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COVID outbreak infects 200+ Golden Gate Fields employees

Bay Area

BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) — In the East Bay, more than 200 workers at Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley are in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.

Others who may have been exposed to the virus are also in isolation.

The cluster of infections is now impacting a vulnerable group.

The venue is off-limits to the public at least through the end of the month. As the horse track tends to the more than 200 “1/ST Racing” employees who have tested positive for the virus.

“It’s very important the owners of place treat all the employees because they are working for their families,” David Paz said.

“1/ST Racing” operates the track — and in a joint statement released with the City of Berkeley — the company says it is following all of the city’s recommendations for testing, quarantine and isolation.

But those who have frequented the track question how stringent the track’s safety protocols were before the outbreak.

“I wonder — before they halted the racing, did they have any social distancing policies, or not. I hope they did.”

The city says Golden Gate Fields’ on-site medical director also happens to be an infectious disease expert.

And, they are providing medical consultation to everybody who lives and works at the racetrack.

“My heart just goes out to our workers who don’t have a choice to stay home,” Councilmember Rashi Kesarwani said.

Kesarwani sits on the Berkeley City Council.

She says the track borders Albany and her city.

Many of the workers infected are blue collar people of color who live on-site in dorms.

“It is true that this type of accommodation is very vulnerable to the spread of the virus, and I think moving forward, we have to pay closer attention to the manner in which workers may be living, and make sure that there are enhanced safety protocols for these types of situations,” Kesarwani said.

“1/ST Racing” says all of the people who have tested positive are isolated off-site.

The track is helping with housing and has arranged meal deliveries so impacted employees do not have to break quarantine.

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