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More than 200 racetrack workers at Golden Gate Fields infected with COVID-19, Berkeley officials say

ABC 7 San Francisco logo ABC 7 San Francisco 2 days ago Leslie Brinkley
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COVID-19 cases in Berkeley are soaring, much of the sudden spike attributable to what appears to be a major outbreak among workers at Golden Gate Fields horse racing track, which is now shut down.

More than 200 people living or working at the racetrack have tested positive, an official told ABC7 Saturday morning. This is accounts for half of the 400 that live there.

The track has suspended all live racing through the end of November.

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"City of Berkeley Public Health continues to work closely with Golden Gate Fields on a significant outbreak where more than 200 people living or working on-site at the racetrack have tested positive for COVID-19. 1/ST Racing, which operates the track, is following all of the City's recommendations for testing, quarantine and isolation," a city spokesperson said in a statement to ABC7.

Management says all facilities have undergone a thorough cleaning as they work with the Berkeley Public Health Department to get things under control.

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The vast stable area just south of the track is home to more than 1,000 horses and 400 people according to the Multi-Cultural Institute in Berkeley.

They say groomers and trainers live in crowded conditions there and they're not surprised to learn that the outbreak is centered among them.

"They are the caretakers to the horses," said Director Mirna Cervantes. "They live above the stables and you can see them as you're driving past on the freeway. They are a very vulnerable population that hasn't taken advantage or had access to the services provided by organizations like ourselves or the city of Berkeley."

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Outside the gates to the stable area, a loudspeaker blared a warning at lunchtime Friday afternoon.

"It is of extreme importance that everyone follows social distancing guidelines."

The Jockeys Guild said none of the 25 jockeys at the track have tested positive at this point.

But they added they are very concerned about the closure. No races equal no income.

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