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A woman who joked about COVID-19 and openly coughed without wearing a mask is believed to have caused a cluster of infections in Pasadena, California. The LA Times reports that despite Los Angeles’ stay-at-home orders, a large number of people gathered at a party and didn’t wear masks, and didn’t stay six feet party.

One of those people was a woman who didn’t take it seriously and coughed and laughed even while displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Her actions caused five confirmed cases and “many more ill individuals.”

“One person showed up to the party exhibiting symptoms and joking she may have the virus,” Lisa Derderian, spokeswoman for the city of Pasadena, said in an email. “The aftermath affected several others who became seriously ill because of one person’s negligent and selfish behavior.”

Through contact tracing, a Pasadena Public Health Department disease investigation team discovered more than five laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases among attendees of the party “and many more ill individuals,” the city said. The team identified the woman as the index case, or the first patient in the outbreak identified with the infection, officials said.

Health officials are still reminding people that gatherings of people who don’t live in the same household are prohibited.

“Pasadena residents who stay home keep themselves and their loved ones protected from COVID-19,” said Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, director and health officer of the Pasadena Public Health Department, in a statement. “The virus remains highly contagious,” Goh said. “Social distancing, frequent hand washing, and wearing face coverings remain our best defenses against the further spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

So far no citations have been issued in connection with the party.


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