County officials warn against social gatherings on Labor Day weekend

Health officials in Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties on Thursday warned residents to avoid social gatherings during the upcoming Labor Day weekend to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Contact tracers in Contra Costa County found many coronavirus cases linked to parties and picnics that occurred during the Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends earlier this year.

That included people who were asymptomatic and unaware they had the virus, later tested positive for the virus and infected family and friends at a gathering during those two weekends.

“Humans are social beings and COVID-19 has interfered with our natural desire to see and hug the people we care about,” Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said. “At the same time, we’re in an unprecedented situation now and we can’t behave like it’s business as usual.”

Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County’s health officer and the director of the county’s Public Health Department, suggested residents who do plan to hold gatherings during the holiday weekend do so outside, where the risk of transmitting the virus is lessened.

People should also do what they can to avoid congregating with people who live in other households, Cody and Farnitano said.

In addition to preventing the virus’ spread, Bay Area residents are advised to take the expected weekend heat wave into account, as temperatures are likely to rise into the triple digits.

Some sections of the greater Bay Area like Santa Cruz and Monterey counties elected to close their beaches to the public during the weekend to proactively prevent large groups.

“We must all do our part to avoid getting sick or infecting others,” Cody said.

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