CHICO, Calif. - Butte County says gatherings among college-aged individuals could be the main reason numbers spiked this week.
"I think that it's no coincidence that within the last couple of weeks we've had thousands of students return to Butte County and more specifically the Chico area," said Butte County Public Health Communications Manager and Public Information Officer, Lisa Almaguer.
Students were able to return to Chico State for the fall semester, with some classes being offered in-person.
"And now we're seeing a steady and sharp increase in college-aged individuals ages 18 to 24," said Almaguer.
The City of Chico accounts for nearly 60% of all Butte County cases. As total positive cases surpass 2,000.
"I think it's most likely that people ages 18 to 24 are not practicing prevention actions like face coverings," said Almaguer. "Keeping their distance from others that do not live in their homes, and their definitely not avoiding gatherings, they need to stop gathering with people who they do not live with."
Now that students aren't going to be around again, local business owner, Jimmy Lee of Aonami, once had hope students would return.
"The lack of business is because of the virus, you know so, because revenue is down so is our payroll," said Lee. "So our payroll has to go down to match that. We don't have that student population to staff our businesses."
Some students felt that coming back to campus would've spelled more COVID-19 cases.
"Honestly it was what I expected," said Andrea Corona, a Chico State student. "I know at least like two frats throwing like pretty big parties like I'm not surprised."
Chico State says if parties continue, they will educate students there but could take disciplinary action from suspension to expulsion.
Action News Now spoke with University Police last week who say they are in conversation with the city to possibly fine students who throw parties.