The Santa Cruz County Public Health Division is investigating four distinct clusters of COVID-19 coronavirus cases traced to family gatherings, county officials said.
County public health workers have identified four separate clusters of COVID-19 transmission in the South County region, according to a statement from the Public Health Division. The investigations are still ongoing, but all known transmissions are associated with close contact between households during family gatherings.
These gatherings include interaction between people from different social "cohorts," among people who don't live in the same households, including a multigenerational Mother's Day gathering and a large gathering involving individuals who travelled from out-of-state.
Over the last week, the number of Santa Cruz County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 increased by 20 percent, a development which coincides with a lowering of restrictions on state and local shelter-in-place orders. Under the orders, non-essential travel is still prohibited and gatherings of any size are still not allowed.
All four clusters are being monitored and investigated by the Public Health Division's Communicable Disease Unit, and that effort includes both 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, in a statement. "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.