Get Caught Up
- Mitigation efforts like a statewide “stay-at-home” order appear to be working, but Californians will have to keep it up for weeks or months, health officials say.
- Gov. Gavin Newsom said the newly formed California Health Corps will help the state care for tens of thousands of patients in coming weeks.
- President Trump says he may consider grounding some or all flights as a coronavirus pandemic mitigation measure but also said on Wednesday he wants to apply the lightest touch possible in managing the disaster.
- Find the latest coronavirus case counts for California and each county in our COVID-19 tracker here.
Thursday, April 2
While most churches in California have suspended in-person worship services, one congregation in Lodi continues to gather for prayer, and is fighting the city to stay open on the basis of religious freedom.
Lodi is home to over 70 churches that have closed their doors. Yet at Cross Culture Christian Center, 25 to 50 church members have been attending services since the stay-at-home order.
Lodi Mayor Doug Kuehne says police visited the church last week at a Wednesday night service.
“They informed the congregation, the pastor, that gatherings of 10 or more were prohibited during this outbreak and the pastor resisted the information and continued to meet,” Kuehne said.
Cross Culture Attorney Dean Broyles filed a cease and desist order against the city.
“Religious congregations don’t forfeit their fundamental rights … even during a COVID-19 pandemic,” Broyles wrote in the filing.
Kuehne says the church gatherings go beyond just the health risks to the congregation.
“I hope they understand the seriousness of what they’re doing, endangering not only themselves but the rest of the citizens of Lodi," he said. "Based on the projections we’re seeing currently, just in Lodi, we will potentially run out of bed space for those that have contracted the virus.”
As of Wednesday night, San Joaquin County had reported 161 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and eight deaths.
But in a letter to the city, Church Pastor Jon Duncan says they are practicing social distancing, hand washing, and telling the elderly to stay home.
Police will be posting a notice at the church that prayer gatherings are not allowed. Nonetheless, the Church plans to celebrate with the congregation this Palm Sunday.
Yesterday, Sacramento County announced that one-third of its 314 confirmed cases were tied to church-related gatherings.
Wednesday, April 1
According to guidance from the state superintendent of public instruction and Gov. Gavin Newsom, California school districts should plan on teaching from afar for the rest of the school year. It’s not a mandate, but it gives districts the cover to do what many already felt was necessary.
Google says it will provide internet access to 100,000 rural households and Chromebooks for 4,000 students in need to assist with online learning. Newsom says the state is still working to ensure all students can be connected.
“I am so proud of every sector of our state—private, public, labor—coming together to meet this moment, and I am calling on other companies to match Google’s investment today to ensure our students and teachers have the resources they need to continue their education during this time,” Newsom said in a statement.
The DMV will reopen in an online-only capacity tomorrow, after closing its doors to the public last week. It also announced that it would be granting extensions and allowing people to renew licenses online or by mail.
For seniors over the age of 70
Seniors over 70 who have a license that expires between March 1 and May 31, 2020 will be given a 120-day extension to renew to keep them from having to make an in-person DMV visit.
Typically, California law requires drivers over 70 to visit the DMV in person for renewals, but the DMV is making an exception during this time. The expiration dates will reflect a minimum of 120 days before renewal is required.
The DMV estimates about 860,000 seniors visit their offices every year for in-person renewals.
Extensions and waivers for others
Drivers who have safe driving records will be given a 60-day waiver on renewing their license in-person, beginning March 30. This would also temporarily waive in-person renewals for identification cards. Starting on April 8, these drivers will also be able to complete a license renewal online here.
Drivers who may have had a driver’s license lost or stolen and need a duplicate license can also go online to request one rather than visit in person.
All California DMVs closed their offices to the public for an unspecified amount of time last week, after an employee at an office in Riverside tested positive for COVID-19. Workers will be returning to the office on April 2, but will be conducting virtual services only.
For the more than 2 million Californians who are self-employed, including those who work in the gig economy and are classified as independent contractors, there’s help in the federal coronavirus relief bill passed last week — approximately $900 per week for workers who qualify.
But that money isn’t ready yet. That’s because the state agency charged with administering the program says it hasn’t received instructions from the federal government on how to make the benefits available.
“We are awaiting direction at the federal level. We haven’t gotten instructions on how to implement the benefits,” Aubrey Henry, a spokesperson for the California Employment Development Department, or EDD, said this week. “We’re waiting for them anxiously like all states are.”
Henry said the state agency would make those details public as soon as they get them from the U.S. Department of Labor. Spokespersons for the federal department did not respond to requests for comment.
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act, self-employed workers who have lost work due to the outbreak can qualify for $600 per week in unemployment payments plus half each state’s weekly average unemployment insurance payment, which in California is $333.
University of Massachusetts Amherst economist Arin Dube has studied the federal bill. To get money to people faster, he’s called on states to use a “pay now, verify later” approach to paying out claims.
“This is a really important and good policy that I think the Congress has passed,” Dube said. “Now the issue is to make it work and make it work in a way that is relatively fast and can help fill the gaps in those family budgets.’
Dube estimated it will take states about a week to get the federal benefit program ready for people to send in applications.
Employment departments have already seen a flood of applications for benefits. In “normal times,” Henry of the California EDD said, his department takes about 3 weeks to process applications, but it could take even longer given the recent surge.
More information about benefit programs for workers affected by the coronavirus is available at the EDD’s website.
The Santa Rosa Police Department announced that Detective Mary Lou Armer died Tuesday, the first death of a police officer linked to the COVID-19 in California. She was 43.
Armer has been with the SRPD for 20 years. Her death is also the first in Napa County connected to the coronavirus.
Citrus Heights Police Chief Ron Lawrence, the president of the California Police Chiefs Association, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat the organization has started tracking the number of officers who have tested positive for the disease, but the numbers aren't ready to release.
Of the 314 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Sacramento County, one-third are linked to church-related gatherings, county health officials announced Wednesday.
Officials continue to ask residents to follow the county's stay-at-home order, which restricts people to their home unless for essential activities. They urge residents "from all faiths and all backgrounds to stay home."
The county has not released the names of the churches. For one church, investigators say it appears parishioners and not the church itself are at fault.
Janna Haynes, a spokeswoman for the county, said it is not releasing the names of churches, but there is one in particular that had a number of people test positive.
“From what we know the church itself is not holding the services," Haynes said. "It’s the parishioners that are likely meeting together with others from the church. So the general public is not at risk of stumbling into this church.”
In a statement, Dr. Peter Beilenson, director of the Department of Health Services, said that gatherings of people outside an immediate household are a violation of the stay-at-home order.
"If we do not slow the spread of cases, a surge of sick people could have the potential to overwhelm our hospitals, doctors and equipment resources and could result in additional deaths,” Beilenson said.
There have now been nine deaths in Sacramento County related to COVID-19. You can follow case numbers for all California counties here.
In a letter to school superintendents throughout California yesterday, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said that it is likely that students will not be able to return to school before the end of the academic year.
Schools throughout the state closed last month due to the continuing spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in California.
Thurmond noted that this means schools should now work toward or continue strengthening their distance learning programs to continue serving students.
“This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning,” Thurmond wrote.
Schools in Sacramento County announced last week they would be closed through at least May 1, though some districts are still trying to implement distance learning plans.
Tuesday, March 31
California is planning to release within days as many as 3,500 inmates who were due to be paroled in the next two months.
The early release is part of an effort to free space in cramped prisons in anticipation of a coronavirus outbreak.
It comes a week after Gov. Gavin Newsom halted intakes from jails. That decision is expected to lower the state's prison population by about 3,000 inmates over the next month.
Those expected to get paroled early are not currently serving a sentence for a violent or sex crime.
— The Associated Press contributed to this post
Selland Family Restaurants says it has temporarily closed all three Selland's Market-Cafe locations and OBO Italian Table and Bar. Those sites had been offering takeout and delivery for the past few weeks.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, the family thanked customers and said they hoped to reopen as soon as possible.
"We feel it is safest to allow our staff to stay at home during this time," the post reads. ‘We will continue to keep you informed, as to when we re-open."
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the creation of a statewide hotline for seniors Tuesday.
Those looking for help or assistance can call 833-544-2374 to get services such as grocery or medication delivery. The state is also mailing a list of resources to seniors.
Newsom called on all Californians to check in on or call seniors unable to leave their home during the statewide stay at home order. He also asked nonprofits and faith-based organizations to call seniors in their networks.
In his speech Tuesday, Newsom also gave an update on the new Health Corps, saying more than 25,000 licensed individuals have signed up for the service since it was announced yesterday.
The Next Generation Jazz Festival, scheduled to take place starting Friday in Monterey, will now be held all online from April 3-9.
NGJF is an education-focused jazz festival that includes a competition for middle, high school and collegiate groups. Numerous ensembles from the Sacramento region have grabbed top honors over the years at the festival.
Participating schools’ submission tapes are being judged remotely, with winners announced April 9. The festival, put on by the Monterey Jazz Festival, has a full listing of online events here.
All events and content, including premieres of archival live concert footage from the Monterey Jazz Festival, will be available through the festival's Instagram Stories, Facebook and YouTube Channel, with additional content on SoundCloud.
Monday, March 30
As the number of people out of work increases during the coronavirus self-isolation, Sacramento is looking at ways to make sure those in need don’t go without groceries.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg visited the Sacramento Food Bank to announce the city would be dedicating almost $170,000 to the organization to ensure that residents have enough to eat. In addition, the Sierra Health Foundation has also raised over $600,000 to go to other relief efforts. Steinberg says the funds should be enough to give families two bags of groceries once a week for eight weeks.
"$169,000 will get two bags of groceries to 1,380 families for 8 weeks," Steinberg said. "This should allow people who are really hurting to breathe just a little easier knowing that there’s food on the way."
The food bank has also partnered with Sacramento City Unified School District to distribute groceries where schools have been giving out meals to children who receive free and reduced lunch.
The city and county of Sacramento have released a joint plan to protect homeless residents during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The plan includes expanding shelter space and leasing up to 800 motel rooms in the coming weeks.
Emily Halcon is the homeless services coordinator for the city of Sacramento. She says the state is also providing more than 60 trailers.
“Some of them may be larger, in which case we could use them for a couple or a family if need be," Halcon said. "But we intend to use the trailers primarily for isolation and quarantine.”
The plan also calls for distribution of food and medicine to high-risk people in the homeless population.
Advocates, including the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, have been critical of the city and county’s response in recent weeks. They have called for more proactive outreach, including providing tents to people who remain unsheltered and portable bathrooms and showers at encampments.
There are now 224 cases of the coronavirus in the county with 140 of them between the ages of 18 and 64. There were 81 cases of people 65 and older. Only three of those infected were minors. There have been seven deaths due to complications stemming from COVID-19.
California coronavirus hospitalizations have doubled statewide to 1,432 over the past four days, while the number of intensive-care patients had nearly tripled to 597, up from 200 four days ago.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the new numbers Monday at a press conference where he also encouraged retired or inactive doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to register as part of the newly created California Health Corps system.
Overall, the state had 5,763 COVID-19 cases as of Monday, Newsom said.
Sunday, March 29
California state parks announced it is temporarily closing vehicular access to all 280 state parks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This comes after many state parks again saw high levels of visitors on Saturday, making it impossible for visitors to socially distance.
The California Department of Parks and Recreation is reminding people to stay close to home when they’re outdoors and maintain a distance of 6 feet or more. Sick people are to remain at home.
Saturday, March 28
As of Friday night, 101 Californians had died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference Saturday.
ICU visits are up 105 percent overnight, in addition to a 38.6 percent increase in hospitalizations and more than 3,000 “persons of interest” who are waiting for test results, according to Newsom, who said officials are confident that the vast majority will not test positive.
“Physical distancing remains the most important thing we can do to meet this moment,” he said of the state’s stay-home order.
The governor says he has still not been tested for COVID-19 and has no symptoms. Before the tour of the Bloom facility in Sunnyvale on Saturday, his team had their temperatures checked, which he said was protocol every day for his administration.
“I’m confident at the moment that I’m healthy,” Newsom said. “But, you know, check in tomorrow.”
Read more of what Newsom had to say in our full article.
Friday, March 27
The former home of the Sacramento Kings could be used as a field hospital if regional emergency beds are overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it has been conducting site assessments and planning, and has been examining the Sleep Train Arena to see if it might be suitable as a temporary site to provide medical care.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said Friday no decision has been made as to whether Sleep Train would be used.
“It is one of the options that they’ve been looking at,” spokesman Brian May said. He added that there is a meeting scheduled for Saturday with state and federal agencies to make a final decision.
“This situation changes by the hour,” May said. “[As for any reports] that a decision has been made, that is not the case. At this moment, no decision has been made.”
Disneyland will remain closed indefinitely, Disneyland Resort announced Friday.
The park initially shut down on March 14 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, with a plan to stay closed through the end of the month. Now, park officials say it will remain closed until further notice.
“While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the safety and well-being of our Guests and employees remain The Walt Disney Company’s top priority,” a statement reads.
President Trump signed a historic $2 trillion economic recovery package into law Friday afternoon, shortly after the House of Representatives approved the bill, NPR has reported.
The CARES Act will offer relief to state and local governments, individuals, small and large businesses, and hospitals affected by the coronavirus crisis.
The House vote comes a day after the U.S. overtook China to lead the world in the number of coronavirus cases.
"This is an emergency, a challenge to the conscience as well as the budget of our country, and every dollar that we spend is an investment in the lives and the livelihood of the American people," House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters a day earlier on Thursday.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also lauded the plan.
"This is not another day in Congress; this is a time when we have to come together to deliver results," McCarthy, R-Calif., said.
Researchers at UC Davis are involved in two federally funded clinical trials for new drugs that could potentially treat severe cases of COVID-19.
The health system is one of 75 sites testing remdesivir, a drug that has shown promise in animals for treating MERS and SARS. UC Davis physicians got emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to try this drug last month. They used it to treat the critically ill patient who arrived with the first known community-acquired case of COVID-19. That patient is now recovering at home.
There are about 440 patients enrolling in this study nationally, including at least 10 from UC Davis.
UC Davis will also be one of 50 sites to test sarilumab, another drug that could slow the inflammation that COVID-19 causes in the lungs. That drug was originally developed to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Roughly 400 patients nationally will be chosen for this study.
Only a small number of COVID-19 patients at UC Davis will be selected for each study.
The FDA has not yet approved any specific treatments for COVID-19. People who arrive at the hospital in severe respiratory distress are given supportive care such as ventilation and IV’s.
President Trump said in a letter to U.S. governors on Thursday that his administration is working to publish new guidelines for state and local governments to use when making decisions about "maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures" for the coronavirus epidemic.
Trump said officials are gathering testing data that will suggest guidelines categorizing counties as "high risk, medium risk or low risk" for the virus. The data will drive "the next phase" of the response, he said.
Trump has indicated that he wants to adjust his 15-day social distancing guidelines so that more parts of the stalled U.S. economy can reopen by April 12. The 15th day of the original guidelines is Monday.
Thursday, March 26
The number of people in the U.S. with the coronavirus has surpassed the number of cases being reported by China.
According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. had 82,404 cases as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday, while China had reported about 81,800 cases. In China, where the epidemic started in December, almost 3,300 people have died, while in the U.S., the toll stands at about 1,200. In Italy, there have been about 8,200 deaths.
The number of cases being detected in the U.S. has risen rapidly as more tests for the coronavirus have become available. But in many areas, people report long waits for a test, and many hospitals and health departments say there is a shortage of supplies for conducting the tests.
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
The Sacramento Republic FC professional soccer team says one of its players has tested positive for COVID-19.
The club says the player is isolated at home, and is recovering. The team says it, along with UC Davis Health, will monitor the health of all players and staff.
The team suspended all team training sessions, and closed offices and training facilities on March 13.
The club says it has been informed by public health officials that this case “does not present a risk to fans in attendance of our match on March 7.”
A group of 15 attorneys general, led by California’s Xavier Becerra, has sent a letter to the Trump administration requesting the repeal of a 2019 ban on fetal tissue for medical research. The attorneys are arguing the change could speed up the development of COVID-19 vaccines and therapies.
The ban, which took effect last June, applies to National Institutes of Health research that relies on fetal tissue from elective abortions. There has been a long-standing ethical debate about this research in the medical world.
Opponents say it encourages the destruction of human life. Supporters argue it’s one of the most valuable tools scientists have for developing treatments for HIV, Parkinson’s and other illnesses. Fetal cells were also used in development of vaccines for polio, rubella and other now-preventable diseases.
At least one NIH scientist is also appealing to the Trump administration for the green light on fetal tissue research he feels could lead to a COVID-19 treatment.
Becerra’s letter is signed by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
Sacramento County has a new, mobile COVID-19 testing site. It's currently accepting referrals from health care providers, but no walk-ins.
Samantha Mott is a spokeswoman for the county and says the Verily Life Sciences company is providing the tests.
“The goal on the outset is to provide an avenue for healthcare providers for their patients who are displaying mild to moderate symptoms who maybe don’t meet the criteria for the county public health lab to test," Mott said. They’re able to send them to the Verily website to see if they meet their criteria for testing.”
The location of the site is not being made public to avoid unscreened walk-ins as healthcare providers identify people who should be tested.
“The California community-based COVID-19 testing program is state-directed with federal input,” said Verily spokeswoman Kathleen Parkes. “Their criteria are focused on operating in the places where the public health will be most improved through testing.”
The screening process takes place online on the Verily website. “Once you go through the screening process, if you meet their criteria, then you follow their instructions as to what time and where to go to get the testing,” Mott said.
Verily says nurses and nurse practitioners perform the test while the individual remains in the car and the samples will be sent off.
“Testing is performed by lab organizations like Quest, and individuals will receive their results through partner health care organizations within several days,” Parkes said.
Verily used to be known as Google Life Sciences and previously launched pilot testing programs in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Riverside also has a mobile testing site.
Within a few days, Parkes says Sacramento’s mobile site will be able to process a couple of hundred people each day.
As of Wednesday night, 113 people in Sacramento County had tested positive, and five had died.
Since March 13, more than 1 million Californians have submitted claims for unemployment insurance, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.
In his announcement that more than 200 banks and credit unions would be providing 90-day waivers for mortgage payments and foreclosures, Newsom also provided an update on the worsening situation for workers in the state.
The state has taken some measures to make it easier for workers to get benefits, including waiving the one week waiting period for workers to apply for unemployment insurance. You can find more resources on how to apply for assistance here.
California's figures track with the national jobs outlook. Thursday's Labor Department report showed 3.3 million people filed for unemployment nationwide last week, shattering records.
Wednesday, March 25
A judge has ordered the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office to release more than 400 inmates with less than two months remaining on their sentences.
There are exceptions: no inmate can be serving time for a domestic violence-related offense, DUI or a sex offense that requires registration as a sex offender.
Sheriff Scott Jones said he was expecting the order, which was granted at the request of the county public defender’s office.
“In the interim, we have released some folks early because I directed that a housing unit in each of our jails at the mail jail downtown and the one in Elk Grove our branch jail be kept vacant,” Jones said. “So right now we have a vacant facility in each facility just in case we have a positive case of coronavirus we could rapidly isolate folks that they may have come in contact with.”
The order says 421 inmates at the Sacramento County Main Jail or the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center will be released on or before March 30, 2020.
An employee of the Sacramento Fire Department has tested positive for COVID-19 and is at home resting and monitoring symptoms.
The person has not been on duty since March 11 due to previously scheduled time off. The department is following recommendations from the Sacramento County Public Health Department and the policies of the Sacramento County Emergency Medical Services Authority.
Yesterday, the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District said an employee also tested positive for COVID-19.
Though Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state stay-at-home order covers the closure of certain state parks, Sacramento’s city parks remain open to the public and vehicle parking. You can find a list of city parks available here.
"Social distancing is essential to help lessen the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Mario Lara, Sacramento parks director. “But that doesn’t mean you must stay inside all the time. Walking, exercising or relaxing in your neighborhood park is a great way to unwind during this stressful time period."
The city is installing signs and barriers to discourage residents from using play structures at parks. Public health experts recommend avoiding play structures, park benches, water fountains and other park features.
San Joaquin County, East Bay Regional Parks, and the cities of Stockton and San Diego among others have closed public parks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
And though the stay-at-home order does allow for people to go outside for exercise or mental health, the National Recreation and Parks Association recommends the following rules when going to a park during the coronavirus outbreak:
- Wash your hands and carry hand sanitizer, and don’t use park trails if you’re feeling sick. Also cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Observe social distancing of six feet between yourself and other park goers.
- Warn other park users of your approach by signaling with a bell or a call, or stepping off the path to let others by.
- Avoid playgrounds and play structures if possible.
- Bring food and water, and take any trash out with you.
- Be aware that some public bathrooms may be closed during this time, and plan accordingly.
Some staff at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento have become infected with the coronavirus, a physician with the medical center said on Wednesday.
“We’re seeing cases in hospital staff as expected because we know we have widespread community transmission,” UC Davis infectious disease specialist Dr. Dean Blumberg said on CapRadio’s Insight. “I think the chances of getting infected in the community are much greater than being infected in the hospital setting.”
The email said that dozens more may need to stay home in the coming days and weeks as the virus spreads.
Hospital officials would not say how many staff were infected or what positions they held.
“We can't share the number of employees because it's considered to be protected health information, although I can tell you the number is low,” Charles Casey, a spokesperson for UC Davis Health, wrote in an email.
Blumberg said he did not have information about the Bee’s report that an emergency room nurse told the paper she believes she was infected by a patient brought to the ER from a skilled nursing facility.
UC Davis Health issued a written statement in response to the Bee’s article. It said, in part, that, “No female employees at our hospital have reported testing positive for COVID-19, and no patients in the Emergency Department on the dates and conditions described tested positive for COVID-19.” Even so, the medical center said it is launching an investigation into the report.
“We’re actively screening, all hospitals are actively screening visitors and health care workers for illness.,” Blumberg said on Insight. “Patients are placed in appropriate precautions. So, I feel that the hospital setting is probably safer than many businesses that are open such as grocery stores and other stores where they’re not doing this kind of active screening.”
While President Donald Trump has said he is looking to reopen the country by Easter, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he is looking at a much longer timeline.
“Early April, I think, that would be misleading to represent, at least for California,” he said. “We clearly, based upon the curve, have a lot more work to do.”
In a 20-minute update on Facebook Live, Newsom said he planned to give “a more formal update” on testing and other numbers regarding the virus’ spread on Wednesday.
San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation has closed the county’s parks through April 30.
The closure includes Micke Grove Regional Park in Lodi, Oak Grove Regional Park in Stockton, Mossdale Crossing Regional Park in Lathrop and the Regional Sports Complex in Stockton. It also includes day-use and campground facilities at Dos Reis Regional Park in Lathrop, Westgate Landing Regional Park in Lodi and Stillman Magee Regional Park in Clements.
These temporarily closed parks join Micke Grove Zoo and the Oak Grove Nature Center, which have already been closed to the public due to the coronavirus.
You can find the latest information on park closures in San Joaquin County here.
Tuesday, March 24
The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District says an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee had provided care to a patient during a 911 call and was transported to a local emergency department for further treatment.
Metro Fire was notified a few days after that the patient tested positive for COVID-19. The employee had already been placed off work due to developing symptoms and was tested which led to the positive test result received today. Sac Metro says this all happened within the last week.
The Sacramento City Council is expected to vote to ban evictions of commercial tenants, who are suffering losses as a result of measures designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The change to ordinance 2020-0015 would expand protections for people affected by such measures. Last week, the council passed the ordinance to protect residential tenants from being evicted.
The council is also expected to approve $10 million in funding for homeless services with increases to housing, outreach and medical services. That includes a COVID-19 Emergency Homeless Funding grant allocation of more than $2 million.
One of the smaller things in Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order asking Californians to stay at home is an extension for counties to certify results from the March 3 election.
The order allows an extra three weeks, meaning counties now have until April 24 to deliver final results to the Secretary of State.
In Yolo County, election officials said they have sent home the usual extra election staff who would help with the count. Members of the public who want to observe the process are still able to do so, as long as they observe social distancing protocols.
“The safety of staff and residents is our primary concern while we continue to work diligently towards certifying the election,” Yolo County Registrar Jesse Salinas said.
The International Olympic Committee has decided that the Tokyo Summer Olympic set for late July cannot go ahead as scheduled this year because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Debbie Meyer is an Olympic swimming champion who won 3 gold medals during the 1968 Mexico games. She's a swim coach in Truckee now.
"I am happy. I'm ecstatic that they postponed it," Meyer said today on Insight with Beth Ruyak. "It gives athletes that are injured right now whose trials aren't until July or end of June, a chance to recover. It helps athletes, that are right on the cusp of making trials to make the Olympic team, to have a little more time to prepare."
Sacramentan Jeff Float knows what it's like to train for the summer games only to have them put off. Float won a gold medal in swimming during the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. But four years earlier he qualified for the Moscow games boycotted by the United States.
"With the boycott it was about what the Russians were doing invading Afghanistan in a war and we're kind of in another type of war. And I feel for these college athletes," Float said. "I can see how they're very emotionally challenged in this time of understanding what's going on — you know, 'This shouldn't be happening to me.'"
The International Olympic Committee says the games, originally scheduled for late July, will be held no later than summer 2021 but they'll still be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento has gotten some criticism for continuing to perform non-emergency surgeries such as cataract surgeries, hernia repairs, breast implants and nonmalignant mass removal in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
The U.S. Surgeon General asked hospitals to delay these procedures earlier this month, and the American College of Surgeons is recommending some of them be postponed to reserve staff and equipment for a surge of COVID-19 patients.
The Medical Center defended the decision on social media after Kaiser Health News published a story about it. The article included comments from health policy experts and anonymous UC Davis staffers criticizing the choice to continue elective procedures. One Harvard Business School professor suggested hospitals were continuing elective procedures because they tend to be lucrative.
Pamela Wu, director of media relations for UC Davis, has taken to Twitter to refute the article, arguing that many procedures the story defines as “elective” are vital to patient care. Editor’s note: Pamela Wu is an occasional fill-in host of CapRadio’s Insight.
“Which cancer patients get to hope their tumors don’t grow further in the next 3-6 months?” she wrote. “Which patients in severe pain have to ‘just live with it’ until this is over? These are the kinds of decisions our providers face within the constraints of the current situation.”
Other health systems in the Sacramento area are making different choices. Physicians at Kaiser Permanente are “clinically evaluating all elective procedures scheduled for the next few weeks to determine those that can be safely postponed,” according to an emailed statement. Sutter Health is postponing “all elective surgeries that can be safely rescheduled,” and Dignity Health has temporarily postponed elective surgeries.
Jan Emerson-Shea with the California Hospital Association said hospitals can make their own decisions about postponements based on their caseloads and their capacity.
“If they’re doing elective procedures, it’s because a person’s health is still at risk,” she said. “Elective procedure does not mean it’s not medically necessary, it just means it’s not an emergency.
Monday, March 23
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the closure of all city parks, beaches and boardwalks Monday to prevent gatherings that could spread the coronavirus.
I have directed the @CityofSanDiego to move forward with closing all City-owned parks, beaches and trails. There were far too many ignoring physical distancing rules this weekend. The actions of a few can cost the lives of many. Please stay at home, San Diego.— Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) March 23, 2020
“We encourage outdoor exercise as long as people maintain 6 feet of social distancing,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s Public Health Officer. “It looks like people are not able to do that.”
On Sunday, the county’s health department officials reported the first COVID-19 death of a San Diego resident.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced it has suspended many field operations until April 1 due to COVID-19 concerns.
Census officials say the count is on track in spite of the virus with people answering the questionnaire online, on the phone, or by mail. More than 18 million households have already responded and been counted.
At field offices, most workers are operating from home, and census takers going from door to door won’t be making their rounds until the end of May.
Tim Olson with the Census Bureau says even then they will be following the direction of local and state health officials.
“We certainly will be practicing safe distancing, very strong safe distancing,” Olson said.
He says 2.8 million applicants have applied to be census takers, which was the goal, but the Bureau is still accepting applications.
“There could be a greater loss of individuals out of fear. We’re monitoring that very closely," he said. "We will be over-hiring once we resume the hiring process.”
He adds that the goal remains to finish the census count by December 31.
The city of Sacramento has launched a new fundraising campaign for people affected economically by the coronavirus.
Donate4Sacramento gives people a place to give money to people and businesses that have been affected economically by government restrictions related to the coronavirus.
People who donate can pick one of five government or non-profit-run funds that provide childcare, meals, rental assistance, hygiene stations, or other methods of response.
The five funds are:
- family support that goes to the United Way California Capital Region’s COVID-19 Local Relief Fund
- homeless support through area nonprofits by providing emergency shelters, hygiene stations and other solutions
- non-profit support through the Sacramento Region Community Foundation
- general support on an as-needed basis
- the city’s small business emergency relief fund
The top public health official in Marin County has tested positive for COVID-19. Dr. Matt Willis was tested Friday, when he started feeling symptoms. The test came back positive Sunday.
Willis is the county’s 39th case. He said his diagnosis is proof that the coronavirus is spreading in the Bay Area and pleaded with people to stay home and limit trips.
“While my symptoms are now milder, as most peoples’ will be, we also know that for many, especially our elders, the same illness can be life-threatening," Willis said. "That’s why it’s so important for us to take special care not to expose our older and other vulnerable residents,” he said.
In a video message, Willis said he is “frustrated to be sidelined at this important time” as he self-quarantines at home and away from his family.
Sunday, March 22
An older adult with underlying chronic health conditions has died in Yolo County after contracting COVID-19, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported Sunday. It’s the county’s first coronavirus-related death.
The infection was community acquired and was previously reported as the sixth of six confirmed Yolo County cases.
Yolo County issued a countywide health order on March 18 for residents to shelter in place from March 19 through April 7.
The National Guard has been activated in California, New York and Washington state to support efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, President Trump said at a Sunday press briefing. The costs of deployment will be funded by FEMA.
“It enables the governor to provide robust National Guard support to the state," Trump said. "So, they’re going to have control over the National Guard.
Trump also said the federal government would build eight large medical stations with 2,000 beds in California. Respirators, masks and other protective equipment will also be provided.
In addition, the president says the U.S. Navy hospital ship Mercy would be dispatched to Los Angeles immediately and arrive in a week or less. It will be used to take pressure off hospitals, not to treat COVID-19 patients.
On Sunday Gov. Gavin Newsom requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to assist in California’s COVID-19 preparedness and emergency response efforts. The request was approved by the Trump administration Sunday evening.
Public health officials confirmed the first 2 cases of COVID-19 in the county on Saturday. They are unrelated to each other, and both patients are at home—neither had to be hospitalized.
“We knew that confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Yuba-Sutter were not a matter of if, but when,” Yuba-Sutter Health Officer Dr. Luu said. “Our bi-county Public Health/Emergency Operations team, in collaboration with our healthcare partners, is working to ensure that these individuals are properly isolated, monitored and receive the best care while recovering.”
Officials have identified people who may have been in close contact with the individuals, to assess and monitor them for signs of virus. Dr. Luu will direct testing if it is indicated as a proper measure.
Saturday, March 21
In his Saturday update, Gov. Gavin Newsom shared new figures on the spike in California unemployment claims.
On Friday, he said the state received 135,000 claims; yesterday, it received 114,000 claims. That’s up from an average of 2,000 claims a day.
Economists say the coronavirus could hit the Sacramento region especially hard. Here he's a look at what they expect, and resources for workers affected by the coronavirus. Workers affected by the coronavirus have several options to apply for financial assistance through the California Employment Development Department, as outlined at this EDD website.
Friday, March 20
Medi-Cal, California's low-income health program, is extending its renewal period so people don’t get bumped off their coverage, and Covered California, the state’s individual insurance exchange, is taking new sign-ups until the end of June, instead of the end of April.
State health leaders announced the changes Friday. There are thousands of Californians who’ve lost their jobs, and possibly their job-based health coverage, due to the threat of the virus.
You can read more here.
Yosemite National Park is closing its gates to park visitors until further notice, park officials announced Friday. The closure began at 3 p.m. and will be enforced 24-hours a day and seven-days a week.
“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Yosemite National Park is our number one priority,” park officials said in a press release. “We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels.”
Yosemite National Park is announcing modifications to operations at the request of the local health department. As of 3:00 pm today, Friday, March 20, 2020, Yosemite National Park is closed to all park visitors until further notice. https://t.co/H4W3mueY5w— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) March 20, 2020
Even though the park will be closed to visitors they are encouraged to explore Yosemite digitally through the park’s website, app and webcams. Some of the park’s most iconic features — Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and El Capitan — can be seen in real time.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak strengthened measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 Friday, ordering some businesses to close.
The governor originally requested that all non-essential businesses close their doors. He also shut down the state’s casinos, which are the second-largest source of state revenue after the sales tax. But Friday’s address escalated his request to a mandate.
“I am no longer asking them to do that,” Sisolak said. “I repeat: If you are not an essential business, I am using my power as governor under an emergency declaration to order you to close.”
He explained that the newest emergency declaration — the third he’s signed since the novel coronavirus arrived in Nevada — would give local governments the authority to revoke business licenses and pursue other civil penalties for noncompliance.
Gov. Sisolak said the strict measures are necessary to prevent the state’s already-strained health care system from being overrun. He said 80 percent of acute and intensive care beds are currently taken up with confirmed COVID-19 cases and other patients.
“That means we have only 20% of beds available,” Sisolak said. “We have similar limits when it comes to ventilators.”
The governor’s order will take effect at midnight on Friday and last until April 16.
The battle over AB5, the California new worker reclassification law, continues even amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Some rideshare drivers are calling on their companies to comply with the new law to classify contact workers as employees so they can have health insurance and sick leave. They’re also asking for the five companies that have pledged a combined $110 million to fight AB5 to instead put that money toward supporting drivers.
Some companies are offering sick leave, but only to drivers who have tested positive for the virus or who are individually quarantined at home by a health official or doctor.
A spokeswoman for the ballot campaign points out that the companies are considered essential services right now in order to deliver supplies and take people to medical appointments, and that the companies are putting together resources for drivers.
While there are some ways for independent contractors and the self-employed in California to apply for unemployment insurance, the options are limited.
Two Northern California prison workers have reported testing positive for the coronavirus. One works at the California State Prison, Sacramento, next to the Folsom State Prison; the other is an employee at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County.
The California Department of Corrections says in cases of potential exposure at facilities, it will restrict movement and investigate possible contact. The agency did not specify the current status of these two cases.
As of Friday, no inmates had tested positive for the disease.
The state has canceled all family visits until further notice. Visits for rehab, educational and religious programs are also paused.
Thursday, March 19
Sacramento County libraries will be closed at least through March 31 after a vote by the library board Wednesday to shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
As part of the closure, the library is extending the due dates for all items and eliminating fines. The Meals at the Library program is also shutting down, though meals are available through some Sacramento-area schools.
Residents can still access digital resources from the libraries here.
A collection of Asian American groups have created a website to document coronavirus-related hate crimes following reports of xenophobia and racism around the virus.
The site allows Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to report "hate violence, adult harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying." The site is run by the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) and San Francisco Asian American Studies Department.
The groups plan to use the information to monitor incidents in California and around the country, and provide "assistance, advocacy and education."
Earlier this month officials in Sacramento held a forum at Sacramento State to address concerns around xenophobia directed at the Asian American community because of the virus.
Last week Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakerfield called the novel coronavirus “the Chinese coronavirus,” causing some lawmakers to call for him to apologize for what they described as a racist, xenophobic tweet. McCarthy responded by saying he stood by the description.
Schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District will remain closed at least through Monday, April 13, the district announced Thursday.
The district is encouraging everyone to comply with the Sacramento County public health order going into effect on Thursday to stay at home unless absolutely essential. The new date extends the closure announced by the district last week.
The district will continue to provide free meals for families with children under 18 years old to pick up. You can find the sites and hours those are available here.
Wednesday, March 18
Effective 11:59 p.m. Thursday, March 19, everyone who lives in Sutter and Yuba counties are being directed to stay in their homes as much as possible and to cease non-essential business operations.
The order prohibits all non-essential gatherings of individuals and of non-essential travel.
Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu said the order was made after the number of Sacramento County COVID-19 cases tripled in the past week. There are currently no confirmed cases in Yuba-Sutter.
“We need to do this and we need to do this now, “ Luu said
The definitions of essential activity include work in health care, infrastructure, food distribution, and businesses that provide health care, food or services to the economically disadvantaged.
Luu says normal course-of-life trips to the doctor, grocery store, and bank are allowed.
Homeless people are exempt from the directive.
Every attempt should be made to keep a distance of six feet between people.
Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday announced the launch of a new COVID-19 public awareness campaign. It includes a new website, volunteer opportunities, and public service announcements from State Surgeon General Doctor Nadine Burke Harris and Doctor Sonia Angell, California Department of Public Health Director and State Health Officer.
The announcements focus on a variety of topics from information for high-risk Californians to economic resources available. The messages are also being distributed on state websites, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
“The state is mobilizing at every level to proactively and aggressively protect the health and well-being of Californians, but we cannot fight this outbreak alone,” Newsom said. “We need the participation and support of every Californian, and that’s why we’re providing recent, relevant and reliable information. Californians need to know how to stay healthy and where they can get help. These actions are critical, and there is no doubt our collective efforts will save lives.”
Sacramento Regional Transit is cutting back on some services now that schools are closed and more people are staying home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Officials say ridership has dropped by nearly half this week. The agency says riders should check its website for the latest updates on changes to service.
Meanwhile, Yolobus says that with the exception of service to the Adult Day Health Care Center, it will continue to operate all existing bus service, including trips to Sacramento International Airport. But, the service warns that the situation could change rapidly.
The Mondavi Center announced on Wednesday that its entire 2019 to 2020 season, with events scheduled through June 7, is canceled.
“This challenging decision aligns with guidance from the State of California, the University, and actions taken by the UC Davis Music Department, the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum and UC Davis Athletics,” a press release read.
The Mondavi has closed its ticket center on campus, but employees are currently contacting ticket holders. “Due to the high call volume we are experiencing in our Ticket Office, we ask for patience as we work to resolve our patron's concerns,” the press release read.
They hope to announce plans and a schedule for the 2020 to 2021 season in May.
Bishop Jaime Soto of the Diocese of Sacramento announced on Wednesday that mass will be suspended until further notice.
The Diocese will livestream mass on its Facebook page in English every Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
A press release from the Diocese states that parish churches will still be open for personal prayer.
Soto previously stated that all Catholics were excused from attending Sunday mass.
The Sacramento County District Attorney's office is asking people to go online and fill out a complaint form if they witness any price gouging during the coronavirus crisis.
Whenever federal, state, or local authorities declare a state of emergency, it is against the law to raise prices for essential consumer goods and services by more than 10 percent of what they were before the emergency.
California is currently under Gov. Gavin Newsom's declaration of a public health emergency due to the COVID-19 virus.
People who are found guilty of price-gouging face a year in county jail, a fine of up to $10,000 or a civil penalty of up to $2,500 per violation.
Essential goods include but are not limited to: medical supplies, emergency supplies, food, fuel, lodging, transportation, pet food, repair services, construction services, building materials, and housing rental prices.
Yolo County has issued a countywide health order for residents to shelter in place from March 19 to at least April 7.
The order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs. It affects all of the county's approximately 220,000 residents.
To date, there have been four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Yolo County, including both travel and community transmission.
“These are extremely difficult times. The COVID-19 virus continues to spread around the world and in our local communities,” Yolo County Public Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman wrote in a statement. “We need to do everything we can to protect our most vulnerable people from the harmful impacts of the virus.”
A similar health officer order was released among the Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties as well as the city of Berkeley on March 16. Sacramento and Santa Cruz counties also released similar orders Tuesday, as did the cities of Davis and Manteca.
“Essential” is defined by the county as certain governmental functions, healthcare, and infrastructure, law and safety, businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, fresh and non-perishable food retailers (including convenience stores).
Other essential businesses and activities include pharmacies; child care facilities; gas stations; banks; laundry businesses; restaurants and other facilities that prepare food and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out; businesses that supply other essential businesses with support or supplies necessary to operate or ship/deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residents; and any form of agricultural production and processing, including the cultivation of products for personal consumption or use through farming, ranching, livestock, and fishing, including, but not limited to, transportation, manufacturing, chemicals, equipment and services; and the services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence.
Tuesday, March 17
The Sacramento City Council voted on Tuesday to enact protections for residents suffering financially from coronavirus-related closures, including a temporary halt on tenant evictions and a fund for small business loans.
The move came after Sacramento public health officials issued a directive to all Sacramento County residents urging them to stay at home.
Under the emergency protections, residential tenants will have a four-month grace period to pay back their rent after the city lifts its emergency rules. City Council also approved a $1 million fund for small business loans.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the million dollars is “just a start” for a fund that he hopes to pool with money from the state and federal government.
“People are going to be displaced economically because of the coronavirus, we already see that happening, so we do not want anybody to be evicted or out of their place of living because they can’t pay the rent,” Steinberg said.
The eviction protections do not extend to commercial tenants or to landlords who may fall behind on mortgage payments, but Steinberg said that is under consideration.
The mayor also warned that Sacramento may not know the full impact of the outbreak for months, but that he hoped to have many resources available.
Nearly 99 percent of California schools are closed, and it will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.
“This is a very sober thing to say,” he said, telling parents: “Don’t anticipate schools will open in a week. ... Few, if any, will open before the summer break.”
That means more than 6 million California students will continue home-schooling and distance-learning for several weeks.
Newsom made the announcement during an update on the state’s efforts to battle the coronavirus.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a billion dollar emergency aid package to fight the coronavirus.
The two bills passed both chambers of the California Legislature Monday evening. They allocate at least $600,000 to shore up hospitals, sanitize schools and provide hotel rooms for the state’s unsheltered population.
The governor can spend up to $1.1 billion. In a statement, Newsom praised the Legislature for acting quickly to approve the funding.
"It's simply remarkable," he said. "In just one day’s time, members of the California Legislature came together across party lines to unanimously pass emergency legislation authorizing over $1 billion to fight COVID-19."
Sacramento State University is postponing its graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus, university President Robert Nelsen announced Tuesday.
“This decision was not one that we wanted to make, but I believe it is the only choice in light of the current health and safety concerns,” Nelsen wrote in an email to the campus community.
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, health and government officials have urged organizations to cancel or postpone large gatherings. Nelsen wrote that the ceremonies were being postponed due to the unpredictable nature of this crisis, which makes it hard to know whether or not it will be safe to gather by the ceremonies’ originally scheduled dates of May 15-17 at the Golden 1 Center.
The university has not yet announced a new date for them, saying that the celebration will be rescheduled “this health crisis passes and we can safely gather again.”
UC Irvine also made the decision to cancel its upcoming graduation ceremonies due to the virus.
Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order allowing local governments to suspend evictions and slow foreclosures for people affected by the virus.
“People shouldn’t lose or be forced out of their home because of the spread of COVID-19,” he said. “Over the next few weeks, everyone will have to make sacrifices – but a place to live shouldn’t be one of them.”
A separate executive order allows state agencies to direct staff and resources toward hospitals and nursing homes.
During a Facebook livestream, Newsom discouraged any social gatherings and announced he was adding gyms, movie theaters and restaurants — unless they can focus on takeout and delivery — to the list of public places that should close.
“We think it’s very rational under these circumstances — disruptive, I know, for some — but rational,” he said.
The state announced there are now 11 deaths in the state related to COVID-19, though one was not a California resident. There are 472 positive cases in the state, though officials have said that without more testing it's difficult to know how many cases there may be.
Monday, March 16
The closure will affect restaurants, bars and gyms, among others.
Mayor Hillary Schieve said the city based its request on guidelines from Washoe County health officials. But she sought to assure residents they’d still have access to daily necessities.
"We will make sure that we have food available from our grocery stores, to our pharmacies, gas stations will remain open," Schieve said. "Those are essential services that will remain open."
The announcement comes one day after Governor Steve Sisolak announced all Nevada schools would be closed through April.
Public health officials also confirmed the state’s first death connected to coronavirus, an elderly man in Clark County.
A substitute teacher and volunteer who worked in the Sacramento City Unified School District has died due to complications related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the district said Monday.
“This is a devastating loss to our community,” wrote Sacramento City Teachers Association President David Fisher in a news release. “Our schools are filled with young people, but it’s important to remember those in our school community are also older and perhaps more vulnerable at the time of this virus crisis.”
This is the seventh reported death in California, and the second in Sacramento County.
The district announced Friday that its schools would be closing for two weeks starting today as a part of a coordinated effort across Sacramento County to close schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The Sacramento City Unified School District is working with Sacramento PBS station KVIE to provide students with access to standards-based educational programming while schools are closed due to the coronavirus.
Starting Monday, KVIE will be broadcasting content aligned with California’s educational standards for grades pre-K through 12 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on its KVIE 2 channel. Students in school districts throughout the Sacramento region can access the programming.
“While our schools are closed to slow the spread of Coronavirus, we are working hard to minimize the disruption in learning for our students,” Sacramento City school district President Jessie Ryan wrote in a news release. “This exciting partnership with KVIE will give all Sacramento area students access to free, standards-based instruction. We must not let a digital divide or lack of access to in-person instruction set our students back during school closures.”
Sacramento City school district joined the partnership started by the Los Angeles Unified School District and PBS SoCal announced last week when the Los Angeles district moved to close schools.
Sunday, March 15
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Sunday afternoon that all Nevada schools will be closed from March 16 until at least April 6 in efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Sisolak said that over the past 48 hours it became clear that in order to contain the virus, school closures were needed. He said starting Monday all of Nevada’s K-12 schools will close for students. The closure will impact all public, charter and private schools.
“This difficult decision was made in coordination with education leaders, your district superintendents and public health officials across the state. I realize that this will cause hardships and complications for our families, our students, and our school staff,” Sisolak said. “I assure you we have not reached this decision lightly.”
He said schools may not reopen until the state chief medical officer evaluates the public health risk and determines it is safe for each school district to reopen.
The Sacramento Municipal Utilities District is allowing residents to keep their power on, even if they can’t pay their bills. The district says it’s acknowledging the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Customers who are behind on payment will still owe SMUD money, but they won’t lose power right away. The leeway period will last until March 31. The utility district is asking customers to reach out to ask about payment arrangements or assistance programs.
At a press conference Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom called for home isolation for seniors 65 and older, and for all bars, brewpubs and wineries to close in California to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Read more about the updated guidelines in our full story.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is holding a press conference about the developing coronavirus situation in California. Watch live below.
Sacramento State faculty and staff soon will be working remote, part of a plan to “transition to virtual operations” this week, according to the school’s president.
All employees will start moving their work to online beginning Monday.
“Not all work can be done remotely,” President Robert Nelsen wrote. “Many of you will be designated as essential staff due to the critical nature of your work. Our Student Health and Counseling Services, for example, must stay staffed and operational to provide critical health services for our students.”
Last week, Sac State announced that classes would move online.
Nelsen says his administration’s decision was influenced by the fact that every school district in Sacramento County has announced it will close for up to three weeks, which impacts faculty and staff who “will be struggling to take care of their children who are not in school.”
“There are no easy answers here. At this moment, I cannot tell you that I know what it looks like for Sacramento State to go virtual, but I do know that I believe in the Hornet Family,” Nelsen wrote. “I believe that we care about our students, staff, and faculty, and this is what we must do.”
Saturday, March 14
Tahoe ski resorts Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar will be shut down March 15 through March 22 due to coronavirus spread, their operator Vail Resorts announced Saturday.
The company said guests can stay at their hotels until the end of their reservation, but new reservations would not be taken. Full refunds are available for anyone who made reservations during the planned closures. Events at the resorts during that time period will also be canceled.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and other ski resorts operated by Alterra Mountain Company, including Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California, will also be closed starting Sunday, March 15, until further notice.
The Yolo Food Bank will begin a free home-delivery service Monday to bring groceries to low-income seniors and other vulnerable groups disproportionately affected by social-distancing measures.
County residents can call 530-668-0690 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to participate. The program will continue indefinitely.
CalMatters has reported that food banks throughout the state, particularly in Northern California, are experiencing severe volunteer shortages as the coronavirus pandemic grows.
UC Davis announced on Saturday it was implementing remote classes for the spring, joining most of the University of California system in canceling in-person class.
For the spring quarter, which begins March 30, all lectures and discussion classes will be remote, and the university is urging labs and other active studio classes to develop online curriculum.
Some graduate program courses may be allowed to continue limited in-person instruction so long as social-distancing guidelines are followed, according to the university.
The school anticipates that dorms and student housing will remain open during the quarter, but the annual Picnic Day celebration next month has been canceled.
Winters Joint Unified School District and Esparto Unified School District will be closed for 3 weeks due to coronavirus concerns. Winters will be closed through April 3, while Esparto will be closed through April 5. Sacramento Country Day School will suspend in-person classes through April 3.
Additionally, all El Dorado County public schools will be closed March 16-20. Officials said they would reassess at the end of next week whether an extension is necessary.
Schools across the Sacramento region and the state announced yesterday they would close amidst the rise of coronavirus.
The Franchise Tax Board announced relief measures for California taxpayers affected by COVID-19, giving them an extra 60 days to file their taxes. The June 15 date may be pushed back even further if the Internal Revenue Service grants a longer relief period.
Friday, March 13
Members of the public will not be permitted to enter the state Capitol this Saturday and Sunday due to coronavirus risk, according to a memo from Legislative leaders. Staff members can enter using a badge.
The United States Capitol Building closed to the public earlier this week, but California's has remained open until now. It's unclear if the Capitol will be closed to the public beyond Sunday.
State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, also announced that the state Senate would be canceling all scheduled legislative hearings next week.
Due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, the Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego school districts are closing schools temporarily.
Schools in Los Angeles will be closing for two weeks from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27 while officials evaluate the path forward. Schools in San Francisco will be closing for three weeks from Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 3, the end of their regularly scheduled spring break. San Diego schools close starting Monday March 16 through at least April 6.
Locally, the Sacramento City Unified School District is closing schools for three days starting Monday. The Elk Grove Unified School District moved up its spring break to this week, but will announce today its plan for next week. The San Juan Unified School District is still open.
Thursday, March 12
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak declared a state of emergency Thursday, the latest governor to take the step in order to access federal funds to help mitigate the effects of the coronavirus.
Nevada now has 11 cases of COVID-19 in the state. They join more than 30 states that have declared emergencies, including California.
The state has also created a website for information about #COVID19 in Nevada.
If you go by the California Capitol, you'll notice a new look for "Bacteria Bear," the bronze grizzly bear statue Arnold Schwarzenegger placed in front of the governor's office.
The bear, a common stop for photos and school groups, isn't known for its cleanliness. This week Capitol staff roped off the statue with a reminder for guests to not touch the bear and to wash their hands.
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will close March 14 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Disney announced Thursday. The closure is set to continue through the end of the month.
Disneyland Resort hotels will stay open through March 16 to allow guests to make travel plans.
Disney made this statement after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced an executive order to cancel or postpone all gatherings of more than 250 people through the end of March and likely longer. Disneyland was originally excluded from the requirement, but Newsom said he was engaged in conversations with Disney and other companies about how to meet the new policy.
“Using that policy, Disney made the right call in the interest of public health and agreed to shut down their California parks,” Newsom tweeted. “Expect more announcements like this shortly.”
Disney is working with guests who want to change or cancel visits, and will refund hotel bookings during this closure period. You can contact The Walt Disney Travel Company at (714) 520-5050 for any questions or cancellations.
You can read more about the closure from LAist here.
The NCAA announced Thursday it would cancel all winter and spring sports championships, including the Division 1 men's and women's basketball tournaments.
The association originally said it would play the tournaments without fans, only allowing limited staff and family members into the arenas. Sacramento's Golden 1 Center was scheduled to host part of the first two rounds of the men's basketball tournament later this month.
Sacramento State University President Robert Nelsen announced Thursday that all of the university’s classes will be transitioning to online-only on March 20.
Certain classes, such as small labs, studios, clinicals, field placements and performing arts, may be approved to continue in person. Campus is not closed, however, and campus business offices and other resources will remain open.
Read more about the move to online-only classes here.
The NBA has suspended the remainder of the basketball season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for COVID-19. The Sacramento Kings game last night was also cancelled because one of the referees in Sacramento also worked a Utah Jazz game earlier this week.
The MLB has also cancelled the rest of spring training and will be pushing back the start of the baseball season by at least two weeks, according to a statement released Thursday. Minor League Baseball, which includes the Sacramento River Cats, also announced it would delay the start of its season.
Schools in the Natomas Unified School District will be closed on Friday, March 13 and Monday, March 16 for the district to take time to address its policy and protocol around the coronavirus.
No one in the district has been diagnosed with coronavirus as of Thursday, but two of the school’s “most medically fragile” students came to school at Natomas High School with potential symptoms.
The district will reassess if extended closures are needed this weekend, according to a note sent out to the community. Parents will be notified of their plans for Tuesday on Sunday evening, and Natomas High School will be deep cleaned.
All field trips, professional development and extracurricular activities for Thursday except for after school programs are cancelled. All of these programs will be closed Friday and Monday, and next week’s open houses will be rescheduled or potentially cancelled.
Wednesday, March 11
Elk Grove schools announced they plan to observe their originally scheduled spring break, which is set to start April 6. The district moved the break up and canceled classes for this week after a family in the district tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.
In a statement, district officials said they would apply for a waiver from the state of California to not make up the days of instruction. They expect to announce March 12 their plans for next week.
If the waiver is not approved, the district will have to make up the lost days later in the year.
"If the District is unsuccessful in its pursuit of State relief through the waiver process, the District will need to make up the days of instruction. It is all of our hope that the State will approve the waiver," EGUSD officials wrote in a statement. "In the meantime, the District will be working with labor groups on a contingency plan."
Meanwhile, a person who worked as a volunteer and substitute teacher in a classroom at Sutterville Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Sacramento City Unified School District.
Two adult men in Stanislaus County have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency. Their test results will be checked and confirmed by the CDC.
One of the men was a passenger on the Grand Princess cruise to Mexico, a separate cruise voyage but the same ship as the one currently docked in Oakland. He was on the same ship where the Placer County resident who died of COVID-19 was exposed to the virus.
The county does not yet know where the second man was exposed to the virus, but is working to find out. County workers are also doing contact investigations for both men.
“With over 100 cases statewide and cases identified in surrounding counties, we’re unfortunately not surprised to see a case here in Stanislaus County,” said Stanislaus County Public Health Officer Dr. Julie Vaishampayan in a news release.
A person in their 90s living at Carlton Senior Living facility in Elk Grove died Tuesday from complications of COVID-19. This is the first coronavirus-related death in Sacramento County.
Sacramento County is urging people over the age of 60 to stay away from large gatherings, and is asking anyone with cold-like symptoms to avoid contact with seniors. The facility is implementing isolation protocols for the next 14 days.
You can find more information about the death at Carlton Senior Living here.
Sheldon High School’s boys basketball team won a semifinal game against Dublin High School last night, meaning the team will advance to the finals in the California Interscholastic Federation tournament.
The game was rescheduled when Elk Grove Unified School District cancelled all classes and activities for the week of March 9 after a family in Elk Grove tested positive for coronavirus. The school and the California Interscholastic Federation moved the game following discussions between parents and regional leaders. Sheldon’s team is currently ranked No. 1 in the region.
San Joaquin County has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in a county resident. The person was a passenger on a past trip of the Grand Princess cruise ship, but not the voyage currently disembarking in Oakland.
The person came down with symptoms and was hospitalized several days ago, according to San Joaquin County Public Health Services. Public Health workers are beginning contact tracing of the person and will be looking into their travel history and reaching out to anyone who may have had close contact with them.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging Californians to avoid sporting events, concerts and large gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The warning came yesterday as Newsom gave an update on the painstaking process of disembarking more than 2,000 passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship struck by the coronavirus and moving them to military bases around the U.S. for quarantine.
Newsom warned the elderly to stay away from cruise ships, and is considering measures to restrict cruise travel off the California coast.
"It is incumbent upon seniors and those with any medical conditions not to go on cruise ships and to begin to socially isolate themselves from larger crowds," Newsom said. "It's just common sense."
Newsom also criticized professional sports teams in the state, which he said aren't doing enough to protect the public as well as their players.
"I found it quite curious that the four major organizations, NHL, soccer, Major League Baseball, and the NBA, put out guidelines to protect their athletes but not their fans," he said.
Tuesday, March 10
Both San Jose State and San Francisco State universities are moving away from in-person instruction within the week, according to Mike Uhlenkamp with the CSU Office of the Chancellor. He said that most other campuses could do the same thing, if they wanted.
"We have a very robust online offering system and so, it depends on the availability of each campus, but they would likely ask the faculty and staff to come over a number of days, and then they'd work to move the coursework and to be able to offer those things online, " Uhlenkamp said.
The CSU system has also stopped all non-essential travel and is dealing with study abroad students on a case-by-case basis.
The University of California system is also leaving this choice up to its campuses. UC Berkeley was the first to shift mostly to online instruction, and that will last through spring break. UCLA announced Tuesday afternoon it would do the same.
The private Stanford University also moved classes online. UC Davis advised instructors on Monday they had "maximum flexibility" to move classes online, but was not requiring it.
The California Community College system is working to speed up the process for its colleges that may want to convert to online instruction.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state health officials will give update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and the Grand Princess cruise ship today at 1:45 p.m. Watch the update live here.
Monday Sacramento County announced it was no longer requiring a 14-day quarantine for people exposed to COVID-19 but who weren't showing symptoms. It's part of a shift away from containment and instead focusing on protecting those who are most seriously at risk for this virus.
Who's most at risk? Seniors and people with underlying health conditions, according to Dr. Peter Beilenson, director of health services for Sacramento County.
For people in those groups, Beilenson suggests:
- Avoiding large gatherings
- Avoid crowded places such as malls and grocery stores
- Buy two or three weeks of groceries at a time to limit the number of trips
- If you need to go out, try and do so at off hours to limit exposure
Monday, March 9
The Sacramento County Department of public health has released new guidelines for the public. The county said it is shifting its strategy from containment to mitigation, which includes "cessation of 14-day quarantines."
"With the shift from containment to mitigation, it is no longer necessary for someone who has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days," the new guidelines read. "This applies to the general public, as well as health care workers and first responders. However, if they develop respiratory symptoms, they should stay home in order to protect those who are well."
The Elk Grove Unified School District also released new information about the district student who tested positive for COVID-19.
It's important to note that children are not more at risk due to COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you need to talk to your kids about coronavirus, NPR has a comic that helps explain the virus to children.
5:23 p.m.: Davis couple hopes to leave Grand Princess cruise ship soon
A couple from Davis is aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that is docked in Oakland after at least 21 people aboard tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Denise and David Morse are hoping to leave the boat Tuesday. Officials said Sunday that it could take two to three days to get all the passengers off.
"We feel well-taken-care-of," she said. "We feel really lucky that we have a balcony. There are families on this ship that have five kids. I hope they have bigger rooms or bigger balconies than we have. I can't complain."
Morse said she was told they are likely to go to Travis Air Force Base. On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that most the 962 California passengers would go to Travis, except for those who are showing symptoms or need medical attention.
A Elk Grove elementary school student has tested positive for COVID-19, according to district officials.
District officials say they were told by the Sacramento County Public Health Department on Friday that a family with students in Elk Grove schools was under quarantine after two people had tested positive for COVID-19. Today health officials told the school that one of the family's four children, an elementary school student, had also tested positive.
EGUSD announced Saturday it was cancelling classes and activities following the positive tests in Elk Grove. The district is the largest in Northern California with more than 64,000 students.
UC Davis has told instructors they have "maximum flexibility" to move classes online for the rest of the winter quarter, which ends Friday, March 13. Finals will continue as scheduled next week, but instructors can also use a take-home exam or other assignment.
The university reiterated that there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases on the UC Davis campus. Yolo County reported its first case last week and declared a local health emergency.
The University of Washington and Stanford University have gone to all-online classes recently because of concerns related to the coronavirus. Sacramento State announced Sunday it would continue classes as scheduled. Sierra College has also declared a state of emergency and will be limiting the people allowed on campus to only students, faculty, staff and other persons required by employment to be there.
Port of Oakland officials told KQED that the Grand Princess cruise ship is expected to dock at noon. The process to get passengers off the ship is expected to take two to three days. You can follow the position of the ship here.
Sunday, March 8
Passengers aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship will disembark at the port of Oakland sometime Monday, after it was quarantined off the Northern California coast following positive COVID-19 tests, state officials announced Sunday.
“We recognize that this is a time when we must be guided by facts and not fears," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said at a press briefing Saturday. “It is our duty to help these people.”
After a discussion between parents and regional leaders Sunday, Elk Grove school officials reached out to the California Interscholastic Federation. Now the Sheldon High School boys basketball team, seeded No. 1 in the region, is tentatively scheduled to play Tuesday.
During Saturday’s press conference, Sacramento leaders stopped short of criticizing Elk Grove’s decision but urged stronger collaboration going forward on decisions such as school closures.
“We are not here to second-guess any decision that’s been made,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said, adding that he was “concerned about the potential of going too far” with decisions.
“Don’t panic. There’s no reason to. Let’s live our lives while we are dealing with this very serious issue,” the mayor said.
Saturday, March 7
A family in Elk Grove has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, prompting the district to close schools and cancel classes next week.
After the announcement, the Sacramento County Office of Education and Sacramento County Public Health Department released a statement saying they respected and would support Elk Grove's decision, but were not yet recommending any school or district shut down since there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Sacramento County students or school staff.
The Sacramento City Unified School District also released a letter stating that no SCUSD students or staff members had tested positive. The letter also noted that the district had not been advised by the county health department to close or cease current activities.
Friday, March 6
Twenty-one people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California have tested positive for the coronavirus disease COVID-19, Vice President Mike Pence announced Friday.
The Grand Princess had been returning to San Francisco after a cruise to Hawaii and has been kept away from port while a small portion of the roughly 3,500 people on board are tested for the coronavirus.
Pence said of 46 tests conducted so far on the ship, 19 crew members and 2 passengers tested positive, while 24 people were negative and one was inconclusive.
On Wednesday, health officials in California's Placer County said that a passenger on a recent trip of the Grand Princess had died from COVID-19 — the state's first known death from the coronavirus.
Yolo County confirmed Friday its first case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
According to Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency, the patient is an older female with underlying health conditions who acquired the disease through community transmission. Officials say she is currently hospitalized but her condition is improving.
The county is also issuing a local health emergency and local emergency to gain access to state or federal funding.
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