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Covid-19 update: Two San Quentin inmates die, Marin County hits state watchlist, economic outlook bleak for July

Covid-19 is not just a story about health, though its impact on human health has been devastating on a global scale. The pandemic, which has ripped through the U.S. with unparalleled velocity, reaches into almost every important facet of our lives. It has separated us from social circles, driven us indoors, canceled momentous events, shuttered our businesses, intensified political division and created an economic disaster. There’s not much in our lives Covid-19 hasn’t managed to infiltrate.

While we often focus on statistics around case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths, there are times that warrant further discussion about how the trendline translates to our bottom line. The jobs report released Thursday gives us an opportunity to explore the economic picture and consequences that could materialize if leaders don’t act as swiftly as the virus is spreading.

Despite relatively valiant efforts by local leaders and Bay Area residents, the region is experiencing an alarming growth in confirmed cases. Hospitals are struggling to keep up in some counties as new patients pour into acute and intensive care units. Many businesses that hoped to reopen this past week have had to hold off as the surge soars past our darkest days in April.

Jesse Garnier SFBay Covid-19 dashboard reflects confirmed cases regionally quickly approaching 28,000 and deaths inching toward 600 as of Friday, July 3, 2020.

Here, we touch on how we’re faring as a country and as a region, and there’s a lot to unpack.                 


  • Confirmed Cases: 2,793,435
  • Deaths: 129,432

Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center COVID-19 global tracking tool as of Friday at 6:33 p.m.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday that 4.8 million jobs were added across the U.S. in the month of June, making a small dent in the more than 20 million jobs lost when the pandemic effectively shut down the economy in April. About 1.5 million jobs added came from the restaurant and bar industry as Covid-19 regulations relaxed last month and enabled hospitality and leisure businesses to reopen with health and safety modifications.

However, the recent surge in new case and hospitalization rates nationwide have caused several cities, counties and states to roll back on some of their reopening plans. In many places with intense spikes, bars have since been ordered to shut down and indoor dining service has ceased. Simply, the June job gains in hospitality and leisure industries are fragile.

Spurekar Oakland City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that requires employers to provide 80 hours paid sick leave to all full-time essential workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. The measure in Oakland, Calif. builds on the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act that exempted large businesses.

The sense of relief that came with the jobs report and decline of the national unemployment rate was evident by Thursday morning’s short-lived stock market rally. But the unemployment rate cited as 11.1 percent by the BLS is peppered with nuance.

As CNN Business explained Thursday, the data collectors for the Labor Department have for four months now misclassified some workers as “employed not at work” when in fact they should have been recorded as “unemployed on temporary layoff.” 

CNN calculated that the June unemployment rate should actually be as high as 12.3 percent when adjusting for the classification error. When breaking down the job numbers by age demographics, the unemployment rate among young workers, aged 16 to 25, is 20.7 percent.

Bytemarks Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday, April 15, 2020 that enables the Employment Development Office to greatly expand call center hours and hire an additional 1,500 staff to handle the nearly three million claims made since the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak.

A return of nearly 5 million jobs is nothing to laugh at, but we are still a long way from restoring the remaining 15 million jobs lost in what some are calling the “pandemic recession.” Compounding the dire economic reality is the ticking clock of July, when enhanced pandemic unemployment benefits are set to expire.

July also brings an end to many local temporary orders protecting residents from evictions and utility service cutoffs. If local leaders and Congress fail to act quickly, countless Americans will face an untenable financial crisis. 

The Covid-19 pandemic is stubbornly soaring across the nation, forcing previously resistant states to issue more strict mask and health orders in recent days — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott imposed a mask mandate in most counties effective Friday.  

The reality is that we are far from controlling the spread of the virus and far from full economic recovery. Those two factors collide into a financial nightmare for many Americans struggling to regain employment and pay basic bills without local, state or federal help. In May, the House passed a second $3 trillion federal stimulus bill dubbed the HEROES Act that would provide individuals making up to $75,000 a year with another one-time $1,200 payment and an additional $1,200 per dependent, up to a maximum of three dependents.

The new stimulus bill, in its current version, covers people in age groups left behind by the first CARES Act bill, namely teens and adult dependents over the age of 17. Remember that older teens and young adults are facing a nearly 21 percent unemployment rate with the loss of seasonal, retail and restaurant jobs.

A provision of the HEROES Act is an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits set to expire at the end of this month. Senate Republicans and White House officials have so far resisted the idea of extending those benefits. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to take up a vote on the bill prior to the July recess, which officially began Friday. By the time members are expected to return to D.C. on July 18, the country could be staring down the barrel of even greater economic disaster.      

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Boosting the economy to somewhere near normal levels is contingent on reopening businesses and getting people back to work, but that goal post keeps moving as the virus keeps spreading. The Trump administration has been laser-focused on the economic recovery — much less so on a unified response to control the spread. 

White House officials Friday shared a preview of the new strategy they plan to roll out next week, one that now admits that Covid-19 is not going to simply fade away but that calls on Americans to “live with it.”  


  • Confirmed Cases: 250,514
  • Deaths: 6,315

Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center COVID-19 global tracking tool as of Friday at 6:33 p.m.

Masks dominated the theme of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Thursday Covid-19 briefing as he announced the launch of a major public awareness campaign to encourage residents to wear masks when outside homes and practice physical distancing, especially over the holiday weekend. 

The statewide “Wear A Mask” campaign is being pushed through television and radio ads in English and Spanish, and will also be highlighted on billboards and as outdoor advertisements.

In a statement issued Thursday, Newsom said:

“We all need to stand up, be leaders, show we care and get this done.”  

The video ads purposefully highlight dark consequences of not wearing masks and the potential harm to elders who contract the virus as a result.

On a lighter note, several celebrities and local personalities have contributed to the effort with personalized messages to the public, including Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.


The Association of Bay Area Health Officials issued a statement Thursday urging residents to stay home and stay safe over the Fourth of July weekend. As was repeated by individual counties, gathering with people outside immediate household members, especially over the holiday weekend, can pose serious health risks.

The statement said:

“You can spread COVID-19 even if you don’t feel that sick. You can pass the disease to someone else before you have symptoms, and even if you never develop any symptoms at all. When infected people come in contact with others who are high-risk, there can be deadly consequences.” 

Open SFBay Bay Area coronavirus dashboard in new window.

Alameda County

  • Confirmed Cases: 6,472
  • Deaths: 140

Source: Alameda County Public Health Department as of Friday with data reported through Thursday.

County health officials have reported an additional four Covid-19 deaths and another 316 positive test results since Wednesday’s update. Despite increasing case numbers, the county’s seven-day rolling average of Covid-19 tests administered dropped from 3,137 per week reported on June 25 to 2,582 per week.

A nurse epidemiologist who has chosen to remain anonymous said on Twitter Wednesday that an East Bay Area hospital she works in ran out of body bags. In an email with SFBay, the nurse said the hospital is located in Oakland but she was not comfortable providing the specific facility name. 

More than 2,500 Oakland residents have so far tested positive for the virus.

Thursday, the nurse again posted on Twitter and said:

“The COVID-19 (intensive care unit) is full, the regular ICU is just about full, and we are converting another part of the hospital into an ICU. Also, administration is trying to get travel nurses to staff those additional beds.”

Alameda County Public Health Department Alameda County hospitalizations by day as of Friday, July 3, 2020.

The county health department has not provided hospitalization data beyond Wednesday when there were 123 Covid-19 patients admitted, 43 in ICU beds. There’s been a nearly 62 percent increase in hospitalizations since June 21. 

The city of Oakland is expanding outdoor space businesses can apply to use through the Flex Streets Initiative. As of Thursday, some vacant, outdoor city properties have been made available for commercial use, adding to the sidewalk, parking lane, traffic lane and private parking lot areas previously opened up to retail merchants and restaurants. 

The application for flex space can be accessed online.    

Contra Costa County

  • Confirmed Cases: 3,432
  • Deaths: 79

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

Friday’s health department data reported 101 new confirmed cases and one death in the past 24 hours. In Richmond alone, 799 people have so far been infected — Concord is experiencing the county’s second highest case count with 417 positive test results. The rolling seven-day average countywide is now 107 new cases per day.

Fifty Covid-19 patients are currently receiving hospital treatment countywide, a jump from 32 patients on June 29. Of the 79 reported deaths to date, one was between the ages of 31 to 40 and five between 51 and 60 years old. The remaining 73 people were over the age of 61.

Jesse Garnier SFBay Covid-19 dashboard highlighting Contra Costa County confirmed cases by day as of Friday, July 3, 2020.

Testing is available with “no up-front cost” in 11 different cities. Residents with or without a medical referral can find further information and book test appointments by visiting the county’s health department website.      

Marin County*

  • Confirmed Cases: 2,774
  • Deaths: 21

Source: Marin Health and Human Services as of Friday.

*Marin County began reporting San Quentin State Prison cases separately, but for the purposes of tracking actual infections and potential impact on the county, we’ve included inmate cases with the county’s cumulative total. Staff member infections are detailed below but are included in county of residence totals. 

Marin County was flagged Friday on the state’s monitoring list — if it remains on the list through Saturday, health officials said indoor dining could be required to close by Sunday.

Dr. Lisa Santora, the county’s deputy public health officer, said in a Friday statement:

“Now is the time for us to buckle down and be vigilant about adhering to key aspects of the shelter-in-place order.”

She added:

“Wearing facial coverings, adhering to social bubble guidelines, and practicing social distancing are among those aspects. We’ve made gradual steps forward, and without our continued vigilance we will be forced to shut down portions of our economy again.”

Though hospitalization numbers remain fairly low at face value, with 28 Covid-19 patients currently admitted, the data reflects a 40 percent jump in the four-day period between June 27 and July 1.  

San Quentin State Prison 

At the prison, a cumulative 1,408 inmates have so far tested positive, according to data reported by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The first two inmate deaths were reported by CDCR Friday.

Thirteen of 165 infected San Quentin staff members have recovered and returned to work. The cumulative number of confirmed cases deriving from the prison facility, inmates and staff, is a staggering 1,573. 

<a href="">Edward Stojakovic</a>/Flickr As of Friday, July 3, 2020, a total of 1,408 San Quentin State Prison inmates have tested positive for Covid-19 and two have died as a result.

Largely due to the outbreak at San Quentin, the CDCR is currently reporting an infection rate of 47 per 1,000 people, which is astronomically higher than the 4.7 per 1,000 people reported throughout the rest of the state on the last day of available comparable data.

Napa County

  • Confirmed Cases: 344
  • Deaths: 4

Source: Department of Health and Human Services as of Friday at 1:30 p.m.

County officials report Thursday that a total of seven Covid-19 patients are currently hospitalized. Of the 344 countywide cases, more than 50 percent have been identified among residents between the ages of 18 to 49 and three-fifths of those infected cumulatively have been Hispanic.   

San Francisco

  • Confirmed Cases: 3,776
  • Deaths: 50

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

Since our Wednesday night update, San Francisco has added another 128 confirmed cases to its cumulative total and reports the highest hospitalization rate since May 6. Of the 70 confirmed Covid-19 patients hospitalized as of Wednesday — the last day data was made available — a reported 19 were transferred to San Francisco hospitals from other locations. Still, 35 acute and 16 ICU patients are considered city residents. 

San Francisco Department of Public Health San Francisco confirmed Covid-19 patient hospitalization rates by day with data reported through Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The June 30 rate was the highest its been in San Francisco, Calif. since May 6.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who represents the Mission District, announced the launch of the Right to Recover program that will replace up to four weeks of income for city residents who test positive for Covid-19 and have no other funding sources to replace employment wages.

The program is made possible by the Give2SF recovery fund, which has drawn donations from private and public sectors. Ronen was driven to launch the program after a University of California at San Francisco study found that of the Mission District’s infected population, 90 percent were essential workers and 95 percent were Latinx, several of whom are not eligible for federal stimulus or traditional unemployment assistance. 

San Mateo County

  • Confirmed Cases: 3,441 
  • Deaths: 108

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

The hospitalization rate for Covid-19 patients in San Mateo County increased by 42 percent in the four-day period between Saturday and Tuesday. The area is returning a fairly high test positivity rate of nearly 4.9 percent, with the vast majority of confirmed cases coming out of the cities of San Mateo and Redwood City, accounting for 743 and 608 cases, respectively. 

Seventy-three of the county’s total 108 deaths stem from cases at long-term care facilities.

Santa Clara County

  • Confirmed Cases: 4,849
  • Deaths: 160

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

It was announced Thursday that Santa Clara County went ahead with its attestation and request for a state-granted variance that would allow for greater flexibility in reopening businesses like gyms and hair salons. According to the statement issued Thursday, if the variance is approved, the county hopes to allow several businesses to resume operations by July 13. Targeted businesses under the variance would include:

  • Personal Services (including hair and nail salons, tattoo and piercing shops, massage therapy, and other services providing body care services)
  • Gatherings (including social, religious, political, ceremonial, athletic, and other types of gatherings)
  • Gyms and fitness Centers
  • Public Transit 
  • Recreation and athletics
  • Construction 
  • Hotels/Motels
  • Agriculture
  • Outdoor pools
  • Food facilities
  • Outdoor dining
  • Childcare, summer camps and children’s activities

However, the county is one of 19 with more than three consecutive days on California’s County Monitoring List ordered to hold or impose regulations on several high-risk industries. 

In the past 48 hours, the county has added an additional 277 new cases to its cumulative total and report that 90 Covid-19 patients are currently hospitalized.

Santa Clara County Public Health Santa Clara County Covid-19 hospitalizations by day as of Friday, July 3, 2020.

Solano County

  • Confirmed Cases: 1,476
  • Deaths: 25 

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

Forty of the 1,476 confirmed Covid-19 patients are currently hospitalized countywide. Vallejo is still experiencing the highest number of infections with 558 confirmed so far, though numbers are rising in the city of Fairfield, which is now reporting 489 positive test results.

Similarly to what’s being seen across the region, Solano County’s hospitalization rates have increased substantially over the past week — the rate jumped 57 percent in the seven-day period between June 25 and Thursday. 

Sonoma County

  • Confirmed Cases: 1,267
  • Deaths: 11

Source: County of Sonoma with data as of Thursday night.

Sonoma County has recorded an additional four deaths and 82 confirmed cases since Tuesday, according to county health department reporting.  


  • Confirmed Cases: 11,047,217
  • Deaths: 524,614

Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center COVID-19 global tracking tool as of Friday at 6:33 p.m.

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