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SFBay Covid-19 update: Newsom announces testing task force, Santa Rita inmate tests positive

Press briefings providing updates for the nation and the state California occurred within minutes of each other Saturday afternoon. A sharp contrast was drawn between the two as Gov. Gavin Newsom accepted personal responsibility for the state’s lagging test capabilities and urged residents to “hold the line,” whereas President Donald Trump criticized the press and publicly said he refuses to wear masks.   


  • Confirmed Cases: 308,533
  • Deaths: 8,376

Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center COVID-19 tracking tool as of Saturday at 4:38 p.m.

In a Saturday White House press briefing, Trump again berated reporters for questions he sees as critical. He revisited the “we have to get back to work” theme, lambasted New York’s governor as not “gracious” and, to the dismay of task force medical doctors, promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine, saying he may take it himself and encouraging the public to do so as well. 

On the topic of the anti-malaria drug, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday during a Fox & Friends interview that there isn’t yet “strong” evidence proving its effectiveness in treating the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Open SFBay USA coronavirus tracker.

Fauci said:

“We’ve got to be careful that we don’t make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug. We still need to do the kinds of studies that definitely prove whether any intervention is truly safe and effective.” 

The doctor added:

“We don’t operate on how you feel, we operate on what evidence and data is.” 


  • Confirmed Cases: 12,764
  • Deaths: 288

Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center COVID-19 tracking tool as of Saturday at 3:05 p.m.

Newsom held a press briefing Saturday where he announced the formation of a task force to bolster Covid-19 testing across the state. He said the aim is to increase testing capacity five-fold over the course of the next few weeks. Addressing the shortage of tests and processing lags, he said:

“That’s on me. You deserve better. You deserve more.”

The governor said the backlog has been reduced from 59,900 down to 13,000 tests currently awaiting results. However, he stressed the importance of expanding the scale and type of testing the state provides in order to achieve better community surveillance, provide data in real time and prepare people to eventually return to work.

Among expanded testing will be a serum blood test created by Stanford University that will enable detection of coronavirus antibodies. 

Newsom said that in California as of Saturday there were 2,300 Covid-19 patients hospitalized, including 1,008 people in ICU treatment, which marks a nearly 11 percent increase from the prior day.

The governor also announced the launch of a new site created by Salesforce that allows people or organizations to identify the type and quantity of medical and protective equipment they can donate. The site additionally provides necessary specs for manufacturers capable of producing equipment. 


Dioceses from around the Bay Area have announced that they will offer online mass services during the Holy Week.

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District said they are cutting back weekday train service by 50 percent beginning Monday. The transit agency said ridership has declined by 90 percent since broad shelter orders were issued across the Bay Area in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Open SFBay Worldwide coronavirus tracker.

Alameda County

  • Confirmed Cases: 510
  • Deaths: 12

Source: The Alameda County Public Health Department as of Saturday.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday that an inmate has tested positive for coronavirus at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. A spokesperson said the unidentified patient is being continuously monitored and provided with 24-hour health care.

A contact investigation began after the positive test was discovered Friday and impacted pods are being quarantined and monitored.  

Daniel Arauz/Flickr Santa Rita County Jail in Dublin, Calif.

City of Berkeley

  • Confirmed Cases: 27
  • Deaths: 0

Source: The City of Berkeley as of Friday at 10:00 a.m. Berkeley reports separately from Alameda County.

Contra Costa County

  • Confirmed Cases: 353
  • Deaths: 5

Source: Contra Costa Health Services as of Saturday.

Marin County

  • Confirmed Cases: 137
  • Deaths: 6

Source: Marin Health and Human Services as of Saturday.

Sausalito police are asking for personal protective equipment donations. They specifically need masks, eye protection, gloves, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. People willing and able to make donations can contact the department at (415) 289-4170. 

Napa County

  • Confirmed Cases: 20
  • Deaths: 2

Source: Department of Health and Human Services as of Saturday.

Napa County officials Thursday extended the area’s shelter-at-home order through April 30. The county said Saturday that they “are experiencing technical difficulties with the LiveStory testing and case data platform” and that they are working with technical support to correct the issue. 

San Francisco

  • Confirmed Cases: 529
  • Deaths: 8

Source: San Francisco Department of Public Health as of Saturday.

City officials announced that one more person has died since Friday and an additional 32 Covid-19 cases were confirmed, including another patient at Laguna Honda. 

Mayor London Breed urged continued physical distancing and recapped some of The City’s Covid-19 responses in a Twitter thread Saturday morning. Breed highlighted the $10 million fund established to help struggling small businesses and the launch of the economic Recovery Task Force. She added that officials are working with internet providers to deploy 25 “WiFi Superspots” and that the school district passed out 5,400 devices to help students complete school work from home.

The Presidio Trust announced Friday that all public events are canceled through May 3 and that all public facilities remain closed indefinitely. Some trails will be available to the public with the exception of certain sections closed for coyote pupping season.

Scot Tucker/SFBay A rare super, blue, blood moon sets behind Coit Tower in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. The trifecta moon (A Blue moon, Supermoon and Blood mood or total lunar eclipse) makes its’ first appearance in 152 years. Photo by Scot Tucker.

The Coit Tower and San Francisco City Hall will turn green Saturday night to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Golden Gate Park.

San Mateo County

  • Confirmed Cases: 538
  • Deaths: 13

Source: San Mateo County Health Department as of Friday.

Santa Clara County

  • Confirmed Cases: 1148
  • Deaths: 39

Source: Santa Clara County Public Health Department as of Friday.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo is joining other Silicon Valley leaders in a Saturday evening telethon in an effort to raise funds to help replenish Covid-19 financial assistance programs for low-income residents struggling to pay rent and for other basic needs. The event will be hosted by NBC Bay Area and Telemundo 48 at 7 p.m.

Nik Wojcik/SFBay SFBay Covid-19 dashboard as of Saturday, April 4, 2020.
Open SFBay Bay Area coronavirus dashboard in new window.

Solano County

  • Confirmed Cases: 73
  • Deaths: 1

Source: Solano Public Health as of Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Sonoma County

  • Confirmed Cases: 83
  • Deaths: 1

Source: County of Sonoma as of Friday.

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