Surge of coronavirus circumstances in Santa Cruz tied to household gatherings


Public well being officers in Santa Cruz are investigating 4 discrete clusters of COVID-19 infections, all related to household gatherings, together with a multigenerational Mom’s Day celebration.

The flare-ups doubtless triggered final week’s 20 % surge within the county’s case rely, a sudden explosion after weeks of comparatively flat progress. The week noticed 31 new circumstances, the most important spike since shelter-in-place orders took impact. The newest county knowledge, from Thursday, reveals 186 whole circumstances up to now.

Regulators hope the upswing is a blip. Even because the county step by step loosens its guidelines, enabling companies to do curbside pickup and opening little one care amenities for households of important employees, it nonetheless bans get-togethers of any measurement. The Mom’s Day bash and three different occasions all violated the orders, stated county spokesman Jason Hoppin.

One of many occasions drew attendees from outdoors the state who could have introduced the coronavirus with them, Hoppin stated.

“If we are able to comprise (these circumstances) then perhaps that is simply an unlucky interlude in our illness curve,” he added.

However the outbreaks additionally function a warning signal as state and native officers step by step reopen the town lengthy recognized for its parks and seashores. They present that any shift in conduct might have dire penalties, and that interstate journey poses specific dangers, stated Robert Siegel, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford College.

“If we’re not cautious, these items are going to result in a resurgence,” Siegel stated.

The Santa Cruz seaside boardwalk stays closed, with mud gathering on its picket curler coaster and carnival stands. The seaside parking tons are shut down, and although individuals can stroll alongside the sand, they aren’t allowed to stretch out with a blanket or cooler, Hoppin stated. State park rangers drive alongside the seashores every morning in an ATV, shooing individuals away to adjust to a county-ordered 11 a.m. to five p.m. closure.

Nonetheless, guests seem like flocking in because the climate warms up. Site visitors choked Freeway 17 at midday on Friday, with a thick line of vehicles driving from the Santa Clara Valley to Patchen Cross, a summit within the Santa Cruz mountains.

“That’s a basic seaside weekend situation,” Hoppin stated. “We haven’t seen that since (the pandemic) began.”

Though the freeway thinned out by Satuday morning, the seashores had been busy, based on state parks workers. They stated the 11 a.m. clear-out took somewhat longer than normal.

“A lot of the locals are adhering to the seaside closure,” a California state parks spokeswoman stated in an e-mail. “Nevertheless, some out-of-town guests wanted extra steering from our parks workers.”

Subsequent week, the county plans to advance additional into stage two of its reopening plan, with some employees allowed to return to their workplaces and outside museums most likely allowed to renew enterprise. Political stress is mounting in Santa Cruz and different locales all through California as residents develop stressed and companies beg for financial aid.

In the meantime, the summer time climate will creep in, broiling the sandy seashores and engaging extra onlookers. Hoppin and different officers perceive the attraction and are bracing for extra rule-flouters, although they hope to maintain COVID-19 at bay.

Rachel Swan is a San Francisco Chronicle workers author. E-mail: Twitter: @rachelswan

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