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Covid-19 update: State to allow elective surgeries, widespread face covering orders take effect, activists use tech in Earth Day call to action

Stay-at-home orders did not stop activists and the rest of the world from celebrating the 50th year of Earth Day.

The Earth Day network organized a 24-hour online day of action where viewers can watch performances and speeches calling for “climate action,” which is this year’s theme. 

A number of elected officials, religious leaders and celebrities joined the online event, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Pope Francis and singer Jason Mraz.

Pexels Activists held a virtual Earth Day Wednesday, April 22, 2020 calling on people to take climate action around the world.


  • Confirmed Cases: 840,476
  • Deaths: 46,611

Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center COVID-19 global tracking tool as of Wednesday at 6:51 p.m.

Open SFBay USA coronavirus tracker.


  • Confirmed Cases: 37,344
  • Deaths: 1,421

Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center COVID-19 global tracking tool as of Wednesday at 6:51 p.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said at his daily press briefing that the state will begin allowing hospitals to perform scheduled elective surgeries.

Elective surgeries were halted in March as hospitals prepared for a surge in Covid-19 cases. The governor said it is imperative these procedures can occur, that surgeries for tumors or heart valves could lead to greater health risks if delayed.

Newsom said: 

“These are surgeries that yes are scheduled, but also are essential.”

The recommendation to resume elective surgeries was based on expert advice and an indication that sufficient hospital space is available.

Hospital capacity is one of six indicators the governor and state officials are using to determine when and how to pull back shelter-in-place restrictions.

The governor also said the state has a phase one goal of testing 60,000 people per day, but hopes to get closer to 80,000 per day. He announced Wednesday that 86 test sites will be added statewide.


New mask requirements became effective Wednesday in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo and San Francisco counties. The health orders require the public to wear face coverings while inside essential businesses and while riding public transit. 

No face coverings are required when exercising or when in the same vehicle as a household member.

Officials remind the public that wearing a face covering does not replace physical distancing but helps to slow the spread of Covid-19. 

BART officials said they are directing police resources to station entrances and fare gates to enforce the orders.

Police will remind passengers not wearing face coverings that they can use any material they have to cover their noses and mouths. BART said police will ask passengers to leave the transit system if they refuse to comply.

Jesse Garnier/SF SFBay Covid-19 dashboard as of Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 9:08 p.m.
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Alameda County

  • Confirmed Cases: 1,280
  • Deaths: 45

Source: The Alameda County Public Health Department with data reported through Tuesday and including Berkeley.

Kaiser Permanente is building a $14 million, 7,700-square-foot lab in Berkeley that officials say will eventually be able to process 10,000 Covid-19 tests per day.

Kaiser is rushing to open the new lab by June 1 on Second Street in North Berkeley.
With more than 4.5 million members, Kaiser is currently able to conduct 1,500 tests each day for at-risk and hospitalized patients.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff said Wednesday that the city has awarded emergency grants to 90 micro businesses who do not qualify for small business loans. The total amount awarded was $500,000, Schaff said.

The mayor said:

“These are the kinds of businesses that are not getting access to those SBA loans but make Oakland the unique, special place that it is.”

Schaff will hold her weekly Thursday online town hall that can be watched on her Facebook page, Youtube and on her Twitter account @LibbySchaaf.

Pixnio Kaiser Permanente is rushing to build a $14 million, 7,700-square-foot Covid-19 testing lab in Berkeley, Calif. by June 1, 2020.

Contra Costa County

  • Confirmed Cases: 763 
  • Deaths: 22

Source: Contra Costa Health Services as of Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

Health officials in Contra Costa County have announced four new drive-thru Covid-19 testing sites available to any residents with virus symptoms.

The new drive-thru sites are by appointment only and available to anyone regardless of insurance.

Candace Andersen, chair of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement:

“Testing is more available now than it has ever been since this pandemic began, and we have the opportunity to give more people the health information they need to care for themselves.”

The new facilities are located at the Contra Costa Public Health Clinic Services facility at 2500 Bates Ave. in Concord; the Martinez Health Center at 2500 Alhambra Ave. in Martinez; the Pittsburg Health Center at 2311 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg; and the West County Health Center at 23601 San Pablo Ave. in San Pablo.

County residents with symptoms like fever and cough should call (844) 421-0804 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for a confidential screening by a health professional. Based on the symptoms, callers may receive health advice or an appointment to one of the four drive-thru testing sites.

Persons with an appointment will need to drive with their own personal vehicle. Testing is done without the person leaving their vehicle. Results should be returned within three to five days.

Marin County

  • Confirmed Cases: 203 
  • Deaths: 11

Source: Marin Health and Human Services as of Wednesday.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a measure allowing the county’s director of finance to waive property tax penalties for county residents who still have not paid property taxes due to pandemic-related hardship.

County officials said as of Monday, there were 4,940 unpaid secured property tax bills, which represents nearly $30 million in delinquent taxes.

Property owners can file for a waiver on the county’s website at

Napa County

  • Confirmed Cases: 57
  • Deaths: 2

Source: Department of Health and Human Services as of Wednesday.

Two Points Couture/Flickr Cloth, non-medical face coverings are seen in this photo dated Thursday, April 16, 2020.

Napa County health officials Wednesday made a strong recommendation that residents wear face coverings when in public.

They are asking people to wear coverings when inside or waiting in line at essential businesses, while riding public transit, when seeking medical help and when entering any public facility.

Other Bay Area counties have made masks or face coverings mandatory at all essential businesses and while riding public transit.

San Francisco

  • Confirmed Cases: 1,233
  • Deaths: 21

Source: San Francisco Department of Public Health with data through Tuesday. 

San Francisco officials announced Wednesday that they have expanded The City’s CityTestSF program to serve all essential workers and residents with Covid-19 symptoms.

Mayor London Breed said in a statement:

“Our goal is for every San Francisco resident who has symptoms of COVID-19 to have access to testing. We want to ensure all frontline and essential employees that leave their homes every day to serve our residents have a fast, easy, and accessible option for testing.”

The site at Piers 30-32 — originally reserved frontline city employees only — will now begin testing all essential workers, whether from the private or public sector.

Pier 30 - 32 San Francisco
Steven Damron/Flickr Piers 30-32 on The City’s Embarcadero is being used as a Covid-19 testing facility. (Steven Damron/Flickr)

CityTestSF also has a site in the South of Market where residents with symptoms can be tested. The site allows for walk- and drive-through testings, health officials said. 

Anyone who qualifies for testing needs to make an appointment at or by calling 311.

San Mateo County

  • Confirmed Cases: 958
  • Deaths: 39

Source: San Mateo County Health Department with data reported through Tuesday.

San Mateo County health officials said Tuesday that three skilled nursing facilities will care for patients who have confirmed Covid-19 and who have been discharged from hospitals.

The first three facilities include Pacifica Nursing & Rehab Center in Pacifica, specific sections of Seton Medical Center in Daly City, and St. Francis Convalescent Pavilion in Daly City. Officials said if needed they can identify up to two more facilities in the future.

The facilities will treat patients with Covid-19 who need a higher level of care, said San Mateo County Health.

Santa Clara County

  • Confirmed Cases: 1,962
  • Deaths: 94

Source: Santa Clara County Public Health Department as of Wednesday. 

Santa Clara’s Public Health Department announced Wednesday that its Covid-19 data tracker will now include race and ethnicity information.

Dr. Sara Cody, the county’s public health officer said in a statement:

​”We are committed to providing the public with accurate and timely information that can be used to inform public action to protect residents and patients. The Public Health Department has a long-standing commitment to advancing racial and health equity grounded in partnership with community leaders and members.”​ 

A look at the county’s dashboard Wednesday reflects that Latino/Hispanic and Asian communities have been hardest hit, representing 36 percent and 23 percent of the total cases.  

Solano County

  • Confirmed Cases: 186
  • Deaths: 3

Source: Solano Public Health as of Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

Sonoma County

  • Confirmed Cases: 194
  • Deaths: 2

Source: County of Sonoma with data as of Wednesday at 9:08 p.m.

Jesse Garnier/SFBay SFBay world Covid-19 tracker as of Wednesday, April 22, 2020.
Open SFBay Worldwide coronavirus tracker.

Update: This article was updated to reflect Wednesday case information reported by Sonoma County as of 9:08 p.m.

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