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Halloween parties, gatherings believed to be leading cause of rising coronavirus cases in Sacramento region

The number of new cases rose greatly in the first half of November.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], people could get sick with the coronavirus and infect other people up to at least 11 days before they feel symptoms themselves. 

Ten days before Sacramento and Placer counties saw a spike in cases was Halloween night. 

Sacramento and Placer county saw a dramatic increase in positive coronavirus tests, with cases having a spike of record-high new cases on Monday, Nov. 9 by episode date, which could be the patient's first day of symptoms or the date the person takes their coronavirus test. This date could also be the day the person dies, and it is discovered COVID-19 was a factor in the person's death.

One of the more frightening things to happen this year is that both Sacramento and Placer County health officials believe private gatherings, including Halloween parties and gatherings, may have aided in the rise of cases.

"We have had more than 20 recent cases report attendance at a Halloween gathering of some sort, including parties," Placer County spokesperson Katie Combs Prichard said in an email.

While Sacramento County spokesperson Janna Haynes could not provide an exact number, she confirmed private gatherings in homes, including Halloween parties, are the leading cause of the "drastic uptick of cases."

Dr. Rob Oldham, Placer County Interim Public Health Director, said he's concerned the rise in cases could continue to grow as people continue to gather indoors in the winter and gather with family for the holidays. 

"What makes this so concerning to me is that this scale could continue to grow and potentially overwhelm our public health and healthcare delivery system," Oldham said.

Both counties are concerned future holiday gatherings could lead to more cases.

"The rise in cases is a result of people not following the current mandates requiring face coverings, no gatherings, and not going out and exposing others when you are ill," Haynes said. "The increase in cases is also due to asymptomatic carriers passing along the virus without knowing they have it."

Sacramento County reports field workers, warehouse workers, healthcare workers, and government employees who work in a customer service role continue to contract the virus at an increased rate.

Placer County reports clerical, office, and sales workers contracted the virus faster than other county industries.

"The tracing process involves asking whether the case has been to various locations or attended events during the two weeks prior to testing positive for COVID-19," Haynes said. "However, it is not always possible to determine exactly where and how someone contracted the disease."

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