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COVID-19 cases increase in San Luis Obispo, public gatherings a factor

Coronavirus COVID-19
Posted at 11:02 PM, Oct 21, 2020

San Luis Obispo County remains in the red tier, but increasing cases seen in the city could put the county at risk for dropping down to a more restrictive tier.

The city of SLO says it accounted for 38% of new cases over the weekend.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein says a large factor has been social gatherings.

“We continue to see many large gatherings in our county that are the source of our illness and the source of our cases," Dr. Borenstein said at a press conference Wednesday.

She also shared data on tracing of cases related to gatherings, finding that friend and family gatherings have been associated with 500 cases since July, more than 60 cases have had an association with religious services or groups, and more than 20 cases have come from protests or rallies.

Dr. Brian Roberts from Med Stop says he has also seen more cases after larger social gatherings.

“We do query them about those issues and very often they’ll say, oh yes I was at a party last weekend and I’m told that there were three of four people there that were positive for COVID," Dr. Roberts said.

He says when the Med Stop facility sees an upswing in cases, it has typically been when things open up, such as schools and travel.

Dr. Borenstein says a high volume of COVID-19 testing has helped keep the county's status in the red tier, but with no recent progression, the county is as risk of dropping down to the purple tier.

The county public health department does not have specific data as to why certain regions in SLO County are seeing a higher case rate than others, but Dr. Borenstein says it comes down to people mixing in households and not taking preventative measures seriously.