly coronavirus in New Jersey.
COVID-19 cases linked to the Westchester County, NY, harness-racing track led to a cluster of infections in the Garden State, where a veteran fixture at the track became the first New Jersey death from the global pandemic, nj.com reported Sunday.
The Yonkers track was also linked to other New Jersey deaths and the fatalities of two people outside the state, as well as at least a dozen other confirmed cases, the report said.
“I don’t think anybody has any doubt it started at Yonkers,” horse owner and trainer Paul Minore told nj.com. “That was a hot spot for sure. Nobody is blaming Yonkers for it. Nobody knew what was going on at the time.
“But there’s no doubt some people had it in early March, and it’s spread here just like it has in a lot of other places people work around the country,” Minore said.
The Post reported March 10 that the historic racing facility was shutting down after a long-time trainer there died from the deadly bug.
The death of John Brennan, 69, of Bergen County also prompted MGM Resorts International, which owns the track, to ask employees who worked with Brennan to self-quarantine as a precaution.
But according to nj.com, several other people linked to the track were infected, including a family of four with “deep ties” to the site.
In a statement Sunday, the Yonkers track only said, “As always, the health and safety of our customers and employees is our top priority.”
The track remains closed.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted Saturday that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state had risen to more than 34,000, with 846 deaths. There were 200 new deaths and 4,331 more cases overnight.