A large birthday party held in California amid the state’s stay-at-home order has led to several people testing positive for the new coronavirus, health officials said Saturday.
A person who was not wearing a face covering at the Pasadena event had been coughing among attending family and friends who were also not wearing face coverings or practicing social distancing, the Pasadena Public Health Department said in a statement.
“One person showed up to the party exhibiting symptoms and joking she may have the virus,” Lisa Derderian, a city spokeswoman, told the Los Angeles Times. “The aftermath affected several others who became seriously ill because of one person’s negligent and selfish behavior.”
Lab tests have confirmed more than five cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, linked to the party. There are “many more ill individuals” as a result, the health department 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 department.
California has been gradually lifting its Safer at Home Order, issued back in March, though gatherings of people who do not live in the same household are still prohibited. Those who are aged 65 years or older and have underlying medical conditions are also urged not to participate in public recreation or retail curbside pickup.
“The virus remains highly contagious,” said Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, director and health officer of PPHD. “Social distancing, frequent hand washing, and wearing face coverings remain our best defenses against the further spread of COVID-19 in our community.”