It has been a grim past two days with a quickly rising death toll across the nation. Covid-19 has killed more than 3,800 people in the U.S. since just Monday evening. It was announced Wednesday that six residents died in one Hayward senior facility alone.
Around the Bay Area, mental health services access are being expanded, most schools are shuttering for the remainder of the school year and libraries are providing ways to keep kids educated and parents sane through these tough times.
Here’s a look at the Covid-19 situation as of Wednesday.
- Confirmed Cases: 430,376
- Deaths: 14,739
Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center Covid-19 tracking tool as of Wednesday at 6:33 p.m.
The IRS Wednesday updated information on their website with limited details about the highly anticipated stimulus payments being issued as part of the federal CARES Act. Though the agency did not specify exact distribution dates, it has been widely reported that payment processing could begin this week.
- Confirmed Cases: 18,752
- Deaths: 495
Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center Covid-19 tracking tool as of Wednesday at 6:34 p.m.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that his office has made a request of the state Legislature for $1.4 billion in disaster response funding to be used to acquire personal protective equipment. Newsom said the funding effort is needed to secure 500 million N95 masks, face shields, surgical gowns and other PPE items in preparation for the state’s surge in Covid-19 patients.
The governor said:
“That is not an insignificant amount of money, but we’re dealing at a time where we need to go boldly and we need to meet this moment without playing small ball any longer.”
State Superintendent of Education Tony Thurmond addressed California’s 6.2 million students and their families in a press conference Tuesday as districts contend with the challenges of online learning for what will now be through the end of the school year in many areas.
“There’s no playbook for this.”
He said that despite generous device donations from private businesses, the state is still struggling to obtain approximately 150,000 devices and establish WiFi hotspots to enable students without access to complete work.
“As many of you know, we have had a digital divide…and it’s embarrassing.”
The superintendent went on to say he hopes this challenge will provide an opportunity to bridge the digital divide in low-income communities going forward. He encouraged people and businesses to visit donatetech.cde.ca.gov if they are in a position to donate toward the effort.
Speaking to the Class of 2020, he acknowledged the disappointment students feel about not completing the regular school year with friends and being unsure of graduation. Thurmond said:
“No member of the class of 2020 will be disadvantaged due to Covid-19.”
School districts in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties announced Tuesday that all of their campuses will remain closed though the end of the school year as a result of the region’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
- Confirmed Cases: 640
- Deaths: 16
Source: The Alameda County Public Health Department as of Wednesday.
County officials divulged Wednesday that six people from a Hayward nursing home have died from Covid-19 complications. Another 53 people have become infected at Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center. Of those who have tested positive, 24 are staff members and 35 are residents. The six deceased were all residents.
County officials also said that another skilled nursing home in Castro Valley, the East Bay Post-Acute Healthcare Center, is reporting that nine residents and 17 staff members have contracted the virus.
An additional eight Santa Rita Jail inmates have tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus, bringing the Dublin facility total to 11, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. The first three cases were announced Tuesday when officials enacted an “outbreak control plan” that limits visitation and requires the facility to be regularly sanitized, according to a written press release.
Derick Almena, a defendant in the Ghost Ship fire trial, may soon be released as he awaits a re-trial that has been delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Almena is facing 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal Oakland warehouse fire during a concert on Dec. 2, 2016.
City of Berkeley
- Confirmed Cases: 34
- Deaths: 0
Source: The City of Berkeley as of Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Berkeley reports separately from Alameda County.
Berkeley Health Officer Dr. Lisa Hernandez issued an update Tuesday stressing the need for most people to stay home, “except for the most essential activities.”
She also announced the launch of a testing site in partnership with LifeLong Medical and University of California at Berkeley. The facility will serve residents without access to health care, first responders, medical workers and essential city employees who exhibit symptoms.
Contra Costa County
- Confirmed Cases: 462
- Deaths: 7
Source: Contra Costa Health Services as of Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.
The Contra Costa County Library is launching an Online Storytime program with educational content for families stuck at home through the Covid-19 mass shelter orders. New 10-minute videos will be posted every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. through the library’s Facebook page. Children and families will have access to book readings and sing-alongs in addition to the system’s already available website that offers links to eBook, streaming movies, newspapers, magazines and tutoring.
Further information can be found on the library’s website.
- Confirmed Cases: 149
- Deaths: 10
Source: Marin Health and Human Services as of Wednesday at 5:01 p.m.
The county issued a news release Tuesday detailing efforts to prepare for the surge in cases and required hospitalizations. According to the release, the county has a typical hospital bed capacity of 239 to deal with Covid-19 patients. Officials say they have identified ways to increase the capacity by 67 percent, bringing the total number of staffed beds to about 400, including a near doubling of ICU beds.
- Confirmed Cases: 25
- Deaths: 2
Source: Department of Health and Human Services as of Wednesday.
- Confirmed Cases: 676
- Deaths: 10
Source: San Francisco Department of Public Health as of Wednesday at 5 p.m.
The City has expanded mental health services access for first responders and healthcare workers, Mayor London Breed said Wednesday. The services offered include one-on-one counseling and 24/7 mental health care for all city employees.
The Heal San Francisco program will also offer short-term counseling for medical workers from both private and nonprofit health care providers. People seeking assistance can visit the website for further details.
In a press briefing, Breed said:
“We know that they are working long hours and they are under an enormous amount of stress and what I’ve reiterated time and time again to people who are out there especially on the front lines working for the city, it is important that we’re doing everything we can to take care of the public, but we have to make sure we take care of ourselves.”
San Mateo County
- Confirmed Cases: 617
- Deaths: 21
Source: San Mateo County Health Department as of Tuesday.
Santa Clara County
- Confirmed Cases: 1,380
- Deaths: 46
A dozen staff members of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office have tested positive for the coronavirus, sheriff’s officials said Tuesday. Of those infected, two deputies have recovered from illness and are back to work and the other 10 are quarantining at home.
Santa Clara County has contributed a decontamination site for first responders’ use after possible exposure to the Covid-19. The site, located at the county’s Richey Training Center at 155 W. Hedding St. in San Jose, is open 24 hours per day to all law enforcement, first responders and essential medical service workers.
- Confirmed Cases: 112
- Deaths: 13
Source: Solano Public Health as of Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
- Confirmed Cases: 123
- Deaths: 1
Source: County of Sonoma as of Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
Bay City News contributed to this report.