Santa Clara County is investigating a COVID-19 spike linked to an unlawful basketball tournament that left 94 positive cases across three counties.

The county learned that 33 out of 37 players and all three coaches that traveled from Santa Clara County to Placer County on Nov. 7 and 8 for the tournament tested positive for coronavirus.

As of Friday, 49 youth players, three coaches and 35 other contacts from Santa Clara County-based teams were infected, as well as 17 other people from two other countries, health officials say.

The private basketball program, which was not named, was violating local and state orders at the time of the outbreak and has been cited, county officials say.

“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.”

According to the health department, the program also failed to report the initial positive cases, which didn’t allow the county to do a thorough investigation in time to avoid “more widespread transmission.”

“As cases, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions continue to soar to record levels with no sign of slowing in Santa Clara County or across California, each of us must take every possible step to protect ourselves and our loved ones from transmission of COVID-19,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Public Health Officer for the County of Santa Clara. “We risk continued, uncontrolled spread of the disease throughout our community and even more loss of life if we don’t each do absolutely everything we can to limit contact with anyone outside of our own household.”

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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