The good news is people may soon see some financial relief in the form of stimulus payments and enhanced unemployment benefits. The bad news is that the number of U.S. cases soared past the half-million mark Saturday with just shy of 2,000 deaths in the 24 hours since our last update.
The numbers in California are climbing, but at a slower pace than what is being experienced in several other large cities across the country.
Not all county data is updated over the weekend, so we can anticipate a spike in confirmed cases by the end of Monday, but considering the Bay Area population and density, things could be much worse than they are here at home.
Here’s some information about those stimulus payments, unemployment benefits and a snapshot of the Bay Area Covid-19 situation as of Saturday.
- Confirmed Cases: 529,740
- Deaths: 20,604
Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center COVID-19 tracking tool as of Friday at 7:51 p.m.
The IRS said on their Twitter account Saturday that the first round of “Economic Impact Payments” have been deposited into bank accounts.
The statement added:
The payments, otherwise known as stimulus payments made possible by the federal CARES Act, will provide up to $1,200 per qualifying individual and $500 per qualifying child under the age of 17. The stimulus money is intended to soften the economic burden of widespread shelter-in-place orders, business closures and job loss in the wake of the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic.
Qualified people who filed 2018 or 2019 taxes and submitted bank account information for direct deposit refunds should automatically receive stimulus payments as the IRS processes them. Individuals who have not filed taxes in the past two years for one reason or another can enter deposit bank account information here. Qualified recipients who do not provide bank deposit information can expect paper checks to be mailed out on a staggered schedule, which could take several months.
According to the IRS, people who receive Social Security retirement, disability or survivor benefits, and those who receive Railroad Retirement benefits, should be paid automatically without further action required.
- Confirmed Cases: 22,395
- Deaths: 632
Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center COVID-19 tracking tool as of Saturday at 7:51 p.m.
Californians who have filed for and been granted unemployment due to Covid-19 can expect an $600 per week in addition to their regular calculated benefit beginning Sunday. The first enhanced payments are being added to benefits for the week ending Saturday. The California Employment Development Development has updated their Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) resource page in recent days with more detailed, though not completely definitive, information.
Confusion still surrounds how self-employed, independent contractor and gig workers report past earnings and are considered for eligibility, though EDD advises impacted workers file a claim and let the agency work out the details.
- Confirmed Cases: 806
- Deaths: 21
Source: The Alameda County Public Health Department with data reported through Friday.
The Oakland Slow Streets pilot program kicked off Saturday, which will eventually close off 74 miles of street, equivalent to 10 percent of the city’s streetscape, to make space for pedestrians and cyclists to safely practice social distancing while out in public amid the city’s shelter-in-place orders.
The county has reactivated a disaster relief fund that was first established in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The fund will be used to help struggling individual, community-based organizations, first responders and healthcare workers due to the financial strain associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.
County officials are calling on donations from private and public sources to help replenish the fund going forward.
City of Berkeley
- Confirmed Cases: 38
- Deaths: 1
Source: The City of Berkeley as of Friday. Berkeley reports separately from Alameda County.
Contra Costa County
- Confirmed Cases: 530
- Deaths: 11
Source: Contra Costa Health Services as of Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Concord City Councilman and former Mayor Edi Birsan said Friday that the city is actively relocating homeless residents from streets and congregated shelters, some of whom have been moved into hotel and motel rooms.
In a Facebook post, Birsan said that some of the rooms people were moved into did not offer microwaves, which are needed for warming food delivered by Meals on Wheels. He said that ProCan Labs, Concord’s first cannabis processing facility jumped in and purchased nine microwaves for homeless residents sheltered in rooms without.
The Board of Supervisors will consider Tuesday whether to ask Gov. Gavin Newsom to dispense with in-person voting for the November general election and opt for mail-in ballots only. County reports indicate that 25 percent of the county’s eligible voters cast ballots at physical polling locations and that the vast majority of poll workers are seniors, who are especially at risk of severe Covid-19 illness.
- Confirmed Cases: 153
- Deaths: 10
Source: Marin Health and Human Services as of Saturday.
Officials announced that a community conversation will be hosted Monday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the region’s potential hospital surge. Further details and meeting access can be found online.
- Confirmed Cases: 34
- Deaths: 2
Source: Department of Health and Human Services as of Saturday.
- Confirmed Cases: 857
- Deaths: 13
Source: San Francisco Department of Public Health as of Friday.
San Mateo County
- Confirmed Cases: 652
- Deaths: 21
Source: San Mateo County Health Department with data reported through Friday.
Santa Clara County
- Confirmed Cases: 1,566
- Deaths: 51
- Confirmed Cases: 121
- Deaths: 2
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 6 p.m.
Bay City News contributed to this report.