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As Bay Area deaths from Covid accelerate, county public health departments continue to warn the public that Covid-19 case data reported each day may not present the full picture of the total reported cases due to a glitch in California’s reporting data system. 

Several public health departments have put up notices of the technical issue and a fix for the state of the system is unknown. County health officials said the figures that are coming in each day are accurate, but incomplete.

Covid-19 fatalities in the Bay Area reached a grim milestone this week, with the 7-day average of deaths topping out at 10.6 as of Monday, the highest level seen thus far as a result of the pandemic.

William Newton/Flickr A billboard on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, Calif. is seen on Saturday, July 25, 2020.

U.S.

  • Confirmed Cases: 4,821,458
  • Deaths: 158,174

Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center Covid-19 global tracking tool as of Wednesday at 6:37 p.m.

Transit leaders across the nation Wednesday held a virtual rally calling on Congress to ensure that the next funding relief package includes at least $32 billion for public transit agencies.

Across the U.S. and Bay Area, agencies are suffering financially due to Covid-19, including BART and San Francisco Muni — both of which have had to cut service as passengers have opted to work at home. 

Fewer passengers mean less revenue at the fare box. BART General Manager Bob Powers, joined several transit systems, including New York’s MTA and Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in calling for congressional leaders to help agencies:

“At its core, the economy cannot and it will not recover. Without transit. We need Congress to act now to keep the economy moving forward.”

Many transit advocates and congressional leaders, including Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York),  said public transportation will play an important role in getting the economy starting again.

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California

  • Confirmed Cases: 528,181
  • Deaths: 9,728

Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center Covid-19 global tracking tool as of Wednesday at 6:37 p.m.

The California Public Health Department reports Wednesday that the seven-day average of new cases in the state stands at 7,060. A week ago, the figure was at 8,818 cases. The state continues to have an issue with its reporting system which has led to an undercounting of cases.

The department reports 6,184 hospitalized with Covid-19 and 1,828 in intensive care units with the virus. 

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Alameda County

  • Confirmed Cases: 12,136
  • Deaths: 193

Source: Alameda County Public Health Department as of Wednesday with data reported through Tuesday.

The East Bay Times reports that the county’s Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a pilot program that would pay residents $1,250 diagnosed with Covid-19 to stay home and if they meet certain criteria.

Officials say the program is an effort to stop the spread of the virus, as Alameda County has the most confirmed cases in the Bay Area.

The money would go to people not receiving unemployment benefits or paid sick leave, the East Bay Times reports. The pilot project will cost $10 million and cover up to 7,500 people.

Contra Costa County

  • Confirmed Cases: 8,234
  • Deaths: 131

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

While the state has allowed counties to apply for waiver to allow in-person education for elementary school students, Contra Costa officials said they do not plan to support any waivers at this time.

County officials said in-person learning is “too risky” at this time:

“Until daily case rates, percent positive test rates and hospitalizations in our county are stable or declining for at least 2 weeks, we won’t be reviewing any waiver requests.”

Once numbers are stable, officials said schools can apply for a waiver but demonstrate the following:

  • The school has a plan to perform surveillance testing of staff (at least 25% of staff every 2 weeks/100% of staff every month) and has secured an agreement with a lab that has the ability to provide test results within 72 hours.  
  • The school must also have select staff members trained in contact tracing methodology and agree to assist CCHS with collecting contact tracing information.  
  • The school meets additional criteria required by the California Department of Public Health.

Marin County 

  • Confirmed Cases: 5,192
  • Deaths: 78

Source: Marin Health and Human Services as of Wednesday.

*Marin County began reporting San Quentin State Prison cases separately, but for the purposes of tracking actual infections and potential impact on hospitalization rates, we’ve included inmate cases with the county’s cumulative total. However, staff member infections are being included in the individual’s county of residence reporting.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reports that another inmate has died at San Quentin State Prison bringing the death total to 23.

Only 169 inmates at the prison actively have the virus while 1,967 have been resolved. The prison has a total of 2,215 inmates and 267 employees who have tested positive for the virus.

Napa County

  • Confirmed Cases: 1,007
  • Deaths: 9

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

The county surpassed 1,000 total confirmed cases after adding 27 new cases within the 24-hour period, county officials said Wednesday. The county notes that due to issues with the state’s reporting system, testing numbers were not available for Wednesday’s county update.

San Francisco

  • Confirmed Cases: 7,081
  • Deaths: 62

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

San Francisco officials said Tuesday that they are extending its Great Plates Delivered SF program to Sept. 9.

The program is for at-risk older adults who are unable to cook or obtain food because of the shelter-in-place order. The program delivers three meals a day to seniors who are considered at-risk during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mayor London Breed said in a statement that ensuring residents get food during the pandemic is one of The City’s top priorities:

“The City has really stepped up to the challenge with our meal and grocery delivery programs, and the Great Plates program is an important piece of that response. The program’s extension is critical for so many of our older residents, while also supporting local businesses at the same time.”

The program serves seniors who are 65 and older as well those aged 60 to 64 with underlying conditions who cannot prepare or obtain meals. Seniors must live alone or with another eligible senior and earn less than $74,940 a year for a single-person or less than $101,460 for a two-person household.

Seniors interested in the program can call (415) 355-6700. The Department of Disability and Aging Services operates the phone line and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Assistance can be provided in multiple languages.

San Mateo County

  • Confirmed Cases: 5,758
  • Deaths: 120

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

KPIX reports that San Mateo County Superior Court announced layoffs and employee furloughs on Wednesday due to the Covid-19 pandemic and budget cuts.

Court officials warn that more cuts and layoffs could be coming if the economy does not improve next fiscal year.

Santa Clara County

  • Confirmed Cases: 11,128
  • Deaths: 196

Source: Santa Clara County Public Health as of Wednesday.

Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County’s public health officer, said Wednesday that a technical issue with the state’s Covid-19 reporting system is not accurately portraying the county’s number of current virus cases.

Cody said all laboratory reports from counties go into the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (CalREDIE) system and are reported to each county. 

Between mid-July and now, Cody said Wednesday at a press conference that the county does not know if cases are rising, plateauing or decreasing due to a glitch in the state system:

“We are very anxious for this issue to get resolved.”

Cody said she expects the daily case numbers reported from mid-July until now will go up, but does not know the extent of the increase.

The technical issue has affected most if not all counties in the state and many health departments have put up disclaimers on new data being reported.

Solano County

  • Confirmed Cases: 3,884
  • Deaths: 38

Source: Solano Public Health as of Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

Employees in the county who test positive for the virus may return to work after being isolated for 10 days, county health officials said Tuesday.

Solano County Health and Social Services Department advises businesses to not require employees to take a second test to prove they are negative.

Bela Matyas, the county’s health officer said in a statement:

“Anyone who tested positive and has isolated for 10 days from the date that their symptoms began is no longer infectious, even if some may have lingering symptoms.

Individuals can end their 10-day isolation after experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 or 10 days after the testing date for those who do not have symptoms, county officials said.

Sonoma County

  • Confirmed Cases: 3,208
  • Deaths: 41

Source: County of Sonoma with data as of Tuesday.

Global

  • Confirmed Cases: 18,727,530
  • Deaths: 704,869

Source: John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center Covid-19 global tracking tool as of Wednesday at 6:37 p.m.

Open SFBay Worldwide coronavirus tracker.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn covers transportation and City Hall in San Francisco for SF Bay. Email: jerold@sfbay.ca. Twitter: @Jerold_Chinn. Instagram: jeroldwashere.

State data issues leave county health officer ‘feeling blind’

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