Despite heaviness that comes with the fight against the 2019 novel coronavirus, there are glimmers of hope in how leaders, organizations and people are stepping up to help communities weather the storm.
Here’s a snapshot of the Covid-19 situation as of Tuesday night from around the Bay Area and beyond.
- Confirmed Cases: 824,147
- Deaths: 44,999
Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center COVID-19 tracking tool as of Monday at 6:53 p.m.
After weeks of delay and blame shifting in Congress, help may soon be coming for small businesses left behind in the rush to secure federal relief loans and grants made available through the first CARES Act. Congress and White House officials came to a tentative deal on the next relief package, coined CARES 2, aimed primarily at replenishing the tapped Paycheck Protection Program and tackling myriad other urgent issues.
In a joint statement issued Tuesday by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the leaders outlined the tentative deal without missing the opportunity to blame GOP members of Congress for delaying an agreement due to their alleged “refusal to negotiate in a bipartisan way.”
The statement read:
“Democrats flipped this emergency package from an insufficient Republican plan that left behind hospitals and health and frontline workers and did nothing to aid the survival of the most vulnerable small businesses on Main Street. We have achieved an agreement that follows the path set by the bipartisan CARES Act by strengthening the Paycheck Protection Program, expanding small business support beyond PPP by increasing funding for emergency disaster loans and grants and providing an additional $100 billion for hospitals, providers and testing in a way that addresses the health needs of the American people.”
According to the statement, the bill, if passed by both chambers, allocates $310 billion to the PPP and bolsters community lenders, disaster lending and grants for small businesses and secures business protections for farmers. In addition, the bill allocates $25 billion for a national testing program and $75 billion for frontline worker and hospital resources, including personal protective equipment.
The Senate later Tuesday passed the legislation, which is now on its way to the House for an expected vote by Thursday.
Trump Tuesday tweeted his support of the bill and previously committed to addressing the need for additional funds at the state, tribal and local levels. Democrats repeatedly attempted to include those funding agendas in the CARES 2 bill but were unsuccessful.
- Confirmed Cases: 35,465
- Deaths: 1,282
Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center COVID-19 global tracking tool as of Tuesday at 6:54 p.m.
Gov. Gavin Newsom called on healthy Californians Tuesday to help their communities through the Covid-19 pandemic by volunteering in a number of capacities.
The state launched a Californians For All volunteer matching program where individuals can sign up online and identify service interests and skill sets they can offer the initiative.
People can select from a basic list of service needs, including working at food banks, delivering meals, calling to check on seniors, taking 211 calls, tutoring, working in shelter facilities or serving in some other various capacity.
The governor also said Tuesday in a press briefing that the state is beginning to flatten the curve but that the substantial decline necessary to reopen the state has yet to occur.
Newsom stressed the need for residents to continue staying at home and physically distancing when out as the only way to prevent a second surge he said could be far worse than the first.
The California Employment Development Department will begin accepting applications for the expanded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program April 28. The PUA program is reserved for self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers and other individuals who are unable to work due to the Covid-19 pandemic and do not qualify for traditional Unemployment Insurance benefits.
In order to qualify for PUA benefits, individuals must meet one of 11 criteria. A full list of criteria is available online.
The EDD site also now breaks down in phases benefit amounts and payment durations for workers hoping to be covered under the PUA program. Payments are expected to be calculated as follows:
- Phase 1: $167 per week for each week you were unemployed from February 2, 2020 to March 28, 2020 due to a Covid-19 related reason.
- Phase 2: $167 plus $600 per week for each week you were unemployed from March 29, 2020 to July 25, 2020, due to a Covid-19 related reason.
- Phase 3: $167 per week, for each week from July 26, 2020 to December 26, 2020, that you are unemployed due to a Covid-19 related reason, up to a total of 39 weeks (minus any weeks of regular UI and certain extended UI benefits that you have received).
- Confirmed Cases: 1,239
- Deaths: 43
Source: The Alameda County Public Health Department with data reported through Monday and including Berkeley.
The East Bay SPCA will Friday offer free cat and dog food for pet owners in need. The drive-through pet food pantry — no walk-ups allowed — will be held in Oakland at 410 Hegenberger Road between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Oakland’s school district, city officials and the Oakland Public Education Fund have come together in a massive effort to raise more than $1.5 million to help feed the city’s students and their families during the Covid-19 pandemic. Funds have been used to give away more than 700,000 meals and bags of groceries for about 14,000 families. The food service is expected to continue until at least early June.
Now that the initial $1.5 COVID Relief Fund for Oakland Students and Schools goal has been met, the same coalition looks to keep the fundraiser rolling as a way to supplement the city’s expenses associated with supplying students with technology — devices and internet connectivity — necessary for successful distance learning. Mayor Libby Schaaf said Tuesday that Oakland will need to raise an initial $12.5 million to distribute the technology and another $4 annually to maintain it.
Donations can be made at oaklandedfund.org.
Contra Costa County
- Confirmed Cases: 749
- Deaths: 22
Source: Contra Costa Health Services as of Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.
Richmond and Concord have reported the highest number of confirmed cases with 81 and 68, respectively. However, those numbers do not take into account concentration of cases per capita — Orinda maintains the highest concentration with an infection rate of 276 per 100,000 people.
Of patients so far identified, individuals between the ages of 21 to 60 make up a wide majority.
- Confirmed Cases: 200
- Deaths: 10
Source: Marin Health and Human Services as of Tuesday.
Supervisors unanimously approved a doubling of the county’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to immediately provide rental assistance for residents who are homeless or facing homelessness. The initial $1 million fund, of which $650,000 was set aside for rental assistance, was made possible by the county and the Marin Community Foundation. But nearly 1,500 requests totaling $2.4 million quickly flooded in after the fund was established.
Tuesday’s vote to double the fund will enable the county to serve more residents, but supervisors realize that may still not be enough. Staff has been directed to further explore use of an additional $938,065 allocated through the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the CARES Act federal relief package.
According to the county’s health department Tuesday update, a total of 48 people in 10 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in Marin County have reportedly contracted the virus. Of the confirmed patients, 24 are residents and 24 are staff members.
- Confirmed Cases: 54
- Deaths: 2
Source: Department of Health and Human Services as of Tuesday
Officials said Tuesday that a total of 1,135 people have been tested countywide, with 220 results still pending.
- Confirmed Cases: 1,231
- Deaths: 20
Source: San Francisco Department of Public Health with data through Monday.
San Francisco will this week launch a Slow Streets Program much like the one seen recently in Oakland. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency identified corridors on 12 streets that have low traffic congestion and easily connect residents to essential services, SFMTA Transportation Director Jeffrey Tumlin said Tuesday.
The program was adopted as a way to give residents more space to physically distance from each other when outside their homes for essential trips or recreation. Though people will maintain access to their driveways and pedestrians will not have full right-of-way privilege, signage and traffic cones will be installed along each corridor to establish pedestrian spaces.
San Mateo County
- Confirmed Cases: 935
- Deaths: 28
Source: San Mateo County Health Department with data reported through Monday.
Service on 31 SamTrans routes will be reduced or eliminated beginning this weekend due to drastic ridership decline since the Covid-19 shelter orders went into effect last month. Officials said the agency has lost 65-70 percent of its regular riders on most routes. Route and schedule change details can be accessed at www.samtrans.com/timetableupdates.
Also, in accordance with the county’s public health order, the agency will now require that all operators and passengers wear face coverings.
Santa Clara County
- Confirmed Cases: 1,946
- Deaths: 88
The health department reports that as of Tuesday, 175 people are currently hospitalized with severe Covid-19 illness.
The county also shared that people with one or more underlying illnesses account for 89 percent of the area’s death toll.
The region’s unfortunately large data set enables surrounding areas to glean important information about the impact of the virus.
- Confirmed Cases: 181
- Deaths: 3
Source: Solano Public Health as of Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
County health officials reported Tuesday ICU beds and ventilators remain in healthy supply.
The county announced plans to expand the area’s testing capacity by establishing a drive-through facility at 2101 Courage Drive in Fairfield.
Test appointments can be made after a symptoms screening by calling (707) 784-8655. Priority will be given to elderly and people with underlying conditions, officials said.
Dr. Bela Matyas, Solano County health officer, said:
“Prioritizing testing for elderly adults and those with underlying conditions is critical because these individuals are the most vulnerable for severe COVID-19 disease.”
“It is our responsibility to keep the elderly and chronically ill safe, as well as protect the essential workforce who have been taking care of our community’s needs.”
- Confirmed Cases: 192
- Deaths: 2
Source: County of Sonoma with data as of Monday at 8:52 p.m.