'Cluster' of coronavirus cases in California linked to coughing birthday party attendee, officials say

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A “cluster” of coronavirus cases in a California city is linked to an ill birthday party attendee, health officials said over the weekend, urging residents to continue to practice social distancing.

The Pasadena Public Health Department in a news release on Saturday said it had confirmed at least five COVID-19 cases among a group of people who had attended a birthday party where a person with the virus “was coughing and not wearing a face covering.” The party occurred around in April around Easter time, according to one report.

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“Guests were also not wearing face coverings or practicing social distancing. As a result, COVID-19 spread among party attendees,” health officials said, noting the party was attended by a “large number of extended family members and friends” after the city’s “Safer at home order” was already in place.

Officials were able to identify the five cases and “many more ill individuals” through contact tracing, they said.

“This is an example of how good contact tracing can identify disease clusters and tell us more about the spread of disease in our community,” said Dr. Matthew Feaster, an epidemiologist with the Pasadena Public Health Department, in a statement. “We’re grateful to our large team of public health nurses, case investigators, and contact tracers who help track the virus and prevent the disease from spreading to other members of our community.”

The news release was issued a day before Mother’s Day, with officials using the birthday party as an example of why a gathering of a large group of people who do not live in the same household could still be unsafe.

Officials have confirmed at least five cases linked to the birthday party.

Officials have confirmed at least five cases linked to the birthday party. (iStock)

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“Pasadena residents who stay home keep themselves and their loved ones protected from COVID-19,” Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, director and health officer of the Pasadena Public Health Department, said in a statement.

“Although we are moving forward with small modifications to the Safer at Home Order, gatherings of people who do not live in the same household are still prohibited. The virus remains highly contagious. Social distancing, frequent hand washing, and wearing face coverings remain our best defenses against the further spread of COVID-19 in our community,” Goh added.