The number of persons tested positive for the coronavirus in California have jumped to 177 from 153, according to the California Department of Public Health.
In the Bay Area, Santa Clara County reported three additional cases on Wednesday, bringing its total of infected persons with Covid-19 to 48. San Mateo County also saw an increase of persons infected bringing its total to 15.
BART deploys hand sanitizer as ridership plummets
In order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus throughout the Bay Area, BART said starting Wednesday night, each station will be equipped with at least one dispenser of hand sanitizer.
BART said the move comes as ridership this week has gone down by 30 percent from an average Tuesday last month of 415,760 riders to 292,011 this past Tuesday.
With less crowded trains, BART is also encouraging riders to maintain a distance from one another, per public health guidelines, to prevent the spread of the virus, also known as Covid-19. An arm’s-length of space is recommended.
In addition to the agency’s recommendations for riders, BART has also stepped up cleaning and disinfecting on trains and in stations.
Despite the scaled-back ridership, BART will still deliver regular service and train lengths, because not everyone has the option of telecommuting to work, as many companies and municipalities have recommended, agency officials said.
For daily updates about BART ridership and how the coronavirus is affecting service, people can visit their website.
Chabot-Las Positas suspends classes
The Chabot-Las Positas Community College District announced on Wednesday that it is temporarily suspending classes for the next three days because of the threat of infection from the novel coronavirus.
The district, which has its headquarters in Dublin, said its decision to suspend classes for Thursday, Friday and Saturday was made in the best interest of its faculty, its classified professionals, its students and its community.
The district serves 29,000 students annually in southern Alameda County annually through its two colleges: Chabot College in Hayward and Las Positas College in Livermore.
The district said regularly scheduled online classes will continue without disruption and classes will resume on Monday using either online education or limited in-person participation classes.
It said students will receive notification directly from their instructors on how to proceed with their coursework.
The district said students who have questions or need more information should contact their instructors or respective college.
In a statement, the district said:
“While we have zero reported cases among students or employees, we are taking this step to pause, plan and train faculty, classified professionals and students in the event that we receive evidence of further escalation.”
The district said all district and college functions will remain open for business, and faculty and staff will report to work as normal to complete training and other preparations in order to convert to alternate methods of instruction.
Many other colleges in the Bay Area already have suspended in-person classes.
San Mateo County housing cruise ship passengers
San Mateo County is urging its residents to be compassionate after state officials announced Wednesday that some passengers previously quarantined on the Grand Princess cruise ship due to the novel coronavirus will be temporarily housed at a San Carlos hotel.
The passengers being taken to the hotel are Americans who have been screened by medical professionals and have mild or no symptoms of the virus, also known as Covid-19, so they don’t require hospitalization.
The San Carlos hotel is owned by the private company GRM Properties and can house up to 120 people and is currently unoccupied. None of the people taken there are known to have contracted Covid-19, but they will be tested and monitored, according to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy said in a statement”
“We have been assured by federal and state authorities that the individuals now temporarily housed in San Carlos pose no health or safety risks to our residents or visitors. … They are now in a controlled environment managed and protected by the federal government.”
San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley, whose District 3 includes San Carlos, said:
“We have a humanitarian responsibility to assist during this health crisis. These passengers have to go someplace. We will do everything we can to help and protect our citizenry from exposure.”
The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and other state offices are handling the operations at the hotel. The county’s Emergency Operations Center is providing around-the-clock support to the federal and state government’s efforts.
The ship arrived at the Port of Oakland on Monday carrying more than 3,500 passengers and crewmembers, including 21 who had tested positive for Covid-19.
In addition to the passengers headed to the San Carlos hotel, more than 650 other Grand Princess passengers were taken to both Travis Air Force Base near Fairfield and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego for 14-day quarantines.
State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a news release:
“First and foremost, we want to ensure that these Americans, who have faced a great deal of adversity, are in good hands until they can return to their homes.”
“Just as important is protecting the public health of our state and the communities that welcome these passengers, including San Carlos and San Mateo County.”
The county remains in a state of emergency, with 15 countywide cases reported as of Wednesday.
Oakland cancels events at city-owned facilities
All large public events at city-owned facilities in Oakland, including Athletics baseball games, were ordered canceled Wednesday through the end of March, another measure taken by a local jurisdiction to try to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
City Administrator Sabrina Landreth issued an order effective immediately to postpone or cancel all events through at least the end of March at city-owned facilities with capacities of 1,000 people or more.
Those sites include the Fox Theater, Paramount Theater, and the Oakland Convention Center. The Oakland-Alameda Coliseum Authority also has canceled events at the Coliseum and Arena through the end of the month.
Oakland A’s games are among the affected events, with the A’s home opener on March 26 and subsequent home games at the Coliseum through the end of March canceled.
The team issued a statement about the change, saying they are “working with Major League Baseball on alternative plans for our games that will be impacted by the Oakland Coliseum.”
The team said, “We will provide more information about our plans for the games, including our ticket policy for impacted games, as soon as possible.”
The canceled or postponed concerts at the Oakland Arena are for Ana Gabriel on March 19 and Andre Rieu on March 22. An Oakland Panthers game at the arena this Saturday will still take place, but without a crowd in attendance, according to the city.
SF Broadway plays halted
In keeping with San Francisco’s mandate to ban events larger than 1,000 people in the city, all BroadwaySF productions at the Orpheum and Golden Gate Theater are canceled beginning Wednesday.
The cancellations included Wednesday’s evening performances of “Hamilton” and “The Last Ship.”
Anyone who has purchased tickets for the two performances through March 25 will receive a refund. Tickets purchased through Vivid Seats, Goldstar, TodayTix, Lucky Seat and any other source that is not BroadwaySF related should consult the place of purchase for a refund.
BroadwaySF said it will closely monitor and provide updates on the situation regarding the coronavirus-related cancellations as soon as it receives them. Anyone with questions is free to email email@example.com.
Cal Performances cancels
All events organized by Cal Performances are canceled through March 29 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, university officials said Tuesday.
The decision was made because of recommendations by health officials and also because of the University of California at Berkeley’s decision to limit campus operations. Cal Performances is based at the university.
Canceled are the following events: Both the Laverne Cox and Dorrance Dance Workshop on March 12, Dorrance Dance from March 13 to 15, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo on March 14 and 15, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo LGBTQ Night Out on March 14 and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo Community Dance Class on March 15.
Also, “The Summit”: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6 on March 20, is canceled as well as Mnozil Brass: “Cirque” on March 21 and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra with Lahav Shani as conductor on March 22.
Ticketholders will receive a refund automatically via the method in which they paid. The refund may take up to two weeks to process, university officials said.
More passengers have disembarked the Grand Princess cruise ship, federal and state officials said Wednesday in an update on the cruise liner currently docked at the Port of Oakland.
On Tuesday as of 8:30 a.m., officials said a total of 1,045 individuals were able to leave the ship.
Of those 1,045 passengers, 613 of them were transported by bus to Travis Air Force Base; 42 were taken to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego by a chartered flight; 124 individuals were transported by a chartered flight to Dobbins Air Reserve in Georgia; 98 individuals were sent to an air force base Texas on a chartered flight; 168 individuals were sent back to the United Kingdom through a chartered flight.
In total, 1,452 people have left the Grand Princess since the arrival of the ship on Monday.
In the wake of the the coronavirus, San Francisco officials announced Wednesday to help small businesses who have been financially impacted by Covid-19.
Mayor London Breed and Treasurer José Cisneros will begin to inform small businesses that they will be able to defer the next round of next round of quarterly businesses tax payments.
Businesses are required to prepay their first quarter taxes by April 30, but instead allow businesses to defer payment until February 2021. Additionally, The City will allow businesses to defer licensing fees for an initial three months.
The City is also establish a $1 million fund to provide immediate relief to businesses. The Office of Economic Workforce and Development will distribute the funding as $10,000 grants to 100 businesses and will setup a website for small businesses to get more general information on how to seek assistance from The City.
The City has a total of 14 cases of persons infected with the virus. More information can be found on Department of Public Health’s website.
Santa Clara County
The White House’s coronavirus task force led by Vice President Mike Pence announced new 30-day mitigation measures for Santa Clara County due to the widespread community transmission of the virus.
Many of the strategies included in the guidelines have already been carried out by the county.
A link to the strategies can be found on the Center for Disease Control website.
The county has reported 48 confirmed cases and one death. The public can visit the county’s health website for information about the virus.
The Peralta Community College District announced Wednesday that face-to-face class sessions at its colleges will no longer take place starting from March 11 until March 14.
The College affected by the closure include Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College.
During the closure, faculty will attend trainings at their colleges how to teach courses remotely.
Classes will begin on March 23 again for faculty members who do decide to teach remotely, the college district said on its website.
San Mateo County
San Mateo County Health Officer Scott Morrow in a statement Tuesday said there is evidence now that Covid-19 is spreading through the county.
As of 8:39 p.m. on Wednesday, county health officials confirmed that there are a total of 15 individuals who have tested positive for the virus, according to the county’s public health website.
Santa Cruz County
Two new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Santa Cruz County, county officials said Wednesday.
The two new cases bring the total of positive cases in the County to 4. Both persons are isolated and recovering.
County officials said the third case was confirmed Tuesday evening and it’s unlikely the person got the virus via community transmission.
The fourth was confirmed Wednesday in a person associated with Rio Del Mar Elementary School in Aptos. County officials said the person is in stable condition and how they were exposed is under investigation.
Bay City News contributed to this report. Additional information regarding school closures and earlier announcements can be accessed in our Tuesday reporting.