COVID-19 cases at Golden Gate Fields exceeds 300 people in past month

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According to city of Berkeley spokesperson Matthai Chakko, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases that have come from Golden Gate Fields over the last month is more than 300. Approximately 71 staff at the racetrack who were deemed essential for the care of the horses are allowed to work.

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The Berkeley Public Health Division identified another 100 COVID-19 cases associated with Golden Gate Fields, a horse racetrack on the city’s San Francisco Bay waterfront, upon a second round of comprehensive testing.

The total number of cases at Golden Gate Fields has exceeded 300 in the past month, according to city spokesperson Matthai Chakko. He added that the Berkeley Public Health Division and the City Attorney’s Office worked closely to move all Golden Gate Fields employees at risk of COVID-19 infection off-site for a two-week quarantine starting Dec. 7. Chakko noted that the 14-day quarantine was in line with the period during which a COVID-19 patient may become infectious.

“Our goal is to ensure that these members of our community are protected by implementing effective measures to ensure a safer workspace for all,” Chakko said in an email. “These measures are in addition to a number of steps Berkeley Public Health has taken to quickly respond to cases that have emerged at Golden Gate Fields.”

Chakko added in the email that all staff who tested positive for COVID-19 had been isolated off-site prior to Monday’s relocation and quarantine. Due to ongoing transmission, everyone in contact with infected staff are now quarantining off-site as well.

About 71 staff who were determined essential to maintaining the health of the horses are allowed to work at the racetrack, Chakko said in the email. According to Chakko, these staff are required to wear protective equipment, such as fit-tested N95 masks and eye protection, while also following strict protocols regarding which locations they are allowed to access.

While most of the racetrack is in Albany, the “backstretch,” a dormlike shared housing area for workers, sits across the border in Berkeley and has been associated with 200 COVID-19 cases, according to Chakko. He added in the email that essential workers are no longer allowed to enter the “backstretch.”

Contact Eric Rogers at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @eric_rogers_dc.