As of now, it looks like most large gatherings scheduled through 2020 around the Bay Area are unlikely to occur as evidenced by the cancellations of San Francisco’s Pride and 420 festivals.
Though several counties have yet to report the most current case count data, we’ve collected some important Tuesday updates from the region and beyond for you to catch up on here.
- Confirmed Cases: 608,377
- Deaths: 25,981
Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center Covid-19 tracking tool as of Tuesday at 6:44 p.m.
Tuesday, Donald Trump announced an immediate hold on U.S. funding to the World Health Organization pending a 60- to 90-day investigation, Trump said from his daily press conference in the Rose Garden.
“We spent $500 million a year, more than anyone else, including China.”
Trump went on to reiterate a “long list of problems” but specified “all of the mistakes that were made” in regards to the WHO’s handling of the 2019 novel coronavirus.
“I told President Xi the World Health Organization is very China-centric, meaning whatever it is, China was always right. You can’t do that, you can’t do that.”
Trump said he expects to hold a conference call with all governors, likely to be held Thursday. When asked whether he would also withhold federal funding from states with governors who do not “obey” his directions to reverse shelter orders, he said:
“I don’t want to say that. They’ll listen, we’ll be fine.”
He added that states need equipment from the federal stockpile, adding:
“The governors will be very, very respectful of the presidency.”
- Confirmed Cases: 25,537
- Deaths: 783
Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center Covid-19 tracking tool as of Tuesday at 6:45 p.m.
In a Tuesday press pressing, Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out six indicators that will frame the state’s ability to reopen. The six points mentioned include:
- The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed
- The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe Covid-19
- The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges
- The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand
- The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing with restructured floorplans
- The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary
The next phase, which the governor described as an “optimistic phase” is one where the state transitions from surge to suppression, on our way to “herd immunity and ultimately to a vaccine.” Though he described the suppression efforts as hopeful, he said:
“It’s also perhaps the most difficult and challenging phase of all, and that’s to say a lot because the last few weeks and months have been very challenging for all of us, indeed.”
No specific timeline was given, instead Newsom said science and data would guide future decisions. Though the governor acknowledged the state has so far evaded the projected worst case scenario, a credit to residents who have followed guidelines, he was sober in his message that the “new normal will be anything but.”
It is unlikely large gatherings will be deemed safe until a vaccine is approved and widely distributed, Newsom said, calling any decision to permit large events “negligible at best.”
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is extending the deadline to renew expiring driver’s licenses during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a statement released on the DMV website Tuesday. According to the statement, licenses for people under 70 that are set to expire between March and May will remain valid through May 31. The extension for commercial drivers pushes through to June 30.
Covered California enrollments have skyrocketed over the course of the past three weeks, officials said. The increase, estimated to be three times what is regularly seen during this time of year, is not a surprise given the number of people who have recently lost jobs. Many employers provide health insurance for workers, leaving those employees without coverage when their job is terminated.
More than 58,000 Californians have enrolled in the program since March 20. Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said:
“We know there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who have either lost their health insurance or were uninsured when this crisis began, and we want them to know there is a path to coverage ready for them.”
- Confirmed Cases: 884
- Deaths: 23
Source: The Alameda County Public Health Department with data reported through Sunday and including Berkeley.
There have now been 11 deaths related to Covid-19 reported from Hayward’s Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center, according to health officials Tuesday. Forty resident and 25 staff members have tested positive at the skilled nursing facility on Patrick Avenue.
Officials also said Tuesday that the first resident has died from novel coronavirus at the East Bay Post-Acute Healthcare Center in Castro Valley. There are currently 22 residents and 23 staff members who have been infected at that one facility.
When two students at University of California at Berkeley started producing hand sanitizer for themselves and their peers in a campus lab, they realized the operation could be scaled to supply the Bay Area’s most vulnerable populations during the Covid-19 health crisis. They have so far produced in the range of 400 gallons of sanitizer that has been distributed to jails, homeless populations and other various places throughout the Bay Area.
Teachers and principals from Oakland public schools have launched a “Stimulus Pledge” campaign that urgently asks people to donate a portion of their stimulus payments to undocumented families who are not eligible for assistance under the CARES Act. The Oakland group hopes all other schools and districts follow their lead.
Emerson Elementary School principal Heather Palin said:
“As principals, we know there is a huge need in the community. Everyone is struggling, but undocumented families receive the least support and are particularly vulnerable.”
Donations can be made online at StimulusPledge.org.
Contra Costa County
- Confirmed Cases: 600
- Deaths: 12
Source: Contra Costa Health Services as of Tuesday at 4:40 a.m.
Dr. Chris Farnitano, the county health officer issued an order effective Tuesday at 2 p.m. that suspends additional intakes at homeless shelters and further demands strict social distancing guidelines be followed in shelter facilities.
The Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a countywide ordinance that prohibits evictions and rent hikes for both residential and business tenants for the duration of the Covid-19 emergency. Several cities in the county have passed similar moratoriums, but supervisors felt the widespread approach is more practical and consistent.
Supervisor John Gioia pushed a key provision into the ordinance, which allows renters a minimum of 120 from the end of the state’s shelter-in-order to pay landlords for the missed months.
The ordinance is expected to have a final vote cast April 21 after the county counsel’s office crafts the complete legislation.
Also Tuesday, supervisors voted 5-0 to ask Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare November’s election be handled by mail-in-only ballots. The uncertainty about lockdowns due to the coronavirus have election officials concerned about establishing polling places, which are often staffed by elderly citizens who are most vulnerable to Covid-19 complications.
Scott Konopasek, the county deputy registrar of voters, said six other counties “are considering taking action based on what” Contra Costa does.
- Confirmed Cases: 171
- Deaths: 10
Source: Marin Health and Human Services as of Tuesday.
Officials announced Tuesday that the Marin Community Foundation, in partnership with the County, have decided to use all funds donated from Tuesday on toward emergency rent assistance for struggling residents. Donations to the fund can be made online.
- Confirmed Cases: 38
- Deaths: 2
Source: Department of Health and Human Services as of Saturday.
Health officials said Tuesday that of the 731 individuals tested, 128 people are still awaiting results and 64 people are being monitored due to close contact with someone who has been confirmed.
- Confirmed Cases: 987
- Deaths: 15
Source: San Francisco Department of Public Health with data through Monday.
In line with the governor’s view on large gatherings in the foreseeable future, San Francisco Pride organizers announced Tuesday that the annual parade and in-person celebration will be canceled this year. The 2020 event, which was scheduled over the weekend of June 27, marks the 50th anniversary. Officials were expecting upwards of one million people who travel in from around the world to participate.
Local organizers are collaborating with other Pride organizations worldwide to present a Virtual Globe Pride on June 27.
While acknowledging the cancellation is disappointing, Mayor London Breed said:
“This is the right decision.”
It was similarly announced Monday that the Hippie Hill 420 festival will be prohibited. Barricades will be established around the Golden Gate Park space known to fill up with anywhere between 10,000 and 19,000 people celebrating cannabis in all its forms.
San Mateo County
- Confirmed Cases: 721
- Deaths: 21
Source: San Mateo County Health Department with data reported through Monday.
Santa Clara County
- Confirmed Cases: 1,666
- Deaths: 60
- Confirmed Cases: 140
- Deaths: 2
Source: Solano Public Health as of Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
- Confirmed Cases: 152
- Deaths: 2
Source: County of Sonoma with data as of Monday at 7 p.m.
A Pandemic Response Unit has been launched from the ranks of the Santa Rosa Fire Department, officials said Tuesday. A “Squad 1” vehicle used by the special unit is equipped with personal protective and specialized life support equipment. One firefighter and one emergency medical technician from the department will staff the Squad 1 vehicle in an effort to minimize virus exposure among department crews and staff.