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Birthday Party In Pasadena Exposes 30-40 People To Coronavirus

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A sponge birthday cake. (Photo by Chaloner Woods/Getty Images)
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The Pasadena Public Health Department has identified a cluster outbreak of coronavirus that started at a birthday party on Easter Weekend.

Lisa Derderian, a spokesperson for the city, told LAist that at least five attendees have now tested positive for COVID-19, but many others were exposed. Derderian said there were about 30 to 40 people at the party, both inside and outside the host's home.

The source of the outbreak, according to the public health department, was a party guest who was reportedly coughing and not wearing a face covering. The other guests at the gathering of family and friends also were not wearing coverings or practicing social distancing.

Derderian said that several more guests at the party are now "significantly ill." The Pasadena public health department encouraged them to get tested, she said, but they don't have the authority to force them.

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"The five that we were able to identify as positive cases, we have been in contact with," Derderian said. But some of the other party guests have not been as cooperative.

The party happened after Pasadena's Safer at Home Order went into effect on March 22. An investigation team with the city's public health department identified patient zero (technically called "the index case") and through contact tracing, discovered the other five postive cases among the party-goers.

Derderian said this is a concern for the city on Mother's Day weekend, and warned that just one visit can easily spread the virus.

"More things are opening up throughout the state and in our city ... there's an increase in traffic, people are out in the community now more, walking and running and bike riding, which is great as long as they're maintaining social distance," she said. "But we don't want people to get a false sense of security. All it takes is one to infect several others and then it's like investigative reporting where you have to go in and determine what contacts these people had."

She said that contact tracing is very difficult and time consuming for Pasadena's relatively small public health department, which has recruited some library employees to help with tracing research, since libraries are closed.

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