Life

Four coronavirus clusters in Santa Cruz County traced to family gatherings


SANTA CRUZ — Four separate clusters of COVID-19 transmission in south Santa Cruz County are being investigated by the Public Health Division.

All known transmission is associated with close contact between households during family gatherings, according to a news release issued by the county Friday afternoon.

These gatherings, according to the county, include interaction between people from different social cohorts, including a multi-generational Mother’s Day gathering and a large gathering involving individuals who traveled from out of state.

Over the past week, the number of Santa Cruz County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 increased 20%, a development that coincides with a lowering of restrictions on state and local shelter-in-place orders. Under the orders, nonessential travel is prohibited and gatherings of any size are not allowed.

As of Friday afternoon, 186 people have tested positive for COVID-19 with 29 hospitalizations and 128 recoveries. There have been two deaths. Additionally, there have been 6,791 negative tests.

“I want to thank the community for all they have done so far to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel in a prepared statement. “But we can’t let our guard down now, there are still more lives to save.”

All clusters are being monitored and investigated by the Communicable Disease Unit, including contact tracing and isolation/quarantine guidance.

“We understand that as the shelter-in-place orders enter their third month, people have a strong desire to gather with friends and family, particularly on holidays when the weather is good,” said Jen Herrera, Santa Cruz County chief of public health. “We want residents to understand that they may unwittingly place those they love at risk for getting COVID-19, especially the most vulnerable among us.”

Should local counts continue to increase, the County’s efforts to reopen sectors of the community could be jeopardized or result in further restrictions, the county warned.

That’s why the Santa Cruz County Public Health Division is encouraging everyone to maintain social distancing and follow shelter-in-place orders during the extended Memorial Day weekend.

Local beaches remain off-limits between the hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., unless traversing the sand to engage in water activities. Residents are also advised to follow the order to wear face coverings while engaging others at work or in public. Those 12 and under are not required to wear a face-covering and those 2 and under must not wear one. Face coverings should be washed frequently.

In addition, residents should continue following basic hygiene practices including:

Washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.
Avoid touching your face.
Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.
Stay home when ill except to seek medical care.

Testing locations, including information about populations served, hours of operation and contact information, can be found on the County’s website at www.santacruzhealth.org/savelives.

For local information on COVID-19, go to www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus, call 211 or text “COVID19” to 211211. Residents may also call (831) 454-4242 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., seven days a week.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Health

      

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