SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — A large COVID-19 outbreak in Santa Clara County is being traced back to youth basketball programs, the county announced Friday.

The county says the private basketball program for middle and high school-aged players was violating local and state health orders.

As of Dec. 11, public health officials identified 77 positive cases related to the outbreak in the county, including 39 youth players, three coaches and 35 additional contacts.

The investigation also unveiled 17 additional cases in other counties so far.

The county learned that players from affected teams traveled from Santa Clara County to Place County to participate in a tournament on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8.

Of the 37 players, 33 of them tested positive for the virus, along with all three coaches from the Santa Clara County based teams.

The California Department of Public Health has initiated an enforcement investigation involving the tournament operator.

“This outbreak is a troubling reminder that the widespread prevalence of COVID-19 in our community threatens all of us, and does not limit itself to geographic boundaries,” said Dr. Monika Roy, Assistant Public Health Officer for the County of Santa Clara. “Public Health orders, directives, and guidance around contact sports and sporting events are in place for a reason. The risk of transmission in these settings can easily result in community spread that threatens the most vulnerable among us.”

In addition to violating state and local health orders, Santa Clara County says the youth basketball program also failed to timely and properly report some of the initial positive cases among staff and players.

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