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President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday, which frees up funding and resources to combat the spread and impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus, or Covid-19, pandemic for U.S. residents.

Hours later, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan legislative aid package aimed a providing direct relief in the form of free testing and sick pay guarantee for affected Americans. The U.S. Senate is expected to take up the bill for a vote when they return Monday.

Confirmed cases were reported in 49 states as of Saturday. John Hopkins University has tracked 5,789 coronavirus-related deaths worldwide. 

Following concerns that he’d been exposed to people later confirmed to have contracted virus, the president told reporters Saturday that he was tested Friday night and results are pending.

The California Department of Public Health reported 247 confirmed cases across the state as of Friday at 8 a.m., up 49 from Thursday’s total. That number does not reflect additional cases discovered Friday. 

The growing infection rate and widespread announcements of school district closures across the Bay Area caused residents to swarm grocery stores, which were largely overwhelmed Friday by the demand.  

Grand Princess

State officials reported Friday that all American passengers have disembarked from the Grand Princess cruise ship that is still docked at the Port of Oakland.

As of Thursday night, 480 passengers were able to safely move off the ship and were transferred to either Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego or Dobbins Air Reserve base near Marietta, Georgia.

Officials said 11 passengers were transported to hospitals for care. In total, 2,446 individuals have safely left the cruise ship. Following the removal of all passengers aboard, the ship will leave the Port of Oakland and temporarily anchor in the San Francisco Bay while crew members disembark and are taken to various locations via chartered flights.

Scot Tucker/SFBay Passengers stand on balconies as the Grand Princess cruise ship passes beneath the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA., on Monday, March 9, 2020. (Scot Tucker/SFBay.ca)

Alameda County

County health officials reported four additional confirmed cases Thursday evening — two with ties to previous cases and two presumably caused by community spread — bringing the total number of confirmed cases to seven. Nonessential gatherings of more than 250 have been barred, in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide recommendation. County updates are being provided online.

Oakland Unified School District issued a statement Friday to announce the closure of all district schools and child development centers as of 6 p.m. The decision was made in collaboration with Alameda County health and emergency departments, city leaders and Mayor Libby Schaaf. The campuses will undergo a deep cleaning during closure. 

Staff is expected to continue working unless ill and students will be provided assignments to complete at home. “Grab and go” meals will be offered for students at select campuses. 

University of California at Berkeley, which Monday decided to suspend in-person instruction, announced Friday that the school will be extending remote instruction methods through the end of the semester. Students will be offered “relief from their campus housing and dining fees if they decide to move out” and will not be required to attend if in-person classes resume before the end of the semester, the statement said. 

Contra Costa County

The total number of confirmed cases jumped up from 17 to 25 Friday, according to the county’s health department.

The Contra Costa Community College District announced late Thursday that all lecture-based classes would be moved to remote instruction beginning Monday. The statement said students can expect officials and professors to reach out via email or the Canvas school system to provide updates and further direction. The statement also clarified:

Lab, activity, and performance classes that require specialized spaces and equipment will meet onsite as regularly scheduled, unless your professor instructs you otherwise.”

The CCCCD system operates Diablo Valley College campuses in Pleasant Hill and San Ramon, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg and Contra Costa College in San Pablo.

Mount Diablo Unified School District Superintendent Robert Martinez called parents around 9:50 a.m. Friday to announce that all schools in the district would be closed as of Tuesday — the campuses were already scheduled to be closed to students for professional development Monday. Martinez said they “do not make this decision lightly” and added that some student services will be maintained, including food services offered at specific campuses. 

MDUSD is responsible for 31 elementary schools, nine middle schools and five high schools as well as 15 alternative and adult schools and programs. The district’s campuses cover Concord and Clayton, as well as parts of Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Pittsburg, Lafayette, Martinez, Pacheco, Clyde and Bay Point.

Superior Courts of Contra Costa County County will close for beginning March 16 for an approximate two-week shutdown. The closure will delay most court cases, though jurors are expected to report as previously directed.

Wayne Hsieh via Flickr Contra Costa County Court House in Martinez, Calif.

Marin County

The Marin County Office of Education will suspend classes at public schools beginning Monday and for at least two weeks. The step to close public schools follows other social distancing policies the county has taken to stop the spread of the virus. Officials are offering revised childcare guidance for families in need during the school closure period.

The county has established a drive-through testing facility, which was announced Friday. The public can access county updates online

Napa County

As of Friday, there are still no reports of confirmed cases in Napa County.

San Francisco

San Francisco officials Saturday report that the number of coronavirus cases has risen to 28.

As the number of cases to continue rise, several city attractions have opted to temporary close, including the The Asian Art Museum, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco (de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor) and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will temporarily close for approximately two weeks.

Mayor London Breed Friday issued a 30-day eviction moratorium for residents who are financially impacted due coronavirus. The moratorium covers residents who have lost income due to a business closure, lost work hours and wages or incurred medical costs related to Covid-19. 

The directive is effective immediately. Breed can expand the moratorium for an addition 30 days if necessary by issuing an executive order.

The Office of the Mayor issued a statement Saturday declaring that power and water service will not be shut off for nonpayment for an initial period of 60 days as The City responds to the pandemic locally.

The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department made an announcement that Sharon Art Studio, Conservatory of Flowers and the Carousel in Golden Gate Park are closed through the end of March.

San Francisco has set up a website for public access to the latest information about the virus and The City’s response.

Officials Friday also put out a new health directive to prohibit nonessential gatherings of 100 or persons to slow the spread of the virus.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV or Covid-19).

San Mateo County

San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow on Friday issued an order to close all schools in the county starting next Monday until April 3.

The order includes the closing of charter schools in the county.

The number of infected San Mateo County residents has held at 20, according to a health department update Friday.

Santa Clara County

The county reports 91 confirmed cases as of Saturday morning. A second person has died as a result of the virus — the woman in her 80s had been hospitalized since March 9. Thirty-eight patients in the county have been hospitalized for severe symptoms.

One Stanford University undergrad student has tested positive for Covid-19, prompting school officials Friday to enact alternative plans for exams and direct most undergraduates to leave the campus. Details of the new directive can be accessed online.

Santa Clara County health officials Friday issued a mandatory directive that prohibits large gatherings of 100 or more people that will take effect on Saturday.

The county has defined “gathering” as bringing a large group of people into a single space or room at the same time, such as restaurants, arenas, auditoriums, conference rooms, meeting halls, cafeterias, theaters and confined indoor and outdoor spaces.

Places that would not be included on the list, include normal operations at airports, medical offices, hospitals, pharmacy and grocery stores.

Health officials are also calling for the public halt community gatherings and events of 35 to 100 persons.

Schools in Santa Clara County will also close for three weeks. beginning Monday.

Sonoma County

Sonoma County’s health officer issued an order Friday prohibiting gatherings of 250 persons or more in an effort to prevent further spread.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn covers transportation and City Hall in San Francisco for SF Bay. Email: jerold@sfbay.ca. Twitter: @Jerold_Chinn. Instagram: jeroldwashere.

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