A COVID-19 outbreak has swept by means of the Golden Gate Fields racetrack group in Berkeley, with greater than 100 monitor workers testing optimistic this week.
And there are nonetheless quite a few take a look at outcomes pending, metropolis officers informed Berkeleyside on Thursday. The outbreak brought on Berkeley’s circumstances to spike in a single day from about 920 on Wednesday to 1,050 as of Thursday.
It’s the single largest one-day coronavirus spike in Berkeley for the reason that metropolis’s first case was reported in late February. Additionally it is the biggest outbreak within the metropolis reported to this point at a single facility.
The racetrack, which straddles the border of Berkeley and Albany alongside the San Francisco Bay, has 1,300 horses stabled on-site. The monitor itself is in Albany, however the barn space, the place lots of of people that look after the horses dwell, is in Berkeley. Lots of the staff are from Mexico and farther south, and dwell in easy motel-style rooms beside the stables of the racehorses they look after.
David Duggan, Golden Gate Fields normal supervisor, informed Berkeleyside on Thursday that the outbreak began within the barn space.
Racetrack officers first introduced a one-week suspension of dwell horse racing at Golden Gate Fields on Friday to handle a COVID-19 outbreak. On Wednesday, the monitor prolonged the closure by means of the tip of November, citing “continued regard for the safety and well-being” of workers and the bigger group, and “in following the best guidance from local health authorities,” in accordance with a ready assertion Duggan shared with Berkeleyside.
Since Friday, in accordance with the assertion, “all track facilities have undergone thorough cleaning” and all workers on the monitor — recognized as “1/ST RACING employees” and different individuals who work “on the backstretch” — have been examined for COVID-19. Testing information has been shared with the Berkeley Public Well being Division (BPHD), as required by legislation.
Lots of the grooms, scorching walkers (individuals who settle down the horses after their morning exercise) and others who work within the barns at Golden Gate Fields come from households which were doing this work for generations.
Echa Schneider, a metropolis of Berkeley spokeswoman, informed Berkeleyside that the majority of Thursday’s new COVID-19 circumstances stemmed from a “single outbreak.” However she stated she couldn’t launch or verify the situation of the outbreak due to medical privateness legal guidelines.
Schneider stated town first discovered concerning the outbreak final week and introduced on further contact tracers to assist examine all the brand new circumstances.
Schneider stated she couldn’t touch upon whether or not any of the circumstances have resulted in hospitalizations, once more citing medical privateness legal guidelines. However she did say extra take a look at outcomes are pending and that town may be capable of share extra data Friday.
Schneider admitted that “the numbers look bad,” however stated it’s truly an indication that the contact tracing course of is working as a result of it means individuals are getting examined and are quarantining, which is able to stop COVID-19 from spreading.
Based on the Golden Gate Fields assertion, everybody who has examined optimistic on the racetrack is “required to isolate as per BPHD protocols and are not able to return to Golden Gate Fields until health clearance has been provided by the BPHD.”
Many Golden Gate Fields workers dwell on the racetrack and have lived there for years. It was unclear as of publication time precisely the place these residents might be staying whereas they’re in isolation. One particular person aware of the state of affairs stated workers have moved into inns and motels in and round Berkeley. (Berkeleyside is in search of additional data.)
Duggan didn’t touch upon that side of the state of affairs however stated he would be capable of present extra data on the COVID-19 outbreak at Golden Gate Fields within the coming days.
Based on the racetrack’s official assertion, “Golden Gate Fields has applied stringent well being and security measures together with, strict social distancing, masking insurance policies and common COVID-19 testing with isolation necessities for any optimistic circumstances or recognized shut contacts” for the reason that outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The monitor assertion additionally stated all of its horses would “continue to receive the daily care and exercise they require,” and that Golden Gate Fields would announce its reopening date “as soon as possible.”
Berkeleyside will share extra data when it turns into obtainable.