As the holidays approach for several religious communities, local and state leaders are urging people to “hold the line,” as Gov. Gavin Newsom phrased it Friday. California as a whole is managing the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic more effectively than modeling projected, but congregated settings have been hit especially hard this week, as was seen in several facilities across the Bay Area.
Here’s a look at the Covid-19 situation as of Friday from Newsom and from leaders across the nine-county Bay Area region.
- Confirmed Cases: 500,399
- Deaths: 18,693
Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center Covid-19 tracking tool as of Friday at 7:39 p.m.
- Confirmed Cases: 21,168
- Deaths: 587
Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center Covid-19 tracking tool as of Friday at 7:40 p.m.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and Health and Human Services Director Dr. Mark Ghaly once again Friday addressed the state’s current Covid-19 situation. Despite the trajectory downturn seen in most counties, the number of ICU patients unfortunately ticked back up in the past 24 hours. The mayor was hopeful but cautious in his messaging.
Ghaly presented a county-by-county model that reflects that “movement is going down all around California.” He said the data “reinforces what we’ve been doing,” with Californians social distancing and staying at home.
Ghaly cautioned that although the state is following the better part of the model, the line “could easily see an upward slope” if residents relax their efforts.
Newsom discussed at length the rising concerns in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and similar institutions that house elderly residents with compromised immune systems. He said that among the 1,224 state-licensed skilled nursing facilities, 1,256 individuals have contracted the virus from 191 facilities.
He added that there are more than 7,000 smaller licensed homes across the state and 94 of which are being heavily monitored. There are currently 370 individuals infected from those smaller homes.
The state’s response is being driven by disease control professionals from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and various other agencies, the governor said. In addition, roughly 600 nurses have been retrained to provide technical guidance in affected facilities.
Newsom said it is not ideal to transfer patients from resident facilities to hospitals unless required medical needs exceed the available capacity. He instead prescribed a plan to isolate, quarantine, track and trace cases as quickly as possible.
The governor said it is a “point of passion” for him to care for the state’s elderly population.
He said that FEMA, inspired by Steph and Aisha Curry and in partnership with restaurants, will begin supporting meal delivery for prioritized seniors who are not being served by Meals on Wheels or alternative organizations.
And for the many residents awaiting enhanced unemployment benefits, Newsom said those payments will start being disbursed Sunday with the additional $600 per week allocated by the federal CARES Act.
- Confirmed Cases: 730
- Deaths: 19
Source: The Alameda County Public Health Department with data reported through Thursday.
Beginning Saturday, Oakland streets will be rolled into the physical distancing effort. According to a statement issued by the city Friday, the Slow Streets Program will declare certain streets closed to through traffic where neighborhood bike routes exist or are planned. The impacted roadways will cover about 74 miles, which comes out to nearly 10 percent of the city’s streetscape.
The pilot program will impact the following street segments Saturday:
- West Street: West Grand – 14th Street
- Arthur Street from Havenscourt Boulevavd – 78th Avenue connecting to Plymouth Street from 78th – 104thAvenue
- E 16th Street: 23rd Avenue/Foothill Boulevard – Fruitvale Avenue
- 42nd Street: Adeline – Broadway
According to the statement, the plan “is intended to support safe physical activity by creating more space for physical distancing for all Oaklanders.” Additional information about the Oakland Slow Streets program can be found on the city’s website.
As a warning to residents in light of upcoming holiday observances for various religious communities, county officials issued a press release Thursday as a reminder of the shelter-in-place order effective through May 3. Dr. Erica Pan, the county’s interim health officer said in the statement:
“We wish you all safe celebrations and thank you for helping us to flatten the curve.”
The Moms 4 Housing collective and Oakland’s Black Housing Union are planning to “safely” gather Saturday to protest the delay in moving homeless residents into contracted hotel units. According to a press release issued Friday, the groups will begin at the Coliseum Department of Motor Vehicles at 10:30 a.m., followed by a pre-procession public speak-out session at 11 a.m.
The group is demanding action from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who issued an executive order March 18 to “protect homeless Californians from Covid-19.”
Vanessa Bulness of the Oakland BHU said in the release:
“Thousands of people cannot ‘shelter in place.’ These hotels took money to address this issue and there are still empty rooms? It doesn’t make sense. If ever we need to act, the time is now – right now – to save lives and stop the spread of Covid-19 in our most vulnerable populations.”
Although the Alameda County Law Library building remains closed, law librarians are working remotely to offer limited reference and document delivery service through the shelter-in-place orders. Services are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. People can access further details by emailing the library at email@example.com or calling (510) 208-4832.
City of Berkeley
- Confirmed Cases: 38
- Deaths: 1
Source: The City of Berkeley as of Friday at 10:00 a.m. Berkeley reports separately from Alameda County.
The city issued a statement Friday to inform the public that Tuesday’s City Council meeting will operated virtually, with the mayor, councilmembers and staff participating remotely. The public can access the related agenda and reports through the city’s website.
Contra Costa County
- Confirmed Cases: 511
- Deaths: 9
Source: Contra Costa Health Services as of Friday at 11:30 a.m.
Despite news early Friday that the city of Danville would be reopening farmers’ market as of Saturday with enhanced safety and social distancing guidelines, officials have since reversed that decision based on community concern.
The city’s Economic Development Manager Jill Bergman said in a news release:
“We understand the concerns that are being voiced by our residents and we want to be mindful of them, so we started working with the PCFMA on how to address them.”
Certain parks in the East Bay Regional Park District will have parking areas closed over the holiday weekend in an effort to discourage overcrowding and gatherings that violate physical distancing mandates. Trail and open spaces will remain available for public use, but staff has been reduced as many are working from home.
The impacted facilities include: Black Diamond Mines, Coyote Hills, Garin, Kennedy Grove, Lake Chabot, Lake Temescal, Miller Knox, Briones, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline and Mission Peak.
- Confirmed Cases: 154
- Deaths: 10
Source: Marin Health and Human Services as of Thursday.
- Confirmed Cases: 32
- Deaths: 2
Source: Department of Health and Human Services as of Friday.
- Confirmed Cases: 797
- Deaths: 13
Source: San Francisco Department of Public Health as of Friday at 9 a.m.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced at a Friday press conference that 70 people from The City’s largest homeless shelter have tested positive for Covid-19. Of those infected, 68 were residents and two are staff members at the multi-service center.
The mayor said more resources are being added to care for infected individuals at MSC South, which has now become a medical facility.
The mayor said:
“We are going to reroute our medical health experts, our nurses and other health support to this facility to help manage and maintain and support the people who have tested positive.”
The shelter, which regularly accommodates up to 340 individuals on any given night, was populated by roughly 100 people as of Thursday night, Breed said. The Department of Public Health initially reported Sunday that two people had tested positive from the facility. Dr. Grant Colfax, who leads the department, said the two people were moved into isolation at hotels and are in good condition.
Addressing initial contact investigations for the first two patients, Colfax said:
“As test results started to come back and we saw the extent of the spread, we moved on Wednesday to test all guests and staff at the shelter.”
A total of 144 residents and staff were tested, of which 71 returned negative results with three results pending as of Friday.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors and homeless advocates have warned for weeks that homeless shelters could be hotspots for Covid-19 to spread.
Supervisor Matt Haney tweeted the following as the outbreak news broke:
“This is terrible, devastating and preventable. We’ve been yelling and screaming for a month to get people out of these crowded shelters and protect people.”
Five supervisors have pushed for an emergency ordinance that would require The City to provide 8,000 hotel rooms for persons living on streets or in congregated settings. According to Haney, the mayor later agreed to the acquisition of 7,000 rooms.
As kitten birthing season moves into its peak, the shuttered San Francisco Animal Care and Control is offering kitten care kits in addition to limited services during the city’s shelter-in-place order. Though various shelters are still caring for injured or ill pets during the pandemic, they are currently unable to take in trapped cats and kittens. San Franciscans needing to obtain a kit can contact the agency at (415) 554-6364 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
San Mateo County
- Confirmed Cases: 638
- Deaths: 21
Source: San Mateo County Health Department with data reported through Thursday.
The Peninsula Humane Society has set up a free pet food bank for San Mateo County residents struggling to meet the needs of their pets in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis.
Santa Clara County
- Confirmed Cases: 1,484
- Deaths: 50
County officials addressed the “additional burdens” of children suffering abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a live stream hosted on Facebook Friday, officials shared information for those seeking help.
Santa Clara County nurses, supported by the local Registered Nurses Professional Association, called on the Board of Supervisors Friday to extend paid administrative leave by up to 80 additional hours for frontline healthcare workers amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
- Confirmed Cases: 121
- Deaths: 34
Source: Solano Public Health as of Friday at 4:30 p.m.
- Confirmed Cases: 145
- Deaths: 2
Source: County of Sonoma as of Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Jerold Chinn of SFBay and Bay City News contributed to this report.