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More Than 200 People Living And Working At Golden Gate Fields Contract COVID-19

By Flickr user Duluoz Cats / used under CC / resized and cropped
Golden Gate Fields

Golden Gate Fields is extending the closure of its horse racing track after a significant outbreak of COVID-19 continues to spread. Operators now face the task of trying to make sure the outbreak doesn’t jump beyond its perimeter. 

It took only a matter of days for the COVID-19 outbreak at Golden Gate Fields to jump from about two dozen positive cases, to over two hundred.

Chief Operating Officer Aiden Butler of The Stronach Group, which owns the track, told the state he believes COVID-19 got out of control because "no one was too sick for the most part." According to Butler, 95% of the people who tested positive are asymptomatic.

The race track is home to more than 1,300 horses. Each requires daily feeding and exercise even on days when they’re not scheduled to race. It’s this huge task of upkeep that demands a staff load of more than 400 people — many of whom live on the backside of the track in close, dorm-style living quarters.

Everyone who tested positive is being isolated off-site.

Those who tested negative are also quarantining for two weeks. Everyone is receiving daily food delivery and access to medical support to encourage them to stay put and keep the virus from spreading.

Carla Esteves is a 2020-2021 Audio Academy Fellow with KALW. Her reporting interests include environmental justice, housing insecurity, climate change, business and economy.