Updated Monday, August 31
Find an updated count of COVID-19 cases in California and by county on our tracker here.
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Monday, August 31
Following a new ‘tier system’ announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week, Sacramento County health officials have put out an order detailing what activities are allowed indoors and outdoors.
Despite Newsom's announcement, businesses allowed to operate under the new system couldn't reopen until the county formally allowed it with this new order. Under the new guidelines, which replace the last order published July 14, the following businesses are permitted to operate outdoors:
These businesses are allowed to open for indoor operations:
- Critical infrastructure
- Hair salons and barbershops
- All retail (25% maximum capacity)
- Shopping centers (Malls, destination centers, swap meets, excluding food courts and common areas) maximum 25% capacity
- Professional sports (without live audiences)
These businesses are allowed to open for outdoor operations:
- Personal care services (nail salons, body waxing, estheticians)
- Museums, zoos, aquariums
- Places of worship
- Movie theaters
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Family Entertainment Centers (e.g. bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades)
- Cardrooms, satellite wagering
- Bars, pubs, brewpubs and breweries may operate outdoors, only if they offer sit-down, outdoor meals
The new state reopening strategy organizes counties by tiers, which are determined by the number of new positive cases per week and the positivity rate. With a daily case count of 12 per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 8.1%, Sacramento County is listed at the highest risk level tier in the state. This means that the virus is widespread in the community.
These guidelines do not change the county’s August 28 order to keep schools closed. Schools can reopen for in-person school when they’ve been in Tier 2 for two weeks. A county must remain in its current tier for 21 days, and then meet criteria for the next tier for two weeks, before moving to a less restrictive tier.
California State University, Chico canceled the limited number of in-person classes it was offering. They will be virtual-only for the duration of the fall semester after nearly 30 people tested positive for the coronavirus days after the fall semester started.
University President Gayle Hutchinson says students also need to vacate campus housing by the weekend. Hutchinson says she is asking students to leave campus housing because nearly all on-campus residences have at least one positive case and there are concerns the numbers will increase.
A study shows California's stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus outbreak seems to have saved some wildlife, as decreased traffic resulted in fewer collisions with mountain lions, deer and other large animals.
A study by the Road Ecology Center at UC Davis found traffic declined by about 75% after the emergency order went into effect in March. The number of animals struck and killed by vehicles also fell, including a 58% decrease in fatal crashes involving mountain lions between the 10 weeks before and 10 weeks after the order.
Friday, August 28
A chicken processing plant in central California has been ordered to shut down after it became the site of one of the largest and most severe COVID-19 outbreaks in the state.
The Foster Farms Livingston facility was ordered to shut down on Wednesday. At least 358 employees have tested positive, and eight employees died due to the coronavirus. Officials issued a 48-hour stay of the order.
Foster Farms says prior to June 17 it had just 16 positive cases at the Livingston facility. It says there was a big jump in positive tests that coincided with a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases in many communities statewide, including Merced County, where the processing plant is located.
Sacramento County’s efforts to move people outside for dining appears to be reducing the spread of COVID-19 among food workers.
Contact tracers with the county are finding most of the new cases tied to family gatherings and workplaces, but not necessarily bars or restaurants.
Of people who test positive and who gave their occupation, county officials say the number in the food industry has gone down by about half since the order to move dining outside took effect July 14. Mayor Darrell Steinberg has been encouraging restaurants to use their outdoor space, including city streets, to expand seating.
The county also says since the start of the pandemic, less than five of total positive cases have specifically mentioned going to a river, five cases have been traced to parks, less than five cases were reported at farmers’ markets, and 14 said they’d gone to a protest or rally.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has unveiled a new system to replace the state's COVID-19 watchlist. It's a four-tiered, color-coded approach, with purple for widespread restrictions, red for substantial restrictions, orange for moderate restrictions and yellow for minimal restrictions.
The new system requires counties to meet and report metrics. Under the old system, a county could attest or give its word that it was meeting benchmarks. Counties must also spend three weeks in a category before moving to the next less restrictive tier.
Of California's 58 counties, only three — Alpine, Modoc and Tuoloumne — are in the yellow or “minimal” category. Sacramento is one of 38 counties in the purple or “widespread” tier.
6:23 a.m.: New reopening guidelines expected Friday
Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce plans for reopening businesses that were shuttered in July amid soaring coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
The steps he announces Friday could move the state slowly back toward normalcy heading into fall. The California Restaurant Association hopes Newsom will allow the return of indoor dining.
Businesses and local governments buffeted by the outbreak say they need clarity in state rules to avoid confusion over who can reopen, and when. Newsom ordered sweeping closures last month, shuttering bars, indoor religious services, gyms and hair and nail salons.
Thursday, August 27
Nearly all of the Republicans in the California Senate were barred from entering the state Capitol Thursday after they were exposed to the coronavirus.
Republican state Sen. Brian Jones confirmed in a Facebook post on Wednesday that he tested positive for the virus. Jones was on the Senate floor on Monday with his colleagues. According to Republican Sen. John Moorlach, Jones also attended a caucus lunch on Tuesday.
Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, a Democrat, said Republican senators will be allowed to vote via video conference from their homes over the coming days. Lawmakers have until midnight Monday to pass bills.
Republicans were furious. Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen was the only Republican allowed on the Senate floor on Thursday. He blasted his Democratic colleagues for not canceling the session while Republicans get tested.
Fewer people in Sacramento are taking mass transit since the coronavirus pandemic triggered stay-at-home orders, with Sacramento Region Transit reporting a 70% drop in ridership
On Wednesday, Jessica Gonzalez with SacRT told CapRadio's "Insight" that ridership has started to pick-up in the past month. So starting this Sunday the agency is restoring service to pre-pandemic levels on most bus and light rail lines.
"We're expecting, as we move into the fall, to see some increased ridership," she said. "So what we wanted to do was restore our service to those pre-COVID levels to ensure that we still have room for social distancing, that people feel comfortable to ride."
Gonzalez says a mask or face covering is required to ride. SacRT is also blocking-off some seats to promote social distancing.
"We're also fogging and sanitizing our buses," Gonzalez said. "So the fogging is a deep-cleaning we're doing every single day for our buses and light rail vehicles and then cleaning throughout the day. This is a huge part of what we've been doing for months now."
Wednesday, August 26
Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state is partnering with a well-known testing company to vastly increase California's COVID-19 testing capacity and drive down costs.
The state is currently averaging 100,000 tests a day with a turnaround time of five to seven days. Newsom says the new partnership with Perkins-Elmer Genomics will allow for an additional 150,000 tests per day at costs between $30-$50 dollars per day and turnaround times of 24 to 48 hours.
"This is exactly what the federal government should be doing and had the federal government done this some time ago you wouldn't see average costs of tests at $150-$200 dollars, costing the taxpayers quite literally tens of billions of dollars, costing employers billions and billions of dollars, costing the health plans billions of dollars as well," Newsom said.
The contract specifies for the cost per test to go down as testing volume goes up. The governor stressed that the new testing capacity adds to, rather than replaces, existing testing, and ties the timing to the expected crunch as fall and winter flu season hits alongside the Coronavirus.
The Senate canceled its planned floor session on Wednesday following a positive coronavirus test in the chamber, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins confirmed in a statement.
“The person has been in the Capitol this week,” Atkins said.She added that Wednesday’s floor votes would be canceled “while we conduct immediate contact tracing and inform anyone who may have been exposed.” The chamber would also be deep-cleaned.
Hours after an initial email was sent to Senate staff alerting them of the positive test, Sen. Brain Jones (R – Santee) announced that it was him who tested positive.
In a social media post, Jones wrote that he “will be taking additional tests to recheck the results and to rule out possibility of a false-positive result.”
The disruption comes just days before the Legislature must end its work on Aug. 31.
“The Senate will be prepared to continue our work when we have completed public health protocols to ensure that the risk of exposure has been eliminated,” Atkins continued. “The Senate will use the tools available to us to make sure that we can complete necessary work prior to August 31.”
A positive coronavirus test is complicating the remaining days left in the California Legislative session, prompting Senators and their staff to “hold in place” Wednesday morning.
An email sent to staff from the Secretary of the Senate’s office asked Senators and their staff to stay put “out of an abundance of caution.”
“Those who are not yet in the building, please remain at home. Those who are in the Capitol already should remain in their offices,” the email reads.
The positive test could complicate the remaining days of the session, which is scheduled to end Aug. 31. Lawmakers have major bills to vote on before then, including bills dealing with police reform, renter and eviction relief and a new $3 billion wildfire bond.
Earlier this summer, Legislative leaders extended a recess after two Assemblymembers tested positive. Assemblyman Tom Lackey, a Republican from Palmdale, was hospitalized but has since recovered.
California health officials released guidance Tuesday allowing school districts to welcome back some children who are struggling with distance learning back to in-person school.
The new rules allow certain students at K-12 schools to come back in “cohorts” — groups of no more than 14 children and two supervising adults who stay together for all activities. The change is allowed even in counties where school campuses are closed due to COVID-19.
The state suggests districts prioritize special needs students, English learners, students at higher risk of further learning loss or not participating in distance learning, students at risk of abuse or neglect, foster youth and students experiencing homelessness.
Each group must be kept separate from other groups, and within the cohort adults must practice physical distancing. Adults and students must wear face coverings.
Previous state guidelines on schools, child care, day camps, youth sports, and institutions of higher education still stand.
Millions of dollars in grant money is available to small businesses and non-profits in San Joaquin County in a second round of COVID relief.
Dino Margaoros with the non-profit Tracy City Center Association promoting the downtown area received $4,000 dollars in the first round of grants. He says normally the association depends on events such as a Sip and Stroll Wine Tasting or a Craft Beer festival to make ends meet.
“Probably revenue-wise, it’s about 60 percent of our annual budget," Margaoros said. "With COVID you can’t obviously have events, that hits us pretty hard.”
Owner-only businesses can get up to $4,000. Those with up to 50 employees are eligible for grants of $2,000 per worker. And those with 51 to 250 employees can get a maximum of $100,000.
Applicants have until August 31 to apply. Find information on applying here.
Tuesday, August 25
Those planning to attend the San Francisco 49ers season opener will have to cancel their plans.
The team announced Tuesday that after consulting with state and local officials they'll play the game Sept. 13 at Levi Stadium without fans. The team said it would work with health officials to determine whether it will be safe to allow fans to attend games later this season.
The Minnesota Vikings announced they'll play at least their first two home games without fans in attendance.
California's auditor says the state is at high risk of mismanaging the billions in coronavirus aid it is getting from the federal government.
Elaine Howle said Tuesday she is invoking a state law that allows her to keep a close watch on 18 government agencies that are in charge of overseeing the spending.
Howle's office identified more than $71 billion the state has either already received or is expected to receive from the federal government. More than half of that money is to help the state pay unemployment benefits to millions of people who lost their jobs.
Sacramento Regional Transit officials say they will restore service to pre-pandemic level starting Aug. 30.
The update will apply to schedules for light rail, bus, all peak-only/express and Folsom Stage Line routes. SacRT says there could be unplanned route reductions or schedule disruptions as COVID-19 conditions change.
Due to low ridership, SacRT says it will continue to suspend service on the Airport Express (route 142), the 200 series routes and Folsom Stage Line route 20F.
Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to announce guidelines for reopening some businesses by the end of the week amid positive coronavirus trends in the state's three most populated counties.
Newsom says Orange County was among five counties coming off a state watch-list that tracks positive test rates, hospitalizations and other metrics. San Diego County is already off the list, and Los Angeles County is showing positive signs. Newsom gave limited details on what the reopening guidelines would look like but said they would include the beauty industry.
California continues to bend the curve of coronavirus cases, though Newsom has stressed the need for more progress. The state has a 7-day average of 5,798 cases per day. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions have both decreased by roughly 20% in the last 14 days.
Monday, August 24
6:15 p.m.: Nevada reports 636 additional COVID-19 cases
Nevada health officials on Saturday reported 636 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths, increasing the state's totals in the coronavirus outbreak to 65,069 cases and 1,197 deaths.
A daily report by the state Department of Health and Human Services showed the number of people hospitalized for confirmed or suspected infections with COVID-19 increased by 18 to 825.
According to Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases declined over the past two weeks while the seven-day rolling average for deaths increased.
Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, is essential to many organizations and businesses to keep their employees, customers, and clients safe from COVID-19.
Monday the city of Stockton handed out free supplies from facemasks to sanitizers to community organizations.
Volunteers brought loads of boxes to waiting vans, pickups, and trucks lined up outside the downtown Civic Center, ready to take them across the city where they are needed most.
Almost $225,000 dollars worth of PPE was given to two dozen organizations such as the Haven of Peace, the Gospel Rescue Mission, and El Concillio. Those organizations will distribute them to families, workers, and other groups working in the community.
City Councilman Paul Canepa says it’s another way that Stockton is making it safer for its citizens.
“The supplies that they need to be safe, you know, stop [the] spread so we can get people back to schools and work and I think it’s important that the city step up and help out,” Canepa said.
6:43 a.m.: Eight counties removed from state watch list
Over the past week, eight counties have come off California's COVID-19 watch list, though that doesn't mean they'll be able to immediately reopen businesses or schools.
Here are the counties that were removed from the list:
- Calaveras as of 8/21/2020
- Mono as of 8/23/2020
- Napa as of 8/21/2020
- Orange as of 8/23/2020
- Placer as of 8/19/2020
- Santa Cruz as of 8/14/2020
- San Diego as of 8/18/2020
- Sierra as of 8/23/2020
Before the counties can reopen, the state must update the July 13 State Health Officer Order that shuttered indoor operations for many businesses. The California Department of Public Health says it is "actively reassessing" the order.
Friday, August 21
Researchers at the UC Davis School of Medicine began injecting study subjects with a COVID-19 vaccine candidate this week as part of a global clinical trial that involves 120 sites and 30,000 people. Six UC Davis participants received an injection Thursday, though some of them got a placebo.
The hospital is testing a vaccine candidate from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech. Ultimately 200 people will be enrolled in the UC Davis trial. Half of them will receive the potential vaccine while the other half receive a placebo.
“This is very encouraging that they’re to this point with a vaccine," said Allison Brashear, dean of the UC Davis medical school. “The size of this trial is also very encouraging because they are looking at a large number of individuals across the country to determine if the vaccine causes an immune response.”
UC Davis is still accepting subjects for the trial. Participants must be between 18 and 85 years old and be in good health. The health system is encouraging Black and Latino individuals to sign up, as these groups have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Brashear says they’ve received interest from 1,500 people already.
This is a “phase 2/3" study, which means the vaccine candidate has already been tested on humans. Researchers are now testing how well it works, what the dose should be and what side effects it produces. After two injections, subjects will be given blood tests to determine whether they’ve developed antibodies.
“It takes a little bitty piece of the virus, but it is not infectious. That piece of the virus is used to get the body to create an immune response,” Brashear said.
Kaiser Permanente is also conducting a study of this drug, and will be enrolling 1,400 people at four sites in California and Oregon.
There are several potential COVID-19 vaccines being tested in the U.S. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s lead immunologist, said recently that an effective vaccine could be a reality by early 2021.
As of Friday 15,246 Sacramento County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Nearly two thirds of those cases — 9,314 — have been in residents of the city of Sacramento. At least 234 county residents have died of complications from the virus.
There have been 650,336 confirmed cases in the state of California as of yesterday. Overall at least 11,821 Californains have died from the virus.
Thursday, August 20
Placer County announced it was removed from the state COVID-19 watch list, could allow the county to reopen schools and businesses in the coming weeks.
If Placer County remains off the list for at least 14 days, K-12 schools could potentially reopen for in-person instruction. However, no other businesses would be allowed to reopen until the state modifies the state order. The county has asked the state to change those orders.
County health officials said they continue to urge residents to follow COVID-19 precautions to stay under state guidelines. Those include using a face covering when in public, maintaining physical distance, avoiding gatherings, staying home if sick and regular hand washing.
The city of Stockton is taking applications for assistance for residents who have had a hard time paying their rent or mortgage due to COVID-19.
The city is providing three months of assistance for those who are accepted, which would be up to $3,600 for renters and $4,800 for homeowners.
Applicants must have lost their jobs, be working shorter hours or have had their businesses close due to the pandemic.
Residents can apply online. Applicants must make less than 80% of the median income to be considered. For a household of two, that would be less than $48,000 a year.
“Many people have not been able to pay rent and they are still in their homes,” said Stockton Economic Development Director Carrie Wright. “This program will help them with their back rent, current rent ... So, we want to help as many people as possible.”
You can find more information on the program here.
Many hair salons reopened throughout California earlier this week despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order banning indoor salon services to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Last month, the CDC officially endorsed the safety of indoor salon operations with the use of face coverings.
In an interview on CapRadio’s Insight Wednesday, Professional Beauty Federation of California Legal Counsel Fred Jones said all 49 states besides California have reopened salons.
“Gov. Newsom is the only governor in the United States to turn a blind eye to the science and facts that we are a safe facility,” Jones said. “In fact, we’re safer than a dental office where their consumers have to leave their mouth agape for their entire service.”
Pre-COVID-19 pandemic, California had 53,000 licensed salons. Jones says that number has dropped by 20% because of the shutdown orders.
Wednesday, August 19
Sacramento County is asking residents to get tested for COVID-19 at the county’s community testing sites.
Testing is free to all residents at these 10 sites around the county. Anyone 2 years or older can get a test, even without symptoms, and these sites do not require a car.
Each location has the capacity to test 200-300 people a day. The county says they have plenty of openings and that results are guaranteed in 72 hours.
Residents can head to the county’s testing page to see locations, dates and times available. To book an appointment, click on the appointment link for the site you chose. Residents need to wear a mask and bring an ID to get tested.
Yolo County has announced an outbreak of COVID-19 at Gloria’s Country Care, a residential care facility for the elderly in Woodland.
There are 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the facility as of August 19, and there have been no deaths. Seven residents and nine staff members have tested positive for the virus.
The outbreak was identified this weekend when a resident tested positive, prompting Yolo County Public Health staff to test all residents and staff. These results came in late on August 17.
11:39 a.m.: 638,831 confirmed COVID-19 cases in California
As of August 19, California has had 638,831 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 11,523 Californians have died of complications from the virus, the state reports.
The state’s 7-day test positivity rate, which represents the percent of tests that have come back positive on average over the past 7 days, is 6.3%. That’s down from the end of July, when it was sitting above 7% for weeks. Newsom said Monday that the state was “moving in the right direction” but that it’s not quite at his 5% target.
You can track the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in all of California’s counties with our tracker here.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is giving an update at noon Wednesday on the West Coast heat wave and the state’s response to COVID-19 and wildfires.
Newsom’s update comes as thousands across the state have been forced to evacuate wildfires. You can watch Newsom’s update live here.
Tuesday, August 18
Health officials in California are concerned about the confluence of the coronavirus and flu in the upcoming months, noting a substantial decline in child vaccination rates since the pandemic.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services secretary, said Tuesday that the number of children vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella as they prepare to enter elementary school plummeted when schools and businesses closed in the spring. He says the flu usually stresses hospitals, and they are also now grappling with coronavirus cases, including in some children.
California is dealing with a surge in coronavirus cases but has recently seen signs the spread could be slowing.
—The Associated Press
Capital Christian School has been ordered to stop on-campus classes by the Sacramento County Health Department for violating state rules that prohibit in-person instruction in counties on the state’s COVID-19 watch list.
The school declared itself a “day care.” Those facilities are allowed to open with restrictions, while schools are not yet as Sacramento County is on the state watch list and is not issuing waivers for schools to hold in-person learning or activities. The school serves students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Sacramento County has ordered the school to immediately close down in-person instruction to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and said that failure to comply would be punishable by fine, imprisonment or both.
After several weeks of unreliable data, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the backlog from a pair of data reporting issues that surfaced in late July has been cleared.
The new test-positivity rate is 6.5% over a two-week average, which the governor said is not quite at his 5% target. “We’re moving in the right direction. Let’s continue the good work,” he said.
The state is now reporting 632,667 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 11,342 deaths from the virus.
Monday, August 17
5:33 p.m.: Stockton releases new contact tracing app
Officials in the city of Stockton and San Joaquin County hope a majority of residents will download and use a new app to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Called SafePass, the technology uses bluetooth to track a person’s movements — and it lets you know if you spent time with anyone who ended up with the virus.
“If you happen to be positive, the contract-tracing happens automatically, which means all of the people you may have infected are anonymously and immediately notified,” said Andrew Frame, CEO of Citizen, the company that developed the technology.
Frame says all the user data is secured and anonymous, and would be deleted after 30 days. If an individual is identified as possibly having contracted the virus, the company will send a kit for at-home testing.Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs said at a press conference on Monday that wide participation is needed for the app to work.
“I do want the citizens of Stockton to know ... that this is the way for folks to be involved in the fight against COVID, and that we all have a role to play,” Tubbs said.
Frame says Stockton needs to get 50 percent participation from residents to create a critical mass for contact-tracing, which would make it tough for the virus to spread.
A new UC Berkeley study estimates 20,000 essential workers in California could have avoided contracting coronavirus if the state had stockpiled protective equipment before the pandemic.
Study author William Dow says the additional PPE would have also prevented COVID-19 deaths.
“Our best estimate is that there have been dozens of essential workers who have died who did not have access to PPE, who had workplace exposures — those deaths could have been avoided,” Dow said.
Without adequate protective equipment, health care employees have been sidelined from the workforce, creating an additional burden on an already strained unemployment insurance system.
The study found an adequate PPE stockpile would have saved the state $93 million per week in jobless benefits.
California's inspector general says state prisons were inconsistent in screening employees and visitors for the coronavirus, which may have increased the risk of its spread.
The report Monday does not link the poor practices to the worst outbreak, which resulted from a botched transfer of infected inmates from a Southern California prison to San Quentin State Prison. But the report criticizes the corrections department for vague rules and inadequately trained staff that allowed some visitors and employees to enter prisons before they were properly screened.
Moreover, the screeners said that their thermometers did not always work properly, were not always accurate, or lacked battery power.
— The Associated Press
A judge in California has ordered immediate testing of all detainees and staff at an immigration detention center where COVID-19 was spreading for weeks while officials refused to test for the virus.
The Los Angeles Times reports federal District Court Judge Vince Chhabria ordered the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to conduct quick-result testing of everyone in the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility in Bakersfield.
Chhabria’s order followed results Friday showing nearly half of the detainees tested earlier in the week were positive. According to the Associated Press, at least 54 of the 104 detained people remaining at the facility had tested positive for the virus. A public defender says initial results from quick tests Saturday found 11 more positive cases.
— The Associated Press
“Get In, Sit Tight, It’s Movie Night” is the theme of drive-in movie nights in Turlock.
Current COVID-19 restrictions don’t allow for the opening of indoor movie theaters, and it’s been months since they closed their doors. But a drive-in movie theater would allow social distancing with people in their own cars.
The Stanislaus County Fairgrounds plans to turn its parking lot into a drive-in theater. The fairgrounds would have room for 300 cars with proper distancing.
Fairgrounds CEO Matt Cranford says for people growing weary of isolation, this could be the cure.
“This is one small way of having entertainment for our kids and family and still adhering to social responsibility, so we’re just looking to have something fun and bring people out and be safe doing it,” Cranford said.
He said the plan is to start the movies this week and continue Thursdays through Sundays.
The drive-in plans to have an app that will allow moviegoers to order food from their cars for pickup, from tri-tip sandwiches to hot dogs to popcorn.
Friday, August 14
Millions of California children are already back in the virtual classroom. But families, teachers and districts are still scrambling to figure out some of the basics. How and when they can resume in-person learning and how to get the in-demand technology they need for distance learning now?
State officials estimate 97% of California schoolchildren are starting the year online. Gov. Gavin Newsom tried to project control over the situation Friday, though he acknowledged it’s a “sub-optimal environment.”
“We are now just beginning this journey together on a more robust approach to distance learning,” Newsom said.
And though there are a slew of rules about what schools should do, the rules for being able to reopen for in-person instruction aren't set in stone.
—The Associated Press
The 2020 California Capital Airshow scheduled for Oct. 3-4 at Mather Airport has been canceled.
Organizers say that after exploring options for modifying the event to make it safe during the pandemic, they were not fully confident they could minimize risks.
“Please know we did not want to let you down – but ultimately, it is the right call for the safety of everyone,” a press release reads.
While this year’s airshow, which was to be presented by Sacramento County and the city of Rancho Cordova, is called off, plans are still underway for next year’s show, scheduled for Sept. 25-26, 2021, and featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.
A private school in California has been ordered to close after it reopened classrooms in violation of a state health order aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
Fresno County issued a health order Thursday against Immanuel Schools in Reedley. The K-12 school was told to close its classrooms until the county is removed from a state monitoring list for two weeks.
The school, which has about 600 students, allowed students into classes Thursday without masks or social distancing. The school’s trustees and superintendent said they believe students' development will suffer if they can't be taught on campus.
— The Associated Press
Alcatraz Island will reopen its outdoor areas to the public next week after being closed for five months because of the pandemic.
The Mercury News reported Thursday the island that once housed Al Capone and George “Machine Gun" Kelly will reopen Monday. But it will be an outdoor-only experience, to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
The National Park Service, which owns Alcatraz, has been steadily reopening other national parks, including Yosemite, Muir Woods, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Pinnacles and others. Ferry service, trails, gardens and a revised audio tour that has commentary from former prisoners and guards will be available.
— The Associated Press
Thursday, August 13
Sacramento County is struggling to find enough in-person “Vote Centers” ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
The county must secure 84 locations but had confirmed only 53 as of Thursday, according to Janna Haynes, a county spokesperson. That’s largely because locations used in the past including schools and community centers are hosting daycares, COVID-19 testing and employment assistance programs, all due to the pandemic.
“We are seeking Vote Centers open Oct 31 – Nov 3,” Haynes wrote in a message aimed at business owners, community organizations, school districts and government facilities.
“We will consider ANY space, no matter how large or small, and we really need help in Natomas, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova and Folsom,” the message continued. “But again, willing to look at ANYTHING and ANYWHERE in Sacramento County! We are also willing to provide deep cleaning services after the election to any location.”
A new state law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom this summer requires counties to send mail-in ballots to all active registered voters, in an effort to limit the health risks of going to a polling place during the pandemic.
Even so, counties are still required to make some in-person voting locations available.
Vote Centers are part of a new election model adopted by Sacramento County and other counties statewide. The model, established by the Voter’s Choice Act in 2016, limits the number of traditional polling places in favor of the vote centers, which are open longer and allow anyone registered in their county to vote in person or drop off a mail-in ballot.
If you have information about available space, contact the Sacramento County Elections Office at PrecinctOperations@saccounty.net or call 916-875-6451.
California will resume eviction and foreclosure proceedings on Sept. 1 unless the state Legislature agrees to extend the protections.
The Judicial Council of California voted 19-1 to end the temporary rules that had been in place since April 6.
State lawmakers are negotiating with Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on a proposal that would halt most evictions for the duration of the pandemic. But they have yet to reach a deal despite having five months to negotiate.
California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye on Thursday urged the Legislature and the governor to move quickly to “resolve this looming crisis.”
UC Davis Health is partnering with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech SE to take part in a worldwide COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, which health officials hope will result in the approval of an inoculation by the end of the year.
UC Davis is one of only 120 sites chosen around the world. The health center is looking for as many as 200 local residents, with emphasis on essential workers and people of color, all of whom are at disproportionate risk of COVID-19 infection.
Dr. Timothy Albertson, chair of UC Davis Health Internal Medicine and the principal investigator of the effort, says the trial’s unique approach involves inserting RNA into host cells and generating a nontoxic protein to create antibodies.
Those antibodies “would be generated towards that spike protein because it's foreign, and that would provide protection against the COVID infection,” Albertson said.
7:01 a.m.: Nevada nears 1,000 coronavirus deaths
Nevada is reaching somber coronavirus milestones, topping 58,000 confirmed cases since the pandemic began and approaching 1,000 deaths.
State coronavirus response chief Caleb Cage called the marks a reminder of the importance of mitigation measures. He pointed to masks and face coverings, reduced person-to-person contact, 50% occupancy limits and hand-washing advisories.
Washoe County's health district officer in Reno also warned Wednesday against complacency in the face of recent reductions in the spread of the virus. The Southern Nevada Health District reported the Las Vegas area has passed 50,000 confirmed cases and 842 deaths. That's close to 85% of the state's fatalities.
First-time claims for state unemployment benefits dropped below 1 million last week for the first time since the pandemic hit the economy in March, NPR reports.
Initial claims for state benefits last week totaled 963,000 — a drop of 228,000 from the previous week — breaking a 20-week streak of claims above 1 million. Jobless claims under the federal pandemic program dropped to 488,622 — down 167,377 from the prior week.
As of July 25, a total of 28.3 million people were receiving some form of unemployment relief. That's a drop of more than 3 million from the week before.
6:35 a.m.: San Joaquin County remains over ICU capacity
San Joaquin County has seen intensive care unit capacity go over 100% for the past 40 days.
The average for the county’s seven hospitals went as high as 149% during that time, but one hospital saw it’s percentage climb to 175% of capacity.
The county has 158 COVID patients hospitalized, with 51 in ICU.
Marissa Matta with the county’s Emergency Medical Services Agency says two Air Force medical teams have been assigned to help staff those ICU beds.
“Our hospitals are having to create ICU space in a space that [was] not originally intended for ICU patients, so really, it’s just a nod to how hard and how much our hospitals had to adjust for COVID patients," Matta said.
Matta says the county is seeing a decrease in COVID hospitalizations, but she adds that 70% of the COVID-19 patients in ICU are on ventilator life support.
Wednesday, August 12
Nearly 90 inmates at Folsom State Prison have tested positive for the coronavirus in the latest outbreak to hit California's troubled corrections system.
According to the latest data from the state, 89 inmates have active COVID-19 infections at the prison. The agency says it has sent a medical strike team to respond to the outbreak and has also set up tents to quarantine patients. They're also screening potentially infected people.
The worst outbreak so far has been at San Quentin Prison, where 25 people have died, including a guard, and more than 2,200 inmates have contracted the virus.
A top official at the Federal Reserve has criticized the decision by California and many other states to reopen businesses this spring before getting the virus fully under control, and said those choices have hindered an economic recovery in the U.S.
Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, says states in the West and South that allowed businesses to reopen after shutting down for a brief period did register an initial burst of economic activity. But he says spikes in infection rates soon followed and economies in those states are now lagging those in the Northeast as consumers have become more cautious.
Rosengren's comments are among the most specific yet by a Fed official tying the health of the economy to the nation's ability to control the virus.
A new nasal spray developed by UC San Francisco scientists could help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Researchers call their new formulation “AeroNabs.” They say these molecules could be self-administered with a nasal spray or inhaler and when used once a day, AeroNabs could provide reliable protection against coronavirus until a vaccine becomes available.
“Far more effective than wearable forms of personal protective equipment, we think of AeroNabs as a molecular form of PPE that could serve as an important stopgap until vaccines provide a more permanent solution to COVID-19,” said co-inventor and UCSF biochemistry professor Peter Walter in a statement.
UCSF says it hopes to start human trials soon.
The state’s Judicial Council will vote Thursday on whether eviction and foreclosure proceedings could resume on Sept. 1.
The AP reports this places pressure on the state legislature to pass a law by the end of the month to prevent what many people are calling an “eviction tsunami.”
The pandemic has prompted state-ordered shutdowns of most businesses, which led to more than 9.7 million Californians to file for unemployment benefits since March. This prevented many tenants from paying rent.
The Judicial Council of California voted to halt eviction and foreclosure proceedings on April 6 because of the pandemic. The rules were never meant to be a permanent solution.Tuesday, August 11
California began adding additional coronavirus cases to its public record Tuesday, a week after state officials acknowledged a data problem in late July had caused nearly 300,000 records not to appear in its health system.
The state reported 12,500 confirmed cases, up sharply from its previous 14-day average. But it was not clear on what dates the confirmed cases were found.
The data glitch has been embarrassing for the state of 40 million people, which relies on timely statistics to determine whether schools and businesses can reopen. The glitch may have been behind the resignation Sunday of California Director of Public Health Sonia Angell.
5:51 p.m.: Pac-12, Big Ten pull plug on fall football
The Pac-12 and Big Ten and conferences won't play football this fall because of concerns about COVID-19. The decisions take two of college football’s five power conferences out of a crumbling season amid the pandemic.
The Big Ten is postponing all fall sports and hopes to make them up in the second semester. The Pac-12 is pausing all sports until Jan. 1, including basketball.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Southeastern Conference are still moving forward with plans to conduct a football season.
A new review of state data shows at least 97,000 children in the United States tested positive for the coronavirus during the last two weeks of July.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children's Hospital Association, the increase represents a 40% surge in the nation's cumulative total of child cases.
NPR reports the findings come as schools struggle with when and how to reopen safely.
President Trump falsely claimed in an interview last week on “Fox & Friends” that "children are almost, I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease."
This new report repeats the fact that children are not immune to this disease.
The LA Times reports there are more than 50,000 cases among children and teenagers in California this week. According to the state department of public health, this represents about 9.5% of total cases in California.
A coalition of philanthropic entities will donate $81.8 million to fund to support quarantine and isolation efforts in California.
Gov. Gavin Newsom made the announcement yesterday.
“Government can’t slow the spread of COVID-19 alone — it’s all hands on deck,” said Newsom. “We must work in partnership and bring together leaders across sectors, including philanthropy, to leverage resources and scale up culturally and linguistically competent containment efforts.”
This new commitment expands grant funding from the CDC, which allocated $499 million to California’s COVID-19 response. Out of that funding, $286 million was set aside for local governments. Nearly $52 million is going to eight counties in the Central Valley, including Fresno, Merced and San Joaquin counties.
Kaiser Permanente is committing $63 million to support local health departments with contact tracing.
“The recent increase of cases in California demonstrates the importance of being able to accurately track the virus and respond when and where it begins to surge in order to save lives,” said Kaiser CEO Greg A. Adams in a statement.
The Kaiser donation is also being used to connect people who cannot isolate and quarantine on their own to services and resources.
Monday, August 10
The Mountain West has become the second FBS conference to postpone its football season, punting on the fall with an eye toward playing in the spring.
In fact, the Mountain West will not play any sports in the fall. The Mountain West's decision comes less than a week after it announced plans to play an eight-game conference football season and allow its members to pursue two non-conference games.
The Mountain West, which includes Nevada, Fresno State, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV and Boise State joins the Mid-American Conference as leagues from the highest tier of NCAA Division I football to bail on the fall season
A veteran guard at San Quentin has died as a result of the coronavirus. It's the first COVID-19 death of an employee at the California prison where a large outbreak has infected staff and inmates. Sgt. Gilbert Polanco, an Army veteran and guard at San Quentin since 1988, died after being hospitalized for more than a month. Of more than 260 staff members infected by the virus at San Quentin, Polanco is the first to die. At least two dozen inmates at the prison near San Francisco have died from COVID-19 complications...a third death row inmate from the Sacramento is the latest.
The University of California system is requiring all returning students, staff and faculty to get an influenza vaccination by Nov. 1 in an effort to prevent a surge in flu patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The executive order is an important proactive measure to help protect members of the UC community — and the public at large — and to ameliorate the severe burdens on health care systems anticipated during the coming fall and winter from influenza and COVID-19 illnesses,” UC representatives wrote in a statement.
Students who are attending school remotely are also required to get the vaccine.
Health experts say a surge of influenza patients arriving at hospitals this fall and winter could strain supplies of ventilators, intensive care unit beds and protective gear for staff.
“Coronaviruses in general do better in the winter than in other parts of the year,” said UC Berkeley infectious disease expert John Swartzberg. “Hospitals will manage both influenza patients and COVID patients in the same way. And hospitals will require the same PPE for both diseases.”
Flu season typically begins in October and lasts until springtime. Last year, roughly half of Americans got a flu shot.
8:05 a.m.: Ventura County church holds indoor services
Despite a judge’s temporary restraining order, a church in Ventura County’s Newbury Park held indoor worship services Sunday.
The AP reports Pastor Rob McCoy led three services in defiance of coronavirus health orders at Godspeak Calvary Chapel.
He promised to continue in-person services even though the judge’s order cited “an immediate threat to public health and safety due to the 2019 novel coronavirus.”
The services come as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. hits 5 million.
Livestreams of the services showed McCoy without a mask, standing before congregants. The first service showed at least two dozen worshipers — most of whom were also not wearing masks.
7:24 a.m.: Top state public health official steps down
California’s top public health official has resigned from her role as director and public health officer at the state’s department of public health.
Dr. Sonia Angell informed her staff about stepping down from her roles Sunday and did not offer a specific reason for her decision.
The AP reports this comes just days after health officials announced a fix for a glitch that caused a lag in the reporting of coronavirus test results.
The health and human services department announced Sandra Shewry, vice president of external engagement for the California Health Care Foundation, will fill the role of acting health director. Dr. Erica Pan, who was recently appointed state epidemiologist, will be the acting state public health officer.
6:49 a.m.: State records more than half-a-million cases
State health officials report the number of COVID-19 cases in California stood at 554,160 cases Sunday.
According to the AP, the California Department of Public Health said there have been 8,826,119 tests conducted in the state. This is an increase of 118,592 over the prior 24-hour reporting period.
California has recorded 10,293 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
At least one community is teaming up with an outside agency to make sure people are using masks.
The LA Times reports Hermosa Beach officials will use a private consulting firm to help police enforce an ordinance requiring face coverings in public areas.
Friday, August 7
California now has the third-highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., surpassing 10,000 since the beginning of the pandemic.
New York and New Jersey have the highest and second highest number of deaths in the U.S. at more than 32,000 and nearly 16,000, respectively.
According to the AP, Johns Hopkins University reported 10,024 people have died in California since the outbreak began in the state in February.
The first known COVID-related death in the country happened in early February in Santa Clara.
7:41 a.m.: State sets in-person voting rules
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law that will allow counties to offer fewer in-person voting options as they hold the general election in the middle of a pandemic.
Newsom has already signed a law requiring counties to mail ballots to all voters ahead of the November 3 election.
County election officials said they are having trouble securing enough polling places because COVID-19.
7:20 a.m.: U.S. contact tracing workforce falls short
In June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Congress the country needs 100,000 contact tracers to fight the pandemic.
NPR surveyed all 50 states about their contact tracing work. The workforce has barely expanded since mid-June while cases have surged.
The new survey finds that as of the end of July, 45 states and Washington D.C. reported a workforce of 41,960, up less than 5,000 since NPR’s June survey found a total contact tracing workforce of 37,110.
A federal judge ordered immigration officials to conduct weekly coronavirus testing for more than 100 men held at a Bakersfield detention center.
Judge Vince Chhabria issued the temporary restraining order Thursday.
A lawyer told the San Francisco Chronicle that nearly two dozen inmates and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Mesa Verde Detention Center in Bakersfield.
The judge said the evidence shows ICE officials avoided widespread testing because of “ fear that positive test results would require them to implement safety measures that they apparently felt were not worth the trouble.”
The Chronicle said ICE didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Thursday, August 6
A correctional officer at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla has died after testing positive for COVID-19.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says Sgt. Seeyenkgee Ly had been sick for four weeks. He spent the final two weeks of his life on a ventilator in a hospital.
Eight CDCR employees have died of COVID-19 and 1,927 have tested positive. 894 of those employees have returned to work.
State health officials say they will not add any more counties to the coronavirus watch list until they have solved a technical problem that has delayed reporting of COVID-19 cases.
The issue with the state’s electronic case reporting system has left the state and counties with an undercount of new cases in recent data..
California has recorded 525,000 positive tests, the highest figure in the nation. But authorities say the true number is even higher.
Health officials say incomplete data has hampered their ability to limit the spread of the virus by reaching those who had contact with infected people.
Wednesday, August 5
As many as 17,600 California inmates may be released early due to COVID-19, state prison officials say.
This number is 70% more than what was previously estimated, and victims and police say the new total includes dangerous criminals who should stay locked up.
Several hundred of these inmates have been paroled while still at risk for transmitting COVID-19. This has caused consternation as probation officers and community organizations scramble to provide housing, transportation and other services for inmates who may pose a public health risk.
Officials have been under intense pressure to free more inmates, though officials say Corrections Secretary Ralph Diaz is likely to block some of the earlier releases.
A bill moving through California’s state Legislature would require businesses to notify workers and public health officials when an employee has been exposed to COVID-19.
The bill would require businesses to notify workers within 24 hours of them learning that another worker has been exposed. Employers who violated this potential law by not notifying employees and public health officials could be charged with a crime and fined $10,000.
Business groups oppose the bill, saying that the legislature doesn’t clearly define what “exposure” means. The California Chamber of Commerce says that would make it hard for companies to comply.
Lawmakers have until Aug. 31 to pass the proposal.
Two patients from a state mental hospital in Coalinga have died from COVID-19 complications, officials say.
According to the Sacramento Bee, one patient, who became infected while being treated outside of the Department of State Hospitals-Coalinga, died Sunday. Another patient died Monday at another hospital.
A department spokesman says 28 patients at the hospital have tested positive for the virus as of July 31.
A group of Pac-12 football players with the #WeAreUnited movement met with representatives from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office Tuesday. They discussed concerns about their schools’ COVID-19 protocols and requested Newsom’s help with protecting their college eligibility.
The AP reports Pac-12 players want an executive order from Newsom that would mandate player-approved, third-party oversight of COVID-19 rules at the Pac-12′s four California schools: U.C. Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA and USC.
Players also requested that this possible order ensure that student athletes won’t lose a year of eligibility if they opt out of the coming season due to coronavirus concerns.
Meanwhile, the NCAA Board of Governors is expected to release more information on football games and other sports for the fall season Wednesday.
The U.S. Postal Service plans on stepping up disinfecting processes at its West Sacramento branch after three employees tested positive for coronavirus.
The Sacramento Bee reports USPS is reaching out to local public health officials. The test results cover the period up to July 20.
A Postal Service spokeswoman said the risk to West Sacramento employees is low and operations have not been affected.
“Although the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, it is unlikely to be spread from domestic or international mail, products or packaging,” said the CDC in its online FAQ.
Tuesday, August 4
An issue with the state of California’s electronic disease reporting system is likely causing an underestimate of COVID-19 cases in counties’ recent data.
The state’s system, CalREDIE, has been experiencing technical issues while processing incoming reports which has led to artificially low case numbers, according to Sacramento County.
Sacramento County has added a disclaimer to their COVID-19 data dashboard referencing the issue, as have many other counties. The California Department of Public Health also posted a similar disclaimer on their statewide data dashboard. This error impacts the number of new cases reported in a single day, causing an undercount in new daily cases.
Sacramento County reported a record high 400 new COVID-19 cases on July 28, but has reported relatively low numbers of new cases the past few days.
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the U.S., a new NPR/Ipsos poll finds broad support among Americans for more aggressive measures to contain the virus and for one national strategy to address the pandemic.
Two-thirds of respondents said they believe the U.S. is handling the pandemic worse than other countries.
"We've come to a pretty dire place when it comes to both the death toll and the spread of coronavirus across the country," said Mallory Newall, a pollster with Ipsos. "Americans, as they grapple with the reality of just how grave the situation is, they're looking for sweeping, really broad, powerful action here."
The national death toll from COVID-19 in the U.S. has passed 150,000.
More than 75% of respondents support enacting state laws to require mask wearing in public at all times.
Nearly 60% of respondents said they would support a national order making it mandatory to shelter at home for at least two weeks.
El Dorado County officials have suspended health permits for Apple Bistro in Placerville and Cafe El Dorado in El Dorado because they say they failed to enforce mandatory mask rules in their businesses.
The Sacramento Bee reports both restaurants are defying county orders and staying open.
County spokeswoman Carla Hass says the county had received several complaints about both restaurants, specifically that employees were not wearing masks.
Last month, county supervisors gave health officials the green light to suspend permits of businesses that flagrantly defy the state order requiring mask-wearing indoors in businesses.
7:05 a.m.: State releases guidelines for school waivers
California health officials have released guidelines for elementary schools that want waivers to allow them to offer in-person classroom instruction to students.
The AP reports some public, private and charter schools in 38 counties on a state watch list can seek waivers from local health officials if they meet certain criteria and have plans for keeping students and staff safe.
Schools in counties whose COVID-19 infection rates are more than 200 cases per 100,000 people would not be considered for the waiver.
Health officials said they created the waiver process because new data shows young children were far less likely to shed and transmit the virus.
Monday, August 3
The Electric Daisy Carnival electronic dance music festival in Las Vegas will not be happening this year due to COVID-19.
The event, typically held in May at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, has been pushed back to 2021. The festival was initially postponed until October because of the pandemic. It’s now slated for May 21-23 of next year.
Tickets for this year’s festival will be honored. Typically, more than 150,000 people attend each night of the carnival, which features more than 200 performers on eight stages.
Owners of homes and businesses severely damaged in the late hours after this summer’s demonstrations for racial justice will be getting help from the federal government — but not in Sacramento County.
Bill Koontz with the U.S. Small Business Administration says Sacramento was also surveyed but not eligible to borrow up to $2 million for repairs.
“There weren’t at least 25 properties with major damage in the county, which is our criteria to issue a disaster declaration, so Sacramento County is not included,” he said.
Alameda County, many Bay Area counties, plus San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties are included because at least 25 businesses, homes and nonprofits were at least 40 percent destroyed since May 26.
All the counties that share a common border with Alameda are included in the emergency declaration.
Koontz says September 16 is the deadline to apply for the low-interest loans.
The U.S. is now in a "new phase" of the COVID-19 pandemic, says White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, who urged people to follow public health guidance as cases continue to spike.
On CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, Birx said: "What we're seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread — it's into the rural as equal urban areas."
Data from Johns Hopkins University shows the U.S. has surpassed more than 4.6 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and has recorded 154,000 deaths.
The latest forecast from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts the U.S. could record as many as 182,000 total deaths by Aug. 22.
New numbers show California’s bottom line has taken a hit during this economic downturn due to the state’s progressive tax structure.
An NPR nationwide analysis of states' revenue and budgets during the pandemic found tax revenue was down in California by 42% from March to May, in comparison to the same time last year.
The state went from a projected $5.6 billion surplus in January to a $54 billion deficit during the pandemic.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is requesting $14 billion in aid from Congress, arguing that "the federal government has a moral, ethical and economic obligation to help support the states."
Friday, July 31
A teenager in the Central Valley has died from COVID-19, according to California health officials. This is the first death of a young person from the virus in the state.
This person was between ages 12 and 17, but the state won’t provide more exact information due to patient confidentiality. The teen did have underlying health conditions. There have been no reported deaths in children under age 12.
In California, people under 18 make up 9% of cases, while people ages 18 to 34 make up 35%. People ages 35 to 49 account for an additional 25% of cases.
Initially, the virus was thought to mostly pose a threat to older adults. Health officials in several California counties have said young people going to beaches and backyard parties is a main cause of the recent uptick.
San Joaquin County Emergency Medical officials say hospital Intensive Care Units are operating at 149% capacity. It's the highest ICU occupancy rate since the beginning of the pandemic.
Earlier this month two federal medical teams were deployed to Lodi Memorial and Dameron Hospitals to help with staffing. San Joaquin County's total hospital capacity is at 76%.
Pharma giants GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur announced a $2.1 billion deal with the federal government to develop and deliver 100 million doses of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine.
“The global need for a vaccine to help prevent COVID-19 is massive, and no single vaccine or company will be able to meet the global demand alone,” said Sanofi Executive Vice President Thomas Triomphe. “With our partner GSK, we expect our Phase 1/2 study for the recombinant adjuvanted approach to start in September.”
As part of Operation Warp Speed, the funding will cover clinical trials, manufacturing, scale-up and delivery of the vaccine.
“The portfolio of vaccines being assembled for Operation Warp Speed increases the odds that we will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in a statement.
According to the deal, the U.S. government has the option to pick up an additional 500 million doses.
Data analysts say a new public COVID-19 hospital data hub is riddled with inconsistencies and errors.
NPR reports the delays and problems with data on the availability of beds, ventilators and safety equipment could have serious consequences as cases and deaths spike across the nation.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration directed hospitals to redirect coronavirus data to a new online system instead of a platform operated by the CDC. Trump administration officials claimed the new system would be more complete, transparent, and an improvement over the old one.
House members plan on questioning the White House Coronavirus Task Force about the reporting change Friday.
According to NPR, several house subcommittees have already launched an investigation into the data change.
7:15 a.m.: Yolo County announces more testing sites
Starting next week, Yolo County Public Health will offer free COVID-19 testing at various locations. The goal is to provide more testing access to communities.
8/3 - 8/7
Elica Health Center (1276 Halyard Drive, West Sacramento)
Winters Healthcare (172 E. Grant Avenue, Winters)
Madison Town Hall (29041 Main Street, Madison)
Davis Senior Center (646 A Street, Davis)
8/10 - 8/14
Elica Health Center (1275 Halyard Drive, West Sacramento)
Knights Landing Community Center (42114 7th Street, Knights Landing)
Dunnigan Training Center (29133 Main Street, Dunnigan)
Davis Senior Center (646 A Street, Davis)
Clarksburg Community Church (52910 Netherlands Avenue, Clarksburg)
Davis Senior Center (646 A Street, Davis)
Esparto Boy Scout Cabin (17020 Yolo Avenue, Esparto)
Davis Senior Center (646 A Street, Davis)
The health department says testing is on a first come, first served basis and is only open to Yolo County residents. People can register for appointments here.
Thursday, July 30
Sacramento County is opening three new COVID-19 community testing centers starting Aug. 3, with another set to open Aug. 11.
The three new centers will provide free COVID-19 tests by appointment, and be operated by UC Davis Health. Tests are open to Sacramento County residents 2 years or older, and available regardless of U.S. citizenship or legal residency status.
The new centers opening Aug. 3 are:
(North Highlands) Liberty Towers Church
5132 Elkhorn Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95842
Open: Mondays, 8 a.m. - Noon
Appointments: 916-583-8877 or https://northhighlands.setmore.com
(Folsom) Oak Hills Church
1100 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, CA 95630
Open: Wednesdays, 8 a.m. - Noon
Appointments: 916-983-0181 or https://folsom.setmore.com
Galt Chabolla Community Center
610 Chabolla Ave., Galt, CA 95632
Open: Thursdays, 8 a.m. - Noon
Appointments: 209-366-7180 or https://galt7662.setmore.com
The new center opening Aug. 11 is:
(Rancho Cordova) Folsom-Cordova Community Partnership Center
10665 Coloma Rd., Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
Open: Tuesdays, 1 - 5 p.m.
For scheduled appointments, bring any form of identification with date of birth. At all testing sites, face coverings must be worn (some masks may be available). Physical distancing must be maintained with other members of the public.
Get more information on Sacramento County testing here.
After weeks of stressing education over enforcement, California communities are issuing fines and relying on anonymous tips to make sure businesses and residents are complying with health orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Los Angeles County is averaging 2,000 reports a week on its tip lines with complaints ranging from a lack of hand sanitizer to improper cleaning of workplace bathrooms.
Thursday, California reported nearly a half-million confirmed virus cases since March, the most in the nation, and 391 deaths were tallied over the past two days, the highest since the start of the pandemic.
California lawmakers are advancing several bills spurred by the coronavirus as they race to beat an August 31 adjournment deadline in a session shortened by the pandemic.
One bill expands paid sick leave for food sector workers, including farmworkers, so those who are sick can afford to take time off. A second would require the state and hospitals to each stockpile 90-day supplies of masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment for essential workers. Both are opposed by employer organizations but advanced to the Assembly Appropriations Committee Wednesday.
A third bill would allow high school seniors to get their diplomas even if their classes were interrupted this spring by the coronavirus.
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the sharpest economic contraction in modern American history was triggered by COVID-19.
NPR reports the gross domestic product, which is the broadest measure of economic activity, shrank at an annual rate of 32.9% in the second quarter of 2020. The economic downturn coincided with restaurants and retailers closing their doors in an attempt to contain the virus.
The economic shock in April, May and June was more than three times as sharp as the previous record: 10% in 1958. It was nearly four times the worst quarter during the Great Recession.
There’s another break for Californians who have not signed up for the state’s health insurance marketplace. Covered California announced it will move the registration deadline from Friday to the end of August. This is in response to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the state.
Covered California data shows 231,040 people have signed up for coverage between March 20 and last Saturday. This is more than double the enrollments during the same period last year when there was no pandemic.
Covered California is an option for people who had health coverage through an employer but lost it along with their jobs. At least 8.7 million unemployment claims have been filed in the state since the pandemic began.
7:00 a.m.: New one-day records set for virus deaths
California, Florida and Texas set one-day records for COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, a Reuters tally showed.
Lawmakers and the public are debating what is the best course forward as the United States registered 10,000 deaths over the past 11 days. This marks the fastest surge since early June.
More than 150,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicted in May that the pandemic could kill more than 135,000 people by the beginning of August.
Wednesday, July 29
Nevada County officials are looking at imposing fines of $1,000 a day on restaurants and other businesses that don't comply with state coronavirus health orders.
The move comes as three restaurants in the Sierra foothills keep their dining rooms open despite orders to allow only outside seating.
Heidi Hall, chair of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, said the fines would be part of an urgency ordinance.
"We're going to spend the next two weeks getting more information out explaining how it works and we're going to bring it back on August 11,” she said. “And it's my hope, at that time, that we will pass it and make it easier for us to get those businesses into compliance."
Right now if a business defies orders, the county issues a Notice of Violation with fines starting at $25 a day.
Earlier this week, about 100 teachers demonstrated outside the Manteca Unified Schools office, urging the district to allow them to teach from home rather than inside a classroom.
Manteca schools are set to start instruction on August 6.
Plans are to have the district’s 1,100 teachers instruct from their classrooms while students learn at home.
But Manteca Educators Association President Ken Johnson says that still puts them at risk of COVID-19 infection with some classrooms relying on the same air conditioning system.
“You’re not just breathing the air, recycled air, from your classroom of students,” he said. “You’re also breathing the air from the classrooms of eight or nine other classrooms.”
The school district in a statement to teachers says, “We believe in the classroom, and all of the resources provided in the classrooms are part of the arsenal of tools to educate.”
Ken Johnson says teachers are anxious to be back with their students as well.
“We want to make sure that it’s done safely for the students and the teachers," he said. “That’s our main goal.”
1:28 p.m.: Modoc County records first COVID-19 case
A rural California county that was the first to defy state shutdown orders intended to prevent spread of the coronavirus has recorded its first cases.
Modoc County now has two confirmed cases of COVID-19, health officials announced Wednesday. Both cases are from the same household. They ask any residents who visited a bar in the past 14 days to call the county warm line at (530) 233-1350.
"How lucky we have been to not see COVID-19 in our county until now, but it's here and we could see the number of cases increase in the next few weeks," Director of Health Services Stacy Sphar said in a statement.
Modoc was the last of California's 58 counties to not to have a confirmed coronavirus case.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is withholding money from two Central Valley cities that are defying state health orders by allowing all businesses to open.
The AP reports the state is withholding nearly $65,000 from Atwater and more than $35,000 from Coalinga.
These are first installments of $2.5 billion that cities and counties risk losing if they don't toe the line on coronavirus safeguards.
The state’s Office of Emergency Services notified both cities last week that they risked losing more money if they didn’t withdraw resolutions that went against the state’s orders. The city council members in Atwater and Coalinga met Monday and agreed to stand by their resolutions.
Californians can expect some personal questions when getting a coronavirus test.
During a news conference Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said testing facilities and doctors will be required to report the sexual orientation, gender identity, race and ethnicity of patients.
The requirement also applies to all transmittable diseases.
"Improving our data is like getting a new pair of glasses that helps us see more clearly or using binoculars that help us see a little further out,” Ghaly said.
State Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) has been pushing for the state to get this information.
“The LGBTQ community has suffered a long history of government neglect when it comes to our healthcare system,” said Wiener in a statement. “I want to thank the state for listening to the LGBTQ community – namely, LGBTQ advocates and the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus – and responding by enabling this data collection moving forward.”
He says when it comes to the health care system, the LGBTQ community has suffered a long history of government neglect.
Dr. Ghaly adds that certain ethnic groups, including Latinos, face a disproportionate risk from COVID-19.
Tuesday, July 28
Distance learning in California has exacerbated the so-called “digital divide” — leaving kids without access to reliable internet and devices at a severe disadvantage.
The latest state budget allocated over $5 billion to schools for spending on pandemic-related needs.
Tracy Unified School District in San Joaquin County received about $10 million.
“We spent it all — 100% — on devices. All of it,” said Brian Stephens, the district superintendent. He says Tracy Unified bought 14,000 internet hotspots and laptops for students in need.
Some parts of the district have minimal broadband availability — a problem up and down the state, from Modoc County to the inland Mexican Border.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is mandating that all students have access to devices and adequate internet connection.
As some spend all of their pandemic-related funds on technology, others are turning to Silicon Valley companies for donations.
CES, one of the world's biggest tech conferences, won't be held in person next year, a reversal from May when organizers said it still planned to go ahead with a smaller show in Las Vegas.
Instead, the 2021 event will be a virtual convention, one that organizers hope to bring back to Vegas in 2022.
The announcement today is a blow to the tourism industry in Las Vegas. More than 170,000 people attended the four-day show back in January, flying from all over the world to see some of the latest TVs, robots and gadgets.
Organizers are searching for a new debate after the University of Notre Dame announced it will not host the first one on September 29.
University President Rev. John I. Jenkins called it a difficult decision because “the necessary health precautions would have greatly diminished the educational value of hosting the debate on our campus.”
Notre Dame has hosted six presidents at commencement ceremonies through the years. The September event would have been Notre Dame’s first presidential debate.
NPR reports Indiana, which is home to Notre Dame, reported its highest number of daily cases last week. The state has had over 62,000 cases since January.
As California continues to see a spike in COVID-19 cases, more Californians report being worried about health and finances, according to a new poll to be released by the Public Policy Institute of California.
The latest survey also shows nearly three in four Californians say people should always wear masks in public spaces or when they are near others in order to stop the spread of the virus, including:
- 79% in the San Francisco Bay Area
- 77% in Los Angeles
- 75% Orange/San Diego
- 72% Inland Empire
- 64% Central Valley
Only 3% of respondents say people should never wear a mask in public.
The PPIC Poll shows a breakdown of different communities and their concerns over health and personal finances due to COVID-19.
“Latinos more than any other racial and ethnic group say they are very worried about the personal health and financial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis,” said PPIC president Mark Baldassare.
For communities who say they are very worried about someone in their family getting sick:
- Latinos: 61%
- Asian Americans: 37%
- African Americans: 28%
- Whites: 28%
For communities who say they are very worried about COVID-19’s negative impact on their family’s personal finances:
- Latinos: 56%
- Asian Americans: 31%
- African Americans: 31 %
- Whites: 22%
The full survey will be released Wednesday.
California Democrats are proposing a $100 billion economic stimulus plan that relies on what they are calling future tax vouchers.
They also want to speed up other spending during the coronavirus pandemic. The plan would allow State Treasurer Fiona Ma to issue tax vouchers that proponents say could raise billions of dollars.
The state would let taxpayers prepay their taxes for a future budget year at a slight discount.
Lawmakers announced their plan Monday. The legislative deadline is August 31.
Monday, July 27
Google has decided that most of its 200,000 employees and contractors should work from home through next June.
It's a sobering assessment of the pandemic's potential staying power from the company that provides the answers for the world's most trusted internet search engine.
The remote-work order issued today by Google CEO Sundar Pichai also affects other companies owned by Google's corporate parent, Alphabet.
It marks a six-month extension of Google's previous plan to keep most of its offices closed through the rest of this year. The prolonged lockdown of Google's offices could push other major employers to take similar precautions.
The California Legislature reconvened Monday, but not every lawmaker returned to Sacramento to conduct the people’s business.
The state Assembly and Senate are known for doing things their own ways. Case in point: Voting on bills in the time of coronavirus.
The Senate is allowing lawmakers who are elderly or immuno-compromised to vote remotely during committee hearings. It hasn’t announced a plan yet for voting during floor sessions as a full body.
In the Assembly, at-risk lawmakers can vote by proxy through party leaders, but only during floor session. Members must be present to vote in committee hearings.
Lawmakers have just over a month to get through nearly 700 bills. They’ll consider proposals to halt evictions during the pandemic, impose stricter stay at home orders, and end mandatory prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.
Butte County health officials announce two residents from a nursing home have died due to complications from COVID-19.
They say both patients were hospitalized at the time of their deaths. The total number of COVID-19 deaths in Butte County is now seven.
State park officials have closed down vehicle access to a Placer County swimming hole that has attracted out-of-towners.
The move was intended to discourage visitors to Yankee Jim's, located 35 miles west of Lake Tahoe.
There are 12 legal parking spots near Yankee Jim's. State park officials counted 313 cars parked near the rugged roads last weekend.
Placer County deputies said on the department’s Facebook page that these cars blocked entry and exit points to the area and caused an hours-long traffic jam. They also say this presents a huge public safety danger because it blocks first responder access to Yankee Jim’s in the event of any emergency or fire.
“When you’re looking at the overall safety of you and your family, it’s better to seek other places that have a better way in and out and not put yourself in that situation,” said Sgt. Ty Conners with the Placer County Sheriff’s office in a Facebook video.
7:40 a.m.: Sacramento Ballet cancels 2020-21 season
The Sacramento Ballet has canceled its 2020-21 season due to public health concerns and the economic impact of COVID-19.
“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and with deep concern for everyone’s well-being and the realities around us, Sacramento Ballet’s 2019-2020 performance season has ended,” ballet leaders said on the group's website. “Sacramento Ballet is closely monitoring CA guidelines for reopening. We look forward to welcoming you all back to our performances once it is deemed safe for artists and patrons alike.”
The Sacramento Business Journal reports the ballet is also losing its artistic director Amy Seiwert. Ballet officials say without ticket revenue, they couldn't continue to employ Seiwert.
The ballet is expected to return to the stage in the winter of 2021.
7:12 a.m.: Outdoor worship services attract more crowds
More people are showing up for outdoor religious services despite a surge in coronavirus cases and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to close down churches and health guidelines that restrict outdoor events.
Several hundred people showed up for a Saturate OC in Huntington Beach Friday, despite warnings from local officials. The LA Times reports organizers have been cited after hosting this weekly event for the past four weeks. Church workers provided hand sanitizers and masks, but many people didn’t use them.
The Redding Record Searchlight reports city and county leaders have spoken out against a large worship gathering Wednesday at Redding's Sundial Bridge. Shasta County health officials advised attendees to self-quarantine for 14 days and to get tested. They said in a statement that the event did not follow state guidelines that placed the community at risk including:
Inadequate social distancing and too much physical touching
The outdoor venue was too small for the crowd to maintain social distancing
Many people did not wear masks
According to the state’s guidelines for places of worship, local health officials were advised to limit capacity for outdoor events.
“At a minimum, outdoor attendance should be limited naturally through implementation of strict physical distancing measures of a minimum of six feet between attendees from different households,” state health leaders wrote in the guidelines.
Friday, July 24
A skilled nursing facility in Davis is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak, Yolo County officials report.
As of Friday, there are 10 confirmed cases at the Courtyard Healthcare Center — six residents and four staff. A resident first tested positive on June 12. Four of the cases have occurred in the past two weeks.
The county says that all residents and staff have been tested, and are routinely tested and monitored for symptoms. Residents and their families have been notified of the outbreak.
Two Central Valley cities are being denied COVID relief funds from the state for failing to follow the governor’s orders on reopening.
Atwater in Merced County declared itself a sanctuary city, allowing businesses and churches to remain open. And Coalinga in Fresno County declared that all businesses were essential and could operate as usual. The amount being denied is over half a million dollars combined.
Atwater was eligible for almost $400,000 in relief funds, and Coalinga just over $200,000.
Atwater Mayor Paul Creighton, in comments to the Merced Sun-Star, called the governor “a complete dictator” and his actions “criminal.”
Coalinga Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Benjamin Kahikina says his office is closed as it follows the state order — and he’s not alone.
“We’re seeing very few businesses operate that should not be operating,” he said. “We have a local movie theater that should be closed. I think that consequences have definitely frightened them. They are going to operate for another week and then they are going to close their doors until further notice.”
In letters to the city managers in both cities, the Governor’s Office writes that Atwater and Coalinga can receive their relief funding once they rescind their resolutions allowing businesses to stay open — and on a final note, thanks them for their “anticipated cooperation.”
A Los Angeles police officer died this morning of the coronavirus, becoming the agency's first sworn member to succumb to complications from COVID-19.
Officer Valentin Martinez was a 13-year veteran of the department. He is survived by his domestic partner who is 20 weeks pregnant with twins.
Alameda County Deputy Sheriff Oscar Rocha also died yesterday evening from complications related to the virus.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers around the state have tested positive for the virus.
New orders from interim Yolo County Health Officer Dr. Mary Ann Limbos require all people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and individuals who have been in close contact with COVID-19 patients to isolate and self quarantine.
Health officials say Yolo County has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases because of family gatherings as well as interactions among a cross section of industries over the past four weeks.
Testing and contact tracing efforts have increased. Medical staff have instructed patients with COVID-19 to isolate for as long as they remain infectious. They have also instructed people who have been in contact with these individuals to quarantine themselves.
“Unfortunately, in recent weeks county staff have identified instances where voluntary compliance with these requirements has not been adhered,” health officials said in a press release. “This hinders contact tracing efforts and threatens the overall health and safety of the community.”
County leaders say people who do not comply with the isolation and quarantine requirements under the orders may be subject to penalties including citation.
8:01 a.m.: U.S. sees 4 million cases
The United States hit another milestone with 4 million people testing positive for coronavirus.
The nation added 1 million cases in just 15 days, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.
More than 143,700 people have died from the virus in the U.S. This is nearly twice as many as Brazil, the country with the second-highest number of fatalities.
Absent lawmakers will be allowed to vote on bills during the final month of California’s legislative session.
State leaders announced the decision Thursday. The AP reports this comes after at least seven people who work in the state Capitol were infected with the coronavirus, including an assemblyman who had to be hospitalized.
The state Assembly plans to let four legislative leaders cast votes for absent members during floor sessions.
The state Senate will let lawmakers cast votes remotely, but only in committee hearings.
Some government watchdog groups oppose the new rules, arguing they undermine the deliberative process of the Legislature.
Lawmakers are scheduled to return to work next week.
7:14 a.m.: Tourist hot spots ask visitors to stay home
City and county leaders with tourist attractions like Lake Tahoe are asking weekend visitors to stay away because they say those crowds are making it harder to protect communities from COVID-19 infections.
Officials from the Truckee-Tahoe region say the influx of tourists makes it difficult to maintain safe physical distancing.
“We have seen substantial issues with parking, camping, calls for service, complaints about trash, large groups not distancing, and overcrowding in public areas and trails,” Truckee Mayor David Polivy said in a press release.
North Lake Tahoe and Truckee officials want visitors to stay away on weekends through at least August 17. They say visitation levels may subside to more manageable levels and better allow physical distancing after this date.
Communities along the South Yuba River say they are also struggling with weekend crowds.
According to the South Yuba River Citizens League, the river is being “loved to death” as tourists park cars illegally and leave behind too much trash.
“This has been a tough year. Typically our river ambassadors are at the river crossings each weekend talking to visitors from out-of-town and picking up trash. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are unable to safely implement the program that, in normal years, helps mitigate negative impacts,” said Daniel Belshe, the league’s community engagement manager.
Thursday, July 23
It looks like the coronavirus pandemic has stopped people from trying to sell their homes.
Erin Stumpf, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Sacramento, told CapRadio’s Insight on Thursday the housing inventory in the Sacramento region has plummeted.
"In June we had about 1,300 active listings and in June of last year we had almost double that," she said.
Stumpf said bidding wars are erupting as the shortage of homes for sale intensifies.
"We really have extremely low inventory right now and it's kind of creating this imbalance of supply and demand that is really driving prices up,” she said. “We're getting multiple offers on a lot of listings."
Real estate agents can't hold open houses now because of the pandemic. Instead, a potential buyer must sign a health declaration that they are virus free and wear protective gear before seeing a home.
You can hear the full interview with Stumpf and more about how the pandemic is affecting the U.S. housing market at capradio.org/insight.
Many more students may be walking to classes in Manteca as the local school district has cancelled bus service for this school year due to the cost of maintaining social distancing.
Classes start August 6 for Manteca schools, but it will be distance learning at first and later classroom instruction when conditions change.
Twelve hundred students normally ride school buses in the Manteca Unified District, which has campuses in Lathrop, South Stockton and Manteca.
Buses that would normally carry 84 students would only be allowed to carry 24 to maintain distancing.
School Superintendent Dr. Clark Burke says that would send transportation costs soaring — from $6 million to $30 million.
He says there’s also the staffing issue with the CHP no longer certifying bus drivers during this COVID shutdown.
“Which meant that our pipeline for having certified bus drivers dried up for the time period,” he said. “It is a matter of having enough staff, having enough vehicles to keep our students safe.”
Burke says buses will still transport special education and homeless students.
In a sign of renewed stress on California’s economy, the number of people filing first-time unemployment claims in the state rose this past week to its highest level in more than two months.
New applications totaled 292,673, up nearly 8,000 from the previous week, the U.S. Labor Department reported today. That’s the highest total since relatively early in the coronavirus crisis, when 318,000 claims were filed in the week ending May 2.
The jump follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order on July 13 to again shut down non-essential businesses such as bars, gyms, movie theaters and other indoor activities statewide to slow the state’s surging COVID-19 cases. The governor has since said some business, including salons and gyms, can continue operating outdoors.
Since the start of the pandemic in March, California’s Employment Development Department has processed more than 8 million unemployment claims, including some that have been reopened.
Former EDD Director Michael Bernick wrote in an email Thursday morning that the new jobless figures represent “large scale new layoffs following the renewed economic lockdowns in the state over the past two weeks.”
Bernick said the outlook for California's economy has changed.
“Through the end of June, even if the economy was not fully reopened, there was expectation that a renewed economy was not too far in the future,” he wrote. “The past two weeks have brought a new narrative in California government that the lockdowns may well be with us through the end of the year or longer.”
The NAACP is joining the legal fight that challenges a U.S. Education Department rule that could funnel millions of dollars in coronavirus relief to private schools.
The lawsuit focuses on the distribution of more than $13 billion in federal aid intended for public K-12 schools.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced a change to the distribution, saying if states want to use those funds, they must also fund "equitable services" for all private school students in the district.
Earlier this month, California and other states filed a lawsuit, arguing the rule unlawfully interprets the federal CARES Act because the funding was supposed to be distributed to districts with low-income and disadvantaged students.
The Labor Department reports new claims for unemployment benefits rose to 1.4 million last week.
NPR reports this marks the first increase since March.
Claims for the program which helps people who are self-employed or who don't qualify for regular benefits also went up nearly 20,000 to about 975,000.
These are signals that the labor market is sliding as businesses shut down again in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
This snapshot on the economy comes as Congress continues to debate whether to extend federal unemployment insurance connected to the pandemic. That federal aid is set to expire at the end of this week.
There is a growing number of people who are willing to do their part and wear masks in response to spiking coronavirus cases in the U.S.
The new survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows three out of four Americans, including many Republicans, favor mandatory face covering rules for people outside of their homes.
The poll also finds that about two-thirds of Americans disapprove of how President Donald Trump is handling the outbreak.
This nationwide survey was conducted July 16-20.
Wednesday, July 22
A day after California became the state with the highest number of coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new plans to shore up the state’s stockpile of personal protective equipment.
Newsom has ordered more than 400 million masks to distribute to frontline workers and says he’ll open up bidding for future PPE contracts.
Labor unions applauded the investment in PPE but say employers need to do more to protect essential workers, who are largely Black and brown Californians hit harder by the virus.
Today, California shattered its daily record for coronavirus cases, with more than 12,800 new confirmed infections.
Some California school districts that have closed classrooms in favor of online instruction for the new academic year are putting those buildings to another use: child care.
Education officials in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale have started a program that will drop off students at local schools where they will complete their online lessons in small groups during school hours. The program is for families in need of child care.
Last week Gov. Gavin Newsom set strict rules for in-school instruction that are contingent on districts and their home counties controlling the virus outbreak.
Half of the lowest wage earners in the greater Sacramento region are very concerned about getting COVID-19 on the job, according to a new poll from CapRadio and the non-profit Valley Vision.
The survey suggested that people who made less than $30,000 dollars a year were the most likely to be very worried about getting infected at work, when compared to people with higher incomes.
The “COVID-19 resilience poll” included responses from eight counties in the Sacramento metro area, ranging from San Joaquin, to the foothills and the Yuba/Sutter region. It was administered by Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research.
UCLA Labor Center’s research director, Saba Waheed, said she wasn’t surprised by the findings about the high level of fear among Sacramento’s working poor. She says some of the lowest-wage jobs — cashiers, home caregivers, or restaurant workers — are now risky because of the virus.
“Any [job] where you are basically in a space, where you are dealing with customers, and face-to-face customers, and there’s not a lot of room, have become dangerous,” said Waheed.
The findings about Sacramento’s working poor are in stark contrast to how the highest earners responded.
Half of the people with the most comfortable salaries — starting at $150,000 a year — said they were “not at all” or “not very” concerned about getting COVID-19 on the job.
Waheed said that may be because many of those jobs can be done from home.
“If you had an office job for example … Anyone working in finance can probably move to the house, someone working in tech can move and do their work from the house, so a lot of those jobs can happen remotely,” Waheed said.
You can learn more about how Sacramento-area residents are faring during the pandemic here.
11:49 a.m.: Butte County added to state watchlist
California health officials have added Butte County to the state's COVID-19 watchlist, which may require new businesses to close this weekend.
Butte County exceeded the state's limits for rates of cases over the past 14 days, increase in hospitalizations, and the percentage of ICU beds available.
If the county stays on the list for at least three days, it will be required to close indoor operations for a number of businesses, including gyms, worship services, hair salons and barbershops.
8:37 a.m.: Pandemic impact on California child care
UC Berkeley researchers say the pandemic had a devastating impact on California’s child care programs.
Cal’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment released a report Wednesday that surveyed 953 programs between June 22 to July 1. Forty percent of respondents were center-based administrators, and 60% were home-based family child care providers.
According to researchers, survey results show that the attempt to reopen the economy has only escalated the crisis in child care, which left providers facing both health risks and the potential collapse of their programs.
The California Reports says 80% of respondents are taking care of fewer kids because of health and safety restrictions, which leads to less income. And child care programs are also paying more for cleaning and staffing.
Key findings from the report include:
Both child care providers and early educators are deeply concerned about the health risks of operating during the pandemic.
The reopening process introduced new financial challenges for programs.
Decreased capacity and increased costs are disrupting an already financially unstable industry.
Without more public funding, the California child care industry will continue to collapse.
A new deal with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, BioNTech and the federal government would give Americans free coronavirus vaccines, following emergency approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
“We made the early decision to begin clinical work and large-scale manufacturing at our own risk to ensure that product would be available immediately if our clinical trials prove successful and an Emergency Use Authorization is granted,” said Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla in a press release.
The New York Times reports the U.S. government will pay both companies nearly $2 billion for 100 million doses. That works out to about $20 per dose. The federal government also has the rights to acquire up to 500 million more doses.
“Expanding Operation Warp Speed’s diverse portfolio by adding a vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech increases the odds that we will have a safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a statement.
Vaccine trials are set to begin this month. There could be a regulatory review set for as early as October.
California hit a new milestone Wednesday as its confirmed coronavirus cases topped 409,000, surpassing New York for most in the nation.
New York state has the most COVID-19 deaths with 72,302.
California is the most populous state in the nation with nearly 40 million people, while New York has about 19.5 million.
Tuesday, July 21
San Joaquin County is seeing a steady increase in COVID-19 cases as well as a spike in hospitalizations and intensive care beds in use.
The state is asking counties to keep hospitalizations from increasing by more than 10%. San Joaquin is meeting that standard so far.
San Joaquin has over 8,300 cases of which 236 are hospitalized, 80 in ICU.
But the percentage of occupied ICU beds is running over 130% and that’s cause for concern.
Marissa Matta with the county’s Emergency Medical Services says two federal medical teams have had to be deployed to Lodi Memorial and Dameron Hospitals.
“They have the beds but not the staffing. So, it was really worked out among the seven hospitals …[and] the state to where those deployments were going to go,” she said.
In the past week, the county has averaged 190 new cases a day, but there were 382 new cases on July 15th alone and the number of infections is doubling every 25 days.
State health officials are closely monitoring coronavirus hospitalizations and the decreasing number of hospital beds in Intensive Care Units throughout California, including in Placer County where just 18.5% percent of ICU beds are available.
Placer County has had 11 COVID-19 related deaths and about 1,400 confirmed cases.
"It's concerning and we have to go back and say, 'Folks, we need you to help be safe, which means we want you to wear face coverings, please listen, wear the face coverings, respect people around you, maintain six feet of distance,” said Bonnie Gore, chair of the Placer County Board of Supervisors.
8:44 a.m.: NFL and players agree on testing protocols
The NFL and the players’ union agreed to testing protocols before rookies started reporting for training camp Tuesday.
USA Today reports both sides agreed to daily testing for team members including players, coaches and staff members who interact with them. This would last for the first two weeks of training camp.
NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills says after two weeks, testing frequency guidelines will depend on the positivity rate.
Our statement on Covid-19 testing procedures: pic.twitter.com/6mYF3aK0jm— NFLPA (@NFLPA) July 20, 2020
According to the LA Times, the league and players’ union still are still hammering out a few key details before the start of the regular season, including whether players get paid their full salary if teams play only half a season.
Amid an outbreak sweeping San Quentin State Prison, authorities say another inmate death may be connected to COVID-19.
According to the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Troy A. Ashmus, 58, died Monday at an outside hospital from what appears to be complications related to COVID-19. The coroner is still investigating the exact cause of death.
The AP reports Ashmus was the seventh death row prisoner and the 12th overall at San Quentin to die from confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections.
There have been nearly 7,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates in the state prison system.
Emergency room doctors on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic are dealing with rising levels of emotional exhaustion and anxiety, according to a new report by UC San Francisco.
The medical school says this is the first known study to examine stress levels of American physicians during the early stages of the pandemic.
Among the 426 ER doctors surveyed, many reported experiencing moderate to severe levels of anxiety at both work and home. This includes worry over exposing relatives and friends to the virus.
“Occupational exposure has changed the vast majority of physicians’ behavior at both work and home,” said lead author Dr. Robert M. Rodriguez. “At home, doctors are worried about exposing family members or roommates, possibly needing to self-quarantine, and the effects of excess social isolation because of their work on the front line.”
Researchers say there are clear ways to alleviate the stress including:
- Improve access to PPE
- Increase availability of rapid turnaround testing
- Clearly communicate COVID-19 protocol changes
- Assure access to self-testing and personal leave for front line providers
The results appear in Tuesday’s edition of Academic Emergency Medicine.
Monday, July 20
5:10 p.m.: Newsom denies being asked to thank Trump
California Gov. Gavin Newsom denied a New York Times report published over the weekend which claimed that in exchange for hundreds of thousands of new test kits, the governor was told to call President Trump himself to make the request and to publicly thank the president.
“It’s not true,” Newsom said. “No one asked me that. There may have been a conversation, but it never came to me. Anybody that’s willing to help this state, I’m going to acknowledge that help.”
In an April 22 press conference, Newsom said the state would receive at least 100,000 test swabs — which were then in short supply — from the federal government. The next day, he announced 90,000 were on the way and praised Trump.
“Promise made, promise kept,” he said — a line which was almost immediately put in a Trump campaign ad.
The California Interscholastic Federation announced high school athletes will kick off the fall season in December or January.
CIF released its modified sports calendar Monday, which reflects dates for regional and sectional championships in March and April 2021.
“We are continuously monitoring the directives and guidelines released from the Governor's Office, the California Department of Education, the California Department of Public Health, and local county health departments and agencies as these directives and guidelines are followed by our member schools and school districts with student health and safety at the forefront,” said CIF officials in a press release. “As these guidelines change, CIF Sections may allow for athletic activity to potentially resume under the summer period rules of the local section.”
On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said most public schools in California will stay closed at the beginning of the fall semester and most campuses will have to convert classes to distance learning models.
The LA Times reports the CIF sports schedule may give more than 800,000 athletes their best opportunity to have a 2020-2021 season.
“This is the best possible plan we have with what’s going on to give students an opportunity to participate,” CIF LA section commissioner Vicky Lagos told the LA Times. “There are going to be issues in terms of facilities and multiple-sport athletes, but this is the best scenario for the most people.”
Tests of raw sewage at Yosemite National Park confirm the presence of coronavirus.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports the results came from lab analysis at two wastewater treatment plants serving Yosemite. Health officials say dozens of people in Yosemite Valley are believed to have been infected.
Mariposa County public health officer says the new findings will probably not lead to policy changes because the park is already following local and state restrictions.
Sacramento County will reopen community-based testing sites starting Monday, after it secured testing supplies and lab services from StemExpress.
This partnership with UC Davis Health will have 100 tests per day at each of the five testing sites during this first week. They plan on transitioning to a new system, which is expected to scale up the testing capacity to 1,500 at each site.
Here are the testing sites:
La Familia Maple Neighborhood Center
7710 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95823
Time: 1 – 5 p.m.
1931 Arena Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95934
Time: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
7248 S Land Park Dr, Sacramento, CA 95831
Time: 1 – 5 p.m.
Robertsons Community Center
3525 Norwood Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95838
Time: 1 – 5 p.m.
South Sacramento Christian Center
7710 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95823
Time: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
StemExpress is expected to be able to report results within 72 hours.
County health officials say testing will be by appointment only and priority will be given to those on waitlists or had cancellations.
Saturday, July 18
El Dorado County announced the first COVID-19 related death of a resident. The man was a resident of the Lake Tahoe region.
“This morning we received the very sad news that a male over 65 years of age died yesterday of complications from COVID-19,” said County Public Health Officer, Dr. Nancy Williams. “Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends during this very difficult time.”
Friday, July 17
Even in the midst of the pandemic, California wine sales are climbing.
The state continues to lead the nation’s wine market with $43 billion in sales in the U.S in 2019 according to the Wine Institute. California shipped 276 million cases of wine both in the U.S. and abroad last year.
But while wine sales were up 6 percent, the volume was down as the market tended to go flat.
And this year consumer spending was down 25 percent from mid-March to mid-May due to the pandemic.
Stuart Spencer with the Lodi Winegrape Commission says, in spite of those setbacks, people are turning to wine as they shelter in home.
“We are continuing to see that people are actually drinking more wine during this shutdown and they’re purchasing it at supermarkets and grocery store chains and that has shifted the brands and suppliers that are benefitting from that growth,” he said.
Spencer says smaller wineries which have had to close their tasting rooms are having a tough time since many depend on those sales, on their wine clubs, and reaching new customers.
A report released by the Sonoma State University Wine Business said in all, the state wine industry is projected to lose $4.22 billion in revenues in 2020.
Sacramento Republic FC will not be making its debut in Major League Soccer until 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league announced a new timeline for four expansion clubs, including Sacramento. Originally slated to begin play in 2022, the team will now join the league a year later.
“The one-year adjustment to the club’s expansion timeline provides the team with the opportunity to address pandemic-driven challenges in the global construction economy and develop new strategies with local leaders to meet the club and stadium goals to support Sacramento’s workforce and communities facing challenges connected to the global health crisis,” a press release on the Republic’s website reads.
Republic FC is expected to break ground on its new stadium at the Railyards in downtown Sacramento sometime this fall.
The military is stepping in to help eight California hospitals being overwhelmed by the coronavirus surge.
The hospitals say they have beds but are stretched thin for personnel. At the state's request, the Air Force has begun sending 160 doctors, nurses and other health care specialists to the facilities, including medical centers in San Joaquin and Riverside counties.
Yesterday, California reported its largest two-day total of confirmed cases at nearly 20,000. There also were 258 additional deaths in 48 hours. More than 8,000 people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 have been hospitalized.
—The Associated Press
9:10 a.m.: Yolobus operator test positive for COVID-19
A Yolobus operator is in self-quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.
According to the Yolo County Transportation District, the employee worked for Transdev, the contractor who operates Yolobus transit services.
Transit officials say the operator has not been at work or driven for Yolobus since July 7. This is the first known COVID-19 connected to Yolobus.
“We are sending our thoughts for a quick recovery to the operator. The health and safety of the Yolobus team, our passengers, and the community we serve remains our highest priority,” said Yolobus Executive Director Terry Bassett. “Face coverings are required for both operators and passengers, limiting the possibility of exposure. All passengers are asked to wear their own face coverings, but a limited supply is also available on buses for passengers without them.”
The operator will be allowed to return to work with medically cleared.
Yolo County Transportation District
The Unified Wine and Grape Symposium, which is Sacramento's largest convention, announced it will be going virtual in 2021.
The Sacramento Business Journal reports the convention was expected to take place at CalExpo in January.
The event usually brings tens of thousands of people to Sacramento, providing a boost in significant tourism dollars.
Sacramento voters will be able to cast their ballots at Golden 1 Center on Election Day.
The Sacramento Kings are teaming up with the county Office of Voter Registration to create a vote center at the team’s home court which will allow people to vote while practicing social distancing.
The team says Golden 1 Center is California’s first professional sports venue to announce plans to serve as a vote center.
“The Kings are dedicated to using our platform to encourage civic participation and engagement,” said Sacramento Kings COO Matina Kolokotronis in a press release. “We are proud to provide a location in the heart of downtown with increased accessibility and opportunity to socially distance while promoting the importance of voting.”
The team will also provide staff members to serve as poll workers on Election Day.
Destiny Christian Church leaders say they will take a stand against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shutdown orders and hold indoor services Sunday.
Pastor Greg Farrington says he knows there are many people who may disagree with the decision.
“I know what the spirit of God is saying to Destiny and I’m responsible to lead Destiny this way,” Farrington said in a Facebook video. “This is our moment to take a stand.”
The Rocklin church’s website has a reservation system where people can reserve a spot at one of three different services Sunday morning.
The website also has a checkbox for people to acknowledge the following conditions, including:
- They have not traveled within the last 14 days to an area significantly impacted by COVID-19
- They do not have COVID-19
- By entering the Destiny Church building, visitors accept all personal liability of potential injury or disease.
California shuttered indoor religious services as well as gyms, malls and other businesses for counties on the state COVID-19 watchlist last week. Sacramento, Placer, Sutter, Yuba and Yolo counties are included on the list.
Thursday, July 16
6:23 p.m.: 'Farm to Fork' festival canceled
Sacramento's annual "Farm to Fork" festival has been called off for this September due to COVID-19 safety concerns.
The event usually takes place on the Capitol Mall and pays homage to the region's farmers. It also includes the upscale Tower Bridge dinner, which raises scholarship money for the children of migrant farmworkers.
“We know this is a disappointment not just for the attendees, but the farmers, chefs, restaurateurs and many other vendors and hospitality workers who take part in the festival every year," Visit Sacramento President & CEO Mike Testa said in a statement.
Organizers said they hope to bring the event back in 2021.
Asian farmers in the Central Valley say they are struggling to sell enough produce during the pandemic.
The Asian Business Institute and Resource Center, based in Fresno, says many micro-farmers don’t individually qualify for state or federal relief. The group is helping some farmers out by funneling money to the growers.
But Blong Xiong, executive director of the center, says they need a lot more help.
“There's over 200 farmers right now in Fresno,” Xiong said. “Up here in Sacramento we already went through an application process with 25 farmers.”
The resource center pays each farmer a thousand dollars for their produce and then the food is distributed to Southeast Asians families experiencing food challenges.
But Xiong admits funds are limited and there are hundreds of farmers still in need of help across Central California.
9:34 a.m.: Outbreak at Woodland nursing home
Yolo County officials report there is a coronavirus outbreak at Woodland Residential Services in Woodland.
As of Wednesday, there are 10 confirmed cases and one death of a resident. The four staff members and six residents who have been infected are being isolated and monitored for symptoms.
There are plans to test all residents and staff on Thursday.
According to county officials, this facility is not required to be posted on the state’s Skilled Nursing Facility list. They also say this location is classified as an intermediate care facility that serves vulnerable and high-risk residents who are “developmentally disabled, need nursing or rehabilitative care, and live in a congregate setting.”
Yolo County has seen a significant increase in cases in the last month and has reached more than 1,000 confirmed cases.
The coronavirus pandemic forced organizers to cancel next year’s Rose Parade in Pasadena.
“The health and well-being of our parade participants and guests, as well as that of our volunteer members, professional staff and partners, is our number one priority,” said Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association president Bob Miller in a statement. “Obviously this is not what any of us wanted, and we held off on announcing until we were absolutely sure that safety restrictions would prevent us from continuing with planning for 132nd Rose Parade.”
Organizers say the College Football Playoff Semifinal — The Rose Bowl — is still moving forward.
Millions of people tune in to watch the New Year’s Day tradition and thousands of fans camp out for days in downtown Pasadena to watch all the floats and bands marching down Colorado Blvd.
Since its inception in 1891, the Rose Parade has only been canceled three times during World War II.
The University of California Health produced a new COVID-19 data set based on patient information collected from its five medical centers: UC Davis Health, UC San Diego Health, UCI Health, UCLA Health and UCSF Health.
UC Health says the location of its hospitals across the state means the data pulls from a broad section of California’s diverse communities.
The University of California COVID Research Data Set (UC CORDS) has more than 460 million data points made up of clinical information. UC researchers can use the data to quickly compare treatment options from past patients to help current and future patients. UC Health says it also follows U.S. Department of Health and Human Service rules on data collection by removing information that can identify specific individuals or family members.
"With the scale of the pandemic, we need as many UC researchers as possible to work on treatment options” said Atul Butte, UC Health chief data scientist, in a press release. “Having access to this diverse data set that is already integrated may contain insights into COVID-19 that they may not find elsewhere, and can make their work more efficient. This type of dataset may provide a window into patterns they might not have otherwise been able to identify."
Wednesday, July 15
Hospital intensive care units in San Joaquin County are operating at 121% capacity due to COVID-19 cases, necessitating the deployment of a federal medical assistance team to help with care.
Twenty medical personnel which include physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists have come to the aid of Adventist Health Lodi Memorial Hospital. The hospital has 36 COVID positive cases, six of which are in ICU.
That federal medical team will allow the hospital to increase intensive care bed capacity by 15% with the extra staffing.
Tiffany Heyer with San Joaquin Emergency Services says there are shortages in hospital staffing but people shouldn’t delay seeking medical care for any reason.
“We still have the system available to treat strokes, and difficulty breathing, and anything else 911 would need to be called for,” she said.
The federal medical team will assist for at least the next 30 days.
Current statistics show 195 COVID cases hospitalized in the county with 66 of them in ICU.
Sacramento County is preparing to ramp up tests for COVID-19.
Dr. Peter Beilenson, head of the county's Department of Health Services, says they plan to open a new lab. This will allow the county to expand the number of community testing sites to 10, up from the current five.
"Those sites have been testing asymptomatic as well as symptomatic patients,” he said. “So I'm hopeful that we'll have more available in the next couple of weeks."
Beilenson says the county is also looking at putting more restrictions on social gatherings.
"The state actually has sort of mushy language, if you will, about outdoor gatherings and we want to put more specific information about that,” he said. “So we're seriously considering that.”
He says it's not just gatherings. There are a large number of people — particularly migrant workers and day workers — who are being infected and aren't quarantining because they can't afford to take time off from work.
No more delays for Americans when it comes to filing taxes.
Wednesday marks the day the federal government postponed the traditional April 15 filing deadline.
The AP reports the move provided some economic and logistical relief for taxpayers dealing with the disruptions and uncertainty brought on by coronavirus lockdowns, school closures and shuttered businesses.
Taxpayers will face a penalty if they do not file or seek an extension by Wednesday.
The IRS is expecting about 150 million returns from individuals. As of last count, it had received almost 142 million.
People enjoying crowds and leaving their masks at home during the Independence Day holiday could be behind a record high in the daily number of positive COVID-19 tests in Nevada, according to state officials.
Nevada's pandemic response chief Caleb Cage said Tuesday a resurgence in hospitalizations continues less than a week after Gov. Steve Sisolak closed bars and restaurants in the Reno and Las Vegas areas in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The state health department reported 1,104 new cases Tuesday, which brings the total to nearly 30,000 since the pandemic began.
At least 612 people have died.
The Trump administration has backed off a directive that would have taken away visas from international college students if their colleges did not offer in-person classes for the fall semester.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rule change would have stopped foreign students from entering or remaining in the country to take only online course loads.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University challenged the rule with a lawsuit. They called the directive "arbitrary and capricious" and wanted the rule to be reversed and declared unlawful.
On CapRadio Insight Monday, Sacramento State president Dr. Robert Nelsen said there were nearly 500 international students who would have been affected by the new rule. He says many students cannot go back to their home countries because they have been living in the United States, which has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Tuesday, July 14
A fourth player for the Sacramento Kings has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Harrison Barnes says he's been primarily symptom free and is doing well. He also tweeted that he's quarantined and abiding by other safety protocols.
Barnes' positive announcement comes as teams prepare for the restart of the NBA season in Orlando.
Previously, the Kings announced that Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker and Alex Len had tested positive.
Over the weekend, center Richaun Holmes inadvertently broke the perimeter of the NBA campus to pick up a food delivery which means he has to quarantine 10 days before he can return to practice.
"This is sort of, I guess, the Twilight Zone wrapped in a blizzard," says Jot Condie, president and CEO of the California Restaurant Association.
Condie was responding to Gov. Gavin Newsom's decision Monday to — once again — close bars and indoor-dining as the coronavirus sweeps the state with renewed ferocity. He says this latest move comes just as restaurants were ramping up again.
"Many of those funds that they got from ... the federal funds ... have run out,” he said. “They've brought their workers back, who were on unemployment ... back on the payroll. And then all of a sudden you're told 'you've got to shut down again.'"
He says, pre-COVID, there were roughly 100,000 restaurants in California. Because of pandemic-related shutdown orders, analysts predicted about 30,000 of them would go out-of-business. Condie says that number will likely increase with the governor's latest order.
A majority of Orange County school board members approved recommendations for reopening schools in the fall that do not include the mandatory use of masks for students or increased social distancing in classrooms.
The LA Times reports the county Board of Education left the details of reopening to individual school districts.
Board members reviewed recommendations listed in a white paper, which was produced from a June 24 community forum on reopening schools with a panel made up of medical experts and lawmakers including former Los Alamitos Unified superintendent Sherry Kropp and county supervisor Don Wagner.
The document also noted shortcomings of distance learning.
“While a thorough discussion of distance learning is beyond the scope of this discussion, it’s important to note that it appears so far to have been an utter failure,” stated the white paper on opening schools in Orange County. “The move has revealed huge class-based disparities in access to technology. It produced irregular attendance by children, and teachers simply (generally through no lack of effort) unable to manage distracted children in multiple locations. Its reliance on parental oversight is also a fatal weakness.”
The paper also does not recommend social distancing of children in classrooms or that children wear masks in school.
USC microbiology professor Paula Cannon told the LA Times that she was “astonished” that panelists would claim the use of masks was not necessary.
In a recent CapRadio/PolitiFact California report, medical experts say children are at some risk of COVID-19 and they could be a source of transmission to their parents, other relatives and adults.
San Joaquin County Sheriff Patrick Withrow said he has recovered from COVID-19 during a monthly address on Facebook.
He said he decided to get tested after coming down with symptoms that were similar to a cold back on June 30. His results came back positive eight days later.
He said his symptoms went away about a week ago.
“Let’s be vigilant. If you start not feeling well, get yourself tested,” Withrow said on Facebook. “I know it’s a long line and it takes a while to get results. But let’s make sure we take care of ourselves and our families and everyone else.”
Withrow says his family is not showing any symptoms so far.
Stockton Unified teachers, students and staff will start the fall semester on August 3 with distance learning.
Interim Superintendent Brian Biedermann made the announcement on Facebook Monday night.
“Due to the significant increase of COVID-19 cases in San Joaquin County in recent weeks, we do not believe that schools can safely and responsibly reopen this fall,” Biedermann said on Facebook.
Stockton Unified closed campuses in March due to the spread of COVID-19. The school district says it will return to in-person classes as soon as public health conditions allow.
“We recognize that this decision will be disappointing to many staff, students and families who were looking forward to returning to campus, reconnecting with one another, and continuing their education,” said Biedermann. “While this was a difficult decision to make, we know that this is the best decision for the health of our students, staff and community.”
According to the Stockton Recorder, San Joaquin County had 6,9888 positive cases with children younger than 18 accounting for 642 of the confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Monday, July 13
San Joaquin County Public Health Officer Dr. Maggie Park and the County Superintendent of Schools James Mousalimas strongly recommend that local schools begin the school year providing only distance learning instruction through at least the end of August 2020.
They will review the recommendation in mid-August to determine if the situation has improved enough for schools to begin to offer a modified form of in-person instruction in September.
Currently the number of positive COVID-19 cases in San Joaquin County has risen to 6,988, and the ICUs in their seven area hospitals are at 121% capacity.
Sacramento Regional Transit says one of its bus drivers has tested positive for COVID-19.
The agency says riders of the 84/26 route who rode between 5:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on July 1-7 should know they could have been exposed. SacRT says the bus operator did wear a mask and that all drivers get a temperature check before beginning their shift.
The driver is the first frontline worker for SacRT to test positive.
Two of the state’s largest school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego Unified, announced they would not be reopening campuses for in-person instruction in the fall.
The districts, home to around 700,000 students, released a statement Monday saying they would start the school year with all-distance learning. The announcement comes as President Trump and others in the federal government have pushed for schools to fully reopen.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said he plans to release additional information on guidelines for schools reopening in the fall later this week, including guidance on in-person learning, contact sports and other activities.
Nevada lawmakers are reconvening an emergency special session Monday after someone inside the legislative building tested positive for COVID-19.
Gov. Steve Sisolak convened the session so lawmakers could balance the state budget with a projected $1.2 billion shortfall stemming from the pandemic.
A day after staff members announced an asymptomatic individual had tested positive, more than a dozen Nevada lawmakers chose to participate remotely in the proceedings.
Then both chambers decided to reconvene Monday morning to give people time to get tested. This also gave staff more time to answer a list of questions that lawmakers have asked in budget hearings.
Even though state health officials published guidelines to allow nursing home visits to resume, few are happening because of rising infection rates in California.
California nursing facilities account for about 40% of COVID-19 deaths. The AP reports many families use phone and video calls to stay in touch with loved ones.
Here are the guidelines for nursing home visits:
- Indoor visitation is limited to one person at a time
- Visits can move forward if there’s adequate staffing, testing and no new virus cases in a facility for 14 days and a decline in new cases, hospitalizations or deaths in the surrounding community
- Facilities are supposed to allow outdoor visits and follow infection control protocols
The California Department of Public Health reported 7,107 COVID-19 deaths in California on Sunday.
A weekend heat wave brought crowds of people to Southern California beaches over the weekend. Authorities say most people respected social distancing guidelines as the state continues to deal with a surge in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations.
There were more than 320,800 positive cases statewide.
Friday, July 10
Officials say a recent spike of coronavirus infections at UC Berkeley is tied to a series of frat parties.
University health officials say the university had reported 23 COVID-19 cases since March, but it recently confirmed 47 cases in just one week.
They say in a letter to the school community that the new cases are linked to parties connected to Cal's Greek system.
They say the spike could derail the university's plan to have some in-person classes in the fall.
San Francisco Giants star catcher Buster Posey has become the latest big-name player to skip this season because of concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
The six-time All-Star said his family finalized the adoption of identical twin girls this week. The babies were born prematurely and Posey said after consultations with his wife and doctor he decided to opt out of the season.
The 2012 NL MVP and three-time World Series champion joined Dodgers pitcher David Price, Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, Colorado outfielder Ian Desmond, Arizona pitcher Mike Leake and others in deciding not to take part in the 60-game season this year.
—The Associated Press
8:08 a.m.: Nevada businesses brace for new restrictions
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak says businesses will face more restrictions imposed under Phase One of the state's reopening plan.
The clampdown is in response to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, which have surged in recent weeks.
The new restrictions will only be enforced in counties that are deemed to be COVID-19 hotspots. State officials are set to announce which counties fall into that category Friday. In addition to bars, there will be more restrictions for restaurants and food establishments, like not being able to seat parties larger than six people — indoors or outdoors. More restrictions are also expected for gyms and other venues.
The new restrictions will take effect at midnight Friday.
Sisolak says state inspectors have found one-fifth of Nevada businesses are not following guidelines intended to slow the spread of the virus. For bars, compliance is even worse.
“I'm concerned because based on our inspection thus far, fewer than half the bars that OSHA inspectors have visited have been found to be in compliance,” said Sisolak.
As California enters wildfire season, the state is on a recruitment drive for sufficient firefighters after the coronavirus outbreak depleted the ranks of fire crews made up of inmates.
The pandemic also caused a budget deficit that derailed plans to hire 600 new state firefighters and staff.
Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state has enough money to add back 172 professional firefighters. He is using his emergency authority to boost seasonal fire crews as the state enters another hot, dry summer which can help fuel the fire season.
The news on hiring more seasonal firefighters comes as 98 of the state’s 192 inmate fire crews have been shut down due to the aggressive spread of COVID-19 through California’s prison system.
7:30 a.m.: Sutter and Yuba placed on state watch list
A spike in coronavirus cases placed two Northern California counties on the verge of mandatory closings.
Sutter and Yuba counties are averaging about 30 new coronavirus cases a day, up from five cases a month ago.
Two months ago, both counties defied Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order to more quickly reopen businesses.
State officials placed Sutter and Yuba on a monitoring list of counties with rapidly increasing caseloads on Thursday. If both counties stay there for three days, state rules require all bars to close and restaurants and other businesses to stop indoor operations.
Placer County was also added to the watchlist Thursday.
Thursday, July 9
A rural Nevada church is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to suspend the state’s 50-person cap on religious gatherings.
Leaders of Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley are seeking an emergency injunction while an appellate court considers their claim that the COVID-19 restrictions treating casinos and others more leniently violates their constitutional right to exercise their beliefs.
The church says Gov. Steve Sisolak’s June 4 directive allowing casinos, restaurants and amusement parks to reopen at 50% of capacity while maintaining the hard cap for church services “simply turns the First Amendment on its head.”
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a similar emergency request last week.
— The Associated Press
New numbers from the Labor Department show many employers are cutting more jobs as the nation sees a surge in COVID-19 CASES.
More than 1.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week.
According to the AP, the spike in cases has forced six states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan and Texas — to reverse their move to reopen businesses. These states make up one-third of the U.S. economy.
Fifteen other states have suspended their re-openings.
Thursday’s report shows that the number of applications for unemployment benefits fell from 1.4 million in the previous week.
This figure has now topped 1 million for 16 straight weeks.
6:50 a.m.: The cost of surge hospitals in California
There are new questions about several makeshift hospitals in California that have seen few patients but cost a lot of money.
These so-called “alternative care” or “surge” facilities were funded to support the rising number of COVID-19 cases. They come with high costs, whether or not they end up dealing with a high volume of patients.
The AP reports more than $4 million was spent to prepare and staff a facility that only treated two people over nearly two months.
AP reporters are asking for an accounting of the first three months of operations for these facilities.
So far, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has only been able to account for about 20% of the $252 million spent.
6:37 a.m.: State Senate delays work due to outbreak
A coronavirus outbreak at the Capitol has prompted the state Senate to delay its work.
Senators were supposed to return from summer recess on Monday. Now a memo from Senate secretary Erika Contreras says the Senate will not be in session next week.
The memo does not give a return date.
The State Assembly already announced an indefinite hiatus after six people, who worked there, tested positive for the virus. This includes Assemblywoman Autumn Burke from Inglewood.
Lawmakers have missed nearly two months of work at the start of the pandemic.
Wednesday, July 8
The city of Sacramento has $7.5 million in grant money to help out arts groups, tourism and cultural organizations during the pandemic.
"Applications for these Creative Economy Recovery grants open today, July 8, and they're open through July 22,” said Ray Gargano of the city's Office of Arts and Culture.
He says shutdown orders have devastated arts organizations because there's been no revenue for them to keep going.
Gargano says AB-5 — the bill that reclassifies many freelancers as employees — is also hurting the community, and the Office is hoping for an adjustment in the law when it comes to hiring artists through contract.
Applications will be accepted online at arts.cityofsacramento.org/grants.
Sacramento County plans to reopen four of the five testing sites it closed earlier this week due to a supply chain problem with a shortage of testing supplies, namely a fluid used for transporting tests.
To solve this problem, the county is switching from its previous partner, UC Davis, to the National guard, which has the supplies as of now.
The following testing sites will reopen next week to accommodate clients whose appointments were cancelled:
- Tuesday, July 14: Natomas Unified School District
- Wednesday, July 15: Robertson Community Center
- Thursday, July 16: La Familia’s Maple Neighborhood Center
- Friday, June 17: South Sacramento Christian Center (This site will also serve clients from Tetteh Pediatric Health)
The continued operation of these sites will be assessed weekly, and priority will be given to previously scheduled clients who have not already gotten tested through alternative means and are 18 years or older. The National Guard will still be testing people at the Valley-hi Library on Thursday, July 9 at 7:30 a.m. on a first come, first serve basis as planned.
11:48 a.m.: Yolo County placed on state COVID-19 watch list
Yolo County has been placed on the state of California’s COVID-19 watch list due to recent increases in confirmed cases over the past two weeks.
The state places counties on this list when counties exceed certain metrics related to elevated coronavirus transition and limited hospital capacity for three consecutive days.
As of July 8, Yolo County had no available staffed ICU beds. One of the state’s metrics for placing a county on the watchlist is if the county has less than 20% of staffed ICU beds available. Additionally, Yolo County has a rate of 117.2 cases per 100,000 residents, exceeding the state’s standards.
This increased community transmission of the virus is due to social and family gatherings, workplace transmissions and an increase in widespread testing at skilled nursing facilities, according to the county.
The county will be evaluating local case data, increasing disease investigation and contact tracing, continuing public messaging on social distancing and wearing face coverings, doing educational outreach and working with long-term care and congregate community facilities to address this increase.
A process is already in place to serve patients in need of an ICU bed if none are available in Yolo County. On July 3, before landing on the watch list, the county already chose to preemptively close the sectors the state was requiring counties on the list to close and is fining businesses that violate the order.
Yolo County will be working with the California Department of Public Health and the state to identify any other necessary interventions.
Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are trying to block a new directive from the Trump administration that would take away visas from foreign college students if their coursework was entirely online.
The New York Times reports both campuses filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday.
The universities say the new rule was politically motivated and it was an effort by the White House to pressure universities into reopening, despite announcing plans to reduce COVID-19 transmission.
Harvard plans on going digital for all classes for this school year. Other universities announced hybrid teaching models which include some in-person instruction but mostly online classes.
California, Michigan and 3 other states are suing the U.S. Department of Education over a policy change that could take pandemic relief funds away from K-12 public schools and divert them to private schools.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday challenges a new rule issued by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last month, which calls for equitable distribution of the relief dollars.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says the rule is “the Trump administration’s latest effort to steal from working families and give it to the very privileged.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Michigan, Maine, New Mexico and Wisconsin have also joined.
There are some Northern California counties that are scaling back reopening as the state sees more cases of coronavirus.
Yolo County supervisors passed a measure Tuesday that allows fines of up to $10,000 for businesses that don't follow state and local health orders.
Sutter, Yuba and Placer counties plan on halting indoor restaurant dining this week. Currently, 23 counties are on a state watch list because of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
California now has seen nearly 280,000 cases and some 6,500 deaths.
Tuesday, July 7
As of Friday, 188 of 216 farmworkers tested positive at a housing facility in Southern California.
Villa Las Brisas in Oxnard has dorm-style accommodations for temporary migrant farmworkers in the H-2A visa program. The workers were employed by three separate contractors that leased space for their H-2A workers.
The county public health director says he believes the laborers were working as a unit and did not work alongside other farmworkers in Ventura County.
Early Tuesday the Trump administration aimed a conversation at reopening schools in the Fall despite recent spikes in COVID-19 cases.
The roundtable discussion administered Tuesday afternoon was aimed to “focus on the holistic health and learning needs of America’s students” according to administration officials noted in an article by NPR. However, President Trump made it clear Monday morning in a tweet that “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!”.
Following that tweet, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos amplified his message with a follow up tweet of “American Education must be fully open and fully operational this fall!”
NPR also reports the Trump administration will share “best practices” on reopening with states, including recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One thing, however, that did not get mentioned was new federal aid. According to the NPR article “Education groups have asked for at least $200 billion in federal funding to reopen safely and plug holes in state budgets due to the recession. So far, $13.5 billion has been appropriated to K-12 education.”
One last thing to note is this push to reopen schools stems from new regulations released by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that foreign students attending American Colleges can not remain in the country if classes are online.
The biotech company Novavax announced it will be paid $1.6 billion to expedite the development and production of a coronavirus vaccine by next year.
In a news release published Tuesday, the company said this was part of Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s effort to produce vaccines and treatments for American patients as soon as possible. The contract covers a Phase 3 clinical trial and calls for establishing large-scale manufacturing and delivering 100 million doses as early as late 2020.
According to the New York Times, the vaccine deal is the largest that the Trump administration has made so far.
“The pandemic has caused an unprecedented public health crisis, making it more important than ever that industry, government and funding entities join forces to defeat the novel coronavirus together,” said Novavax CEO Stanley C. Erck in a press release. “We are grateful to the U.S. government for its confidence in our technology platform, and are working tirelessly to develop and produce a vaccine for this global health crisis.”
The NY Times reports the Maryland company has never brought a product to market.
7:30 a.m.: Testing supply shortage in Sacramento County
A testing supply shortage is forcing Sacramento County to temporarily close five of its six community testing centers.
Only the Oak Park location will remain open.
The shortage comes after a jump in tests administered. Sacramento County health Director Peter Beilenson says the county is now testing about 16,000 people a week compared to 300 to 400 a few months ago.
The county is short “transport media,” which is a chemical solution. More than 4,600 COVID-19 tests were conducted at the six community clinics in Sacramento County since opening on May 15.
Businesses tied to Gov. Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis and two legislative leaders received federal loans aimed at keeping small businesses afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.
Federal data on the Paycheck Protection Program released Monday showed a Northern California-based winery and hospitality company founded and partly owned by Newsom received a loan worth $150,350.
A labor consulting company led by California Senate Minority Leader Shannon Grove received a loan within the same dollar range. A consulting firm founded by the spouse of state Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and a real estate investment company run by the husband of Kounalakis received loans of at least $350,000.
The LA Times reports the federal government gave more than $68 billion to 580,000 companies in California in the last three months as part of the program that was supposed to help small businesses keep employees on the payroll.
Monday, July 6
Around 3% of U.S. adults moved either temporarily or for good because of the pandemic and 6% had someone move into their household, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.
The numbers were even higher among young people, with 9% of 18-29 year olds moving because of the coronavirus.
"But many more knew someone else who had moved," D'Vera Cohn, a senior writer and editor at Pew who authored the study, told NPR. "So if you add up the number of adults who either knew someone who moved or moved themselves, about one in five U.S. adults did."
People gave a number of different drivers for moves:
- 28% said reducing the risk of contracting the virus
- 23% because their college campus closed
- 20% to be with family
- 8% due to job loss
- 10% had other financial reasons
Newly formed "strike teams" of state inspectors contacted thousands of businesses over the Independence Day weekend. But they issued citations to only a handful as they enforced coronavirus restrictions amid a resurging pandemic.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the teams only issued 52 citations because most business owners complied with the state's directives. He formed the teams last week with resources from 10 state agencies after some local officials openly said they would not enforce new shutdown orders or a statewide mask rule. About 200 state inspectors were in the field.
Yolo County health officials are monitoring another coronavirus outbreak at a convalescent hospital in Woodland.
The recent outbreak occurred at Alderson Convalescent Hospital. County health officials say there are 10 confirmed cases: six residents and four staff members. They say all residents and facility staff were tested on July 2. The people who tested positive have been isolated and their families notified.
The outbreak follows an earlier one at Stollwood Convalescent Hospital where 66 residents have tested positive.
The county has recorded 26 deaths related to COVID-19, with 17 of those cases were at long-term care facilities.
Yolo County has seen a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. When Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered 19 counties to scale back reopening measures, Yolo County moved ahead with tougher safety rules even though it was not part of the list.
7:26 a.m.: UN: COVID-19 knocks HIV progress off course
A new report from the United Nation agency leading the international effort to end AIDS shows its efforts are not meeting target goals because of COVID-19.
UNAIDS says those missed targets resulted in 3.5 million more HIV infections and 820,000 more AIDS-related deaths since 2015.
The agency and its partners are calling all COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and tests to be mass produced and distributed fairly and free for all, in order to contain the pandemic and HIV. It also wants countries to increase investments in both diseases.
“We cannot have poor countries at the back of the queue. It should not depend on the money in your pocket or the color of your skin to be protected against these deadly viruses,” said Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS Executive Director. “We cannot take money from one disease to treat another. Both HIV and COVID-19 must be fully funded if we are to avoid massive loss of life.”
According to the UNAIDS report, its HIV response could be set back by 10 years or more if COVID-19 pandemic results in severe disruptions to HIV services.
6:55 a.m.: Sacramento Kings closes practice facility
The Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks closed practice facilities Sunday following a round of coronavirus testing, ESPN reports.
A source told ESPN that one member of Sacramento's traveling party tested positive for COVID-19. The Kings practice facility will stay closed through their departure for Orlando Wednesday, where the team is set to play in an exhibition game against the Miami Heat at Disney World.
At least one positive test for the Bucks has the team closing its facility to workouts until the team leaves Thursday for the Orlando exhibition game.
According to NPR, 25 NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus as of July 2.
Saturday, July 4
By Colin Dwyer, NPR
The grim news has taken no respite this Fourth of July.
On Saturday, just as residents across the country celebrated the holiday, state authorities once more reported a record-breaking number of new coronavirus cases. Florida and South Carolina on Saturday both reported passing their previous single-day highs, while states such Alabama, Texas and a slew of others continued to reel from recent records of their own.
In Florida alone, Friday saw more than 11,400 newly confirmed cases of the virus. That sum shatters a record that was set in the state just a couple of days ago — around the same time that the U.S. as a whole recorded the world's highest-ever daily tally, with more than 55,000.
Friday, July 3
Nevada’s moratorium on evictions and foreclosures is gradually being lifted, and commercial landlords are now being allowed to start evicting tenants if they don’t pay rent, AP reports.
Eviction proceedings in the state have been halted since March 30, when Gov. Steve Sisolak issued the directive as a result of job loss during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under Sisolak’s new directive, which took effect July 1, landlords of commercial properties can start evicting tenants who have not paid.
Landlords of residential properties can start evicting tenants on August 1 for nonpayment, but only if the eviction process had started before March 30.
Thursday, July 2
Scientists say now that they've learned more about coronavirus transmission patterns from contact tracing over the past few months they have a better understanding of how to prevent its spread.
UC Davis Doctor Brad Pollock, who heads the University of California's Public Health COVID-19 Working Group, said given what they know, he doesn’t think a full shutdown is necessary again.
"I don't think we have to go back to a full shelter-in-place type of situation," he said.
He said officials should instead regulate the places where new cases originate.
“I think if we can control where the new cases are coming from, which is to try to control this physical contact in confined spaces mainly and larger social gatherings or in a few businesses where the tendency is to have people get much closer without that protection, I think if we can put measure in places to reduce that down, we’re not going to have to go back to a full shelter-in-place order,” he said.
One such measure was implemented by Gov. Gavin Newsom this week. On Wednesday, he shut down bars, movie theaters and indoor eating at restaurants for three weeks across 19 counties, including Sacramento. In the past two weeks, confirmed coronavirus cases in California have jumped by 45 percent.
You can hear the full interview with Pollock at capradio.org/insight.
The United States hit another milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday, with more than 50,000 new cases reported in a single day.
Johns Hopkins University says the total number of cases reported in the U.S. stands at 2,686,480. This marks an increase of 50,700 over Tuesday's figure.
U.S. deaths attributed to the coronavirus stand at 128,062.
Brazil is ranked second in the world behind the United States, with 1,448,753 cases and 60,632 deaths.
8:42 a.m: NFL pushes back start of preseason
Football fans will see a short preseason to give NFL players more time for training.
A source told the AP that the league will cut its preseason in half and push back the start of exhibition play following an offseason on video conferences because of the pandemic.
The AP reports there are players who are talking with their union on whether to ask to cancel all preseason games.
Teams are set to meet in person for the first time on July 28 when training camps open.
8:00 a.m.: Hiring surge with 4.8 million jobs in June
Before the latest spike in COVID-19 cases, the U.S. economy continued to recover from the recession as employers added 4.8 million jobs in June.
The Labor Department reports the unemployment rate dipped to 11.1%. And revised figures show job growth sped up in May when employers added 2.7 million jobs.
This new report reflects conditions from the middle of June. So the new job numbers do not reflect what happened with states like California and Arizona, which started pulling back from reopening and moved forward with shutting down businesses again.
Wednesday, July 1
Governor Newsom has allocated $27 million to the city of Stockton for COVID-19 relief.
Federal relief money went to the counties rather than the cities. San Joaquin County took in $133 million but none of that is shared with any of the cities.
Mayor Michael Tubbs along with mayors in Oakland and Long Beach reached out to the Governor’s office seeking funds directly to the cities.
Tubbs says his top priority is permanent housing for the homeless and financial relief for families hard hit by job losses.
“We know that bills are stacking up and we know that a city is nothing more than people who live in it, so some of these resources can’t just go to city government as an organization, but it has to go out to you the people,” he said.
The mayor added that the money will also go to small businesses and help with the city budget which he says will not include layoffs, furloughs, or service cuts.
However, Tubbs notes that the county started June with less than a thousand cases of the virus, but that figure has now climbed 280% to 3,800 cases.
The holiday weekend is near and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg wants residents to practice social distancing and wear masks — and he's willing to have the city write tickets for those who don't.
The mayor acknowledged Sacramento would not be able to "police its way" out of the pandemic, but he also says people need to follow the guidelines.
"This weekend, the Fourth of July, if there are large numbers of people that are having big picnics and not wearing masks I would not mind some enforcement here,” he said. “And not police, but code enforcement. Because I think we need to make a few examples here, to assure people that we are serious about this."
COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Sacramento and across the state.
The mayor says lives are at stake, and that businesses lose out when residents don't cover their faces and keep safe distances from each other.
People can either help bring down coronavirus numbers by staying at home this Independence Day or possibly spread transmission of the virus if they go out and socialize. That's the message from Sacramento County Health Director Dr. Peter Beilenson.
"It's really, really crucial — for this holiday weekend especially — that we not congregate," Belienson said on CapRadio's Insight Wednesday.
Beilenson says the number of coronavirus cases in Sacramento County has increased by more than 1,000 in the past seven to 10 days. And hospitalizations have gone up from eight to 98 in about a two-week period.
"We think that it's actually a combination of cabin fever and message fatigue that has gotten people to kind of throw caution to the wind and it's absolutely crucial this weekend that people do not gather," he said.
Earlier this week, Sacramento County closed bars and nightspots hoping to curb transmission of the virus after a mandate from the state.
California is mandating that bars close and indoor activities stop at restaurants, movie theaters and museums in 19 counties hardest-hit by a surge of new COVID-19 cases.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the order as public health officials attempt to slow the spread of the virus before a busy holiday weekend.
The new rules mandate certain businesses stop indoor operations — including dine-in restaurants, wineries, museums and movie theaters — for all counties that have been on the state watchlist for more than three days. The closures will last for at least three weeks.
Those 19 counties cover 72% of California residents, and the list includes Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Joaquin counties.
Under the new order, the following business must stop indoor activities:
Indoor dine-in restaurants
Indoor wineries and tasting rooms
Indoor family entertainment centers
Indoor movie theaters
Indoor zoos and museums
All brewpubs, breweries, bars and pubs in these counties must also close immediately, both indoor and outdoor operations.
7:41 a.m.: State hits pause on some testing sites
California needed to increase daily coronavirus testing in order to lift stay-at-home orders and begin the process of reopening the state’s economy, said Gov. Gavin Newsom last April as he launched a multi-million dollar initiative to expand COVID-19 testing.
The LA Times reports the state will no longer fund new testing sites and it has closed some locations and moved them elsewhere.
County public health officials told the LA Times that the state has also threatened to pull testing out of underutilized sites. This includes a testing site in the town of Shingle Springs in June because it couldn’t fill enough appointment slots.
7:05 a.m.: Border cities to backpedal on reopening
A farming region on California's border with Mexico has sent hundreds of patients to hospitals outside the area in recent weeks as leaders accept Gov. Gavin Newsom's recommendation to backpedal on reopening its battered economy.
Imperial County supervisors unveiled a plan Monday that includes closing businesses deemed non-essential and shuttering county parks. The county has a positive coronavirus test rate of about 20%. There are 6,200 cases among 30,700 people tested.
According to the AP, health experts agree that cross-border traffic with Mexicali is at least partly to blame for a surge.
Mexicali has taken its own measures to combat the virus, including a checkpoint for motorists entering from the U.S. This created a 7-hour backup on the American side on Saturday.
Gov. Gavin Newsom used a motel in Contra Costa County Tuesday to launch the next phase in the state’s effort to help homeless people during the pandemic.
As part of Project Roomkey, the state procured more than 15,600 hotel and motel rooms plus more than 1,300 trailers for homeless people to help protect them against COVID-19. The project has helped an estimated 14,200 individuals in the last three months.
The next phase of the project is backed by $1.3 billion in funding from the budget signed by Newsom Monday.
“We’ve long dreamed about scooping up thousands of motel rooms and converting them into housing for our homeless neighbors,” said Newsom. “The terrible pandemic we’re facing has given us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy all these vacant properties, and we’re using federal stimulus money to do it.”
Health officials were concerned the virus could potentially sweep through homeless encampments. One projection made in March said as many as 60,000 homeless people could be infected over a two-month period.
Tuesday, June 30
6:05 p.m.: Minor League Baseball cancels 2020 season
There will be no Sacramento River Cats games this summer. No Stockton Ports. No Modesto Nuts.
Minor League Baseball announced Tuesday it is canceling the 2020 season after Major League Baseball informed the league it wouldn't provide players to affiliated teams.
“These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization as this is the first time in our history we’ve had a summer without Minor League Baseball played,” said MiLB President and CEO Pat O’Conner. “While this is a sad day for many, this announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, told members of Congress that he would not be surprised if COVID-19 cases reached 100,000 a day.
Not politicizing mask-wearing was at the center of the conversation.
"There's no doubt that wearing masks protects you," Fauci said. "Anything that furthers the use of masks, whether it's giving out free masks or any other mechanism, I am thoroughly in favor of."
Drs. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Stephen Hahn, Food and Drug Administration commissioner; and Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, also testified.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are requiring travelers from California, Nevada and six other states be quarantined for 14 days under new rules released Tuesday.
California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee are now added to a list of 16 states under travel restrictions. The quarantine applies to states with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.
"As an increasing number of states around the country fight significant community spread, New York is taking action to maintain the precarious safety of its phased, data-driven reopening," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
The longtime conductor and artistic director of the Sacramento Youth Symphony is stepping down.
Maestro Michael Neumann is retiring after 40-years. Under his leadership, the Symphony has grown into one of the largest youth orchestra programs in California.
On "Insight with Beth Ruyak," Neumann said he worries about his fellow musicians who aren't able to perform because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"For me, this was going to be coming to an end anyway," he said. "But for those who are still involved and still vitally a part of playing in an orchestra, being part of the arts or whatever, this is very devastating because they have to find new ways or new things to do."
Some of the big events set to coincide with Neumann's retirement — including a concert and a final tour of Italy — were canceled because of the coronavirus.
Even though some states have started to do enough testing to keep their outbreaks from getting worse, Harvard researchers say more states are still falling short of what is needed to contain COVID-19.
They conducted a new analysis for NPR and found daily testing has doubled to about 500,000 nationally, up from 250,000 tests nationally in May. The Harvard group recommends daily testing to hit 1 million nationally, in order to push back the pandemic in the U.S.
California is among the states who need to increase daily testing.
This is what the Harvard analysis found for the state:
- New daily COVID-19 cases: 5,554 cases/day
- Current daily testing (7-day average): 92,858
- Daily testing needed for mitigation: 222,862 tests
- Daily testing needed for suppression: 824,901 tests
A new report shows California is the second-worst state in the nation for providing adequate internet access to students who are learning from home, according to SFGate.
The study by Common Sense Media and Boston Consulting Group shows for California students:
- 25% of the state’s K-12 students lack adequate connection (1,528,536 students)
- 17% lack adequate devices at home (1,063,415 students)
The report found only Texas had a larger population of K-12 students who do not have adequate internet access for distancing learning.
Researchers identified students lacking technology requirements for learning at home including: reliable high-speed internet, sufficient data plans, along with a computer, laptop, or tablet device.
Monday, June 29
The Sacramento News and Review stopped publishing its weekly print paper in March after the pandemic forced many of its advertisers — including restaurants and music venues — to shut down.
But on Wednesday, the SN&R says it is returning with a new issue in print.
Founder and CEO Jeff vonKaenel is asking for readers to help out so the paper can continue.
“We’re hoping the reader support will help create a sustainable model, so we can continue to do what we've done at the News & Review for the last 31 years: Provide Sacramento with the coverage they so deserve,” he said.
He hopes that the paper can continue to publish on a monthly basis while also posting stories on its website.
(updated Tuesday, June 26 - to reflect two residents have died)
Arbor Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Lodi has 35 residents and 15 staff members testing positive for the coronavirus.
Two resident who tested positive have died.
The facility has 149 beds with about 130 residents.
In a press release, the nursing center says it is screening staff and essential medical personnel prior to entry and prohibiting visitors.
It has also created a separate observation unit where the patients can be quarantined, tested, and closely monitored for any symptoms. A separate wing has been designated for those residents who have the virus.
According to Adventist Health Memorial Hospital, in the past two weeks there has been more than a five-fold increase in hospital admissions in Lodi, with 29 people testing positive on Thursday alone.
San Joaquin County is one of the hot spots for COVID-19 due to the increasing cases which now total 3,100.
In Sonora, the Avalon Care Center reported six staff members testing positive. Residents and staff have been tested and are awaiting results. All were isolating at home.
5 p.m.: San Quentin outbreak grows
At least 1,021 inmates in custody at San Quentin prison have now tested positive for the coronavirus, plus five who have been released.
The outbreak has reportedly been tied to an inmate transfer from a Chino facility in late May.
At his Monday press briefing, Gov. Gavin Newsom said some sickened inmates are being screened for possible early release, but many do not have a safe place to go.
“That is our deep focus and area of concern right now,” Newsom said. “We are working ... through the medical screening to move people as quickly as we can, but as safely — and more importantly — responsibly as we can.”
A day after the state closed bars in seven counties, Newsom said he’s considering further restrictions, though he did not elaborate on what they are. Read more here.
Sacramento County recorded its highest single-day coronavirus count since the county began keeping records at the end of February. The county recorded 228 new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the overall numbers to 3,004.
The second-highest daily recorded case count was on June 23, which saw an increase of 131 cases. Monday’s count is nearly double this.
This comes as the state is pulling back on some of its reopening efforts. During a press briefing earlier today, Gov. Gavin Newsom recommended Sacramento, along with seven8 other counties across the state close bars. Seven counties, including Los Angeles and San Joaquin, were required to close bars by the state.
Other counties have been asked to reinstate stay-at-home orders entirely as cases continue to rise across the state. California now has over 200,000 cases of coronavirus.
Gilead Sciences says it will charge $2,340 for remdesivir, a drug shown to shorten the recovery time for COVID-19 patients.
In an open letter from company CEO and chairman Daniel O’Day, hospitals will see a savings of $12,000 per patient, with shorter hospital stays due to the drug treatment.
“Even just considering these immediate savings to the healthcare system alone, we can see the potential value that remdesivir provides,” O’Day said in the letter. “This is before we factor in the direct benefit to those patients who may have a shorter stay in the hospital. We have decided to price remdesivir well below this value.”
The AP reports federal health officials in the U.S. have allocated a limited supply to states, but that agreement with Gilead will end after September. On Monday, they secured more than 500,000 treatments for the company to start producing in July.
O’Day says the company will spend more than $1 billion on the development and production of remdesivir.
The coronavirus pandemic hit a new milestone this weekend, with confirmed deaths topping half a million around the world.
Data collected by Johns Hopkins University shows there were 10,063,319 confirmed cases and 500,108 deaths globally by Sunday afternoon.
There are more than 2.5 million confirmed cases in the United States. The countries with the next highest totals are Brazil, Russia, India and the United Kingdom.
The uptick in COVID-19 cases in California prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom and state public health officials to mandate the closure of bars in seven counties, including Los Angeles.
The mandate was issued this weekend and it requires bars to close immediately in these counties:
- Los Angeles
- San Joaquin
State officials also recommend closing bars in Contra Costa, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Ventura and Sacramento counties.
Friday, June 26
The Sacramento Kings will resume their 2019-2020 season with a game against the San Antonio Spurs in Orlando on July 31.
The team is one of 22 returning to play eight “seeding games” selected from its remaining regular season matchups. The seeding games are part of the NBA’s plan to restart the season at a single venue — the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The participating teams are the eight teams in each conference with the highest current winning percentages and the six teams that are currently within six games of the eighth seed in either conference.
“We are looking forward to this opportunity in Orlando, and getting back to playing the game we love,” Kings Head Coach Luke Walton said in a press release. “We continue to work with the NBA to prioritize health and safety, while recognizing our responsibility to use our platform to bring attention and drive sustained action to issues of racial injustice.”
The Kings games will be broadcast on NBC Sports California (NBCSCA) and Sports 1140 KHTK. You can find the Kings’ full schedule of games for the restart here, as well as more details about their pursuit of a playoff spot.
Sacramento County is back on the list of counties being monitored by the state because of concerning data about the spread of COVID-19.
The California Department of Public Health notes that the county “has experienced the possibility of increasing hospitalization.”
As of Friday, 73 Sacramento County residents were hospitalized with the virus, with 20 patients in the ICU. The hospitalization rate has continued to climb in recent weeks as more businesses have been reopened and more people have been getting together socially.
The state says that a driver of the rising hospitalizations in the county has been “community transmission due to holiday gatherings amongst large families.”
Statewide on Friday, California reported a 3.3% increase in coronavirus hospitalizations over the day before. The number of ICU patients also climbed 4.4% in one day.
Officials say California courts have started to hold jury trials and summon residents for jury service after a three-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Judicial Council of California says most counties across the state have either resumed jury trials or plan to start up again in the coming weeks. To do so, they have put in place safety measures that include staggering juror reporting times and adding extra cleaning in court buildings.
The council says some superior courts, including those in Merced, Placer and Tulare, are asking prospective jurors to report to local gymnasiums, auditoriums or other large outdoor spaces instead of the courthouse to better accommodate new precautions.
San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties have reached new highs in coronavirus hospitalizations this week.
Both counties are among 15 in the state being monitored as of Friday because of concerning data about the spread of the virus.
In San Joaquin County, 101 people are currently hospitalized — which the county dashboard indicates is way above what the county deems its manageable limit of 20 patients. In Stanislaus County, 102 are currently hospitalized as of Friday.
Statewide on Friday, California reported a 3.3% increase in coronavirus hospitalizations over the day before. The number of ICU patients also climbed 4.4% in one day.
Family gatherings and holiday get-togethers are being blamed for much of the rising numbers.
In Stockton, businesses are trying to bring back public confidence and stop the spread by signing up for Stockton’s Healthy Pledge.
Robyn Cheshire with Visit Stockton says owners post a Healthy Pledge logo outside their businesses agreeing to follow state and local guidelines to reassure their customers’ safety.
“The virus is still here, so we need to double down on sanitation, physical distancing, wearing the mask,” she said. “The Governor has made it clear that we may step back if things don’t change.”
Cheshire says more than 160 businesses have taken the pledge so far.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates at least 20 million Americans are infected with coronavirus. And they may not know it.
"Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually were 10 other infections," said CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield during a call with reporters Thursday.
At this time, 2.3 million Americans have tested positive for coronavirus infections. According to NPR, CDC researchers analyzed communitywide antibody tests and other surveillance measures and determined between 5% to 8% of the U.S. population has been exposed.
Lately, it doesn’t feel like a game of Frogger for rabbits, coyotes and other critters wandering onto highways. A new study from U.C. Davis shows fewer wild animals, including mountain lions, are ending up as roadkill during shelter-in-place orders.
Researchers used traffic and collision data collected from California, Idaho and Maine. They found that wildlife-vehicle crashes have declined by up to 56% from early March to mid-April, following government stay-at-home orders.
They estimate that if these orders continued, this could add up to 13,000 fewer animals being killed annually in those states. That would add up to less than 50 mountain lions being killed per year in California.
“There is a statistically significant decline in wildlife deaths on highways in all three states following reductions in traffic this spring,” said Fraser Shilling, director of the UC Davis Road Ecology Center, in a press release.. “This has not been the case for any of the previous five years for these three states. If anything, there is usually an increase in spring.”
Californians who need driver’s licenses could be one step closer to getting one as the Department of Motor Vehicles resumes behind-the-wheel driving tests, by appointment, on Friday.
The tests have been suspended since mid-March due to COVID-19. The department says it will automatically reschedule canceled appointments, and that new appointments for behind-the-wheel tests will not be available until those previously canceled tests are finished.
“I’m asking for everyone’s patience as we safely clear the backlog of behind-the-wheel drive test appointments,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said in a press release. “For all of those Californians who have been waiting, we know how important this is to you.”
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, there are new testing protocols including:
- All behind-the-wheel drive test applicants will be required to wear a face covering and answer screening questions before starting the exam
- Temperature checks will be added to protocols statewide in the coming weeks.
- DMV examiners will wear protective equipment: face coverings and gloves.
- DMV examiners will place plastic covers on the test vehicle’s passenger seat and floorboard.
- At least two windows need to be lowered in the vehicle during the test for increased ventilation.
Thursday, June 25
5:10 p.m.: SacRT to require masks for riders
If you want to ride public transit in the city of Sacramento, you'll need to wear a mask.
This is according to a statement released by Sacramento Regional Transit this week. Starting Monday, SacRT officers will begin to enforce a requirement that passengers wear a mask or face covering while waiting at stations and bus stops, and while riding trains and any vehicles.
The transit agency says it will first focus on educating riders. But if a passenger refuses to wear a mask, they will not be allowed to ride.
A group of people fed up with California’s slow progress getting unemployment benefits out to those in need are planning a protest outside the state’s employment agency on Friday.
The demonstration by Californians United for Unemployment Benefits is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the Employment Development Department building in downtown Sacramento at 722 Capitol Mall, according to the group’s Facebook page.
The group describes itself as: “Frustrated. Confused. Left behind. Millions of Californians have been unable to receive assistance and/or communicate with the Employment Development Department. Let's stand together to get the help we need!”
Many Californians have struggled to navigate EDD’s online benefit application instructions and waited weeks or months to receive benefits.
Another 287,354 Californians filed first-time unemployment claims during the week ending June 20, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. That’s up 45,000 claims from the week before.
That figure is down significantly from weekly jobless claims in March and early April when businesses statewide shut down due to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
But the number is still worrisome, Michael Bernick, a former director of the EDD and current fellow with the Milken Institute, wrote in an email.
“The re-openings so far are not bringing back jobs in any significant numbers. In fact, the opposite is occurring: layoffs are increasing,” he said.
Those concerns were echoed by the Center for Jobs and the Economy, which conducts research on economic trends.
After reviewing today’s Labor Department figures for California, the group said in a press release that “most layoffs continue to be temporary but an increasing percentage is now shifting to permanent, an indication that the recovery period will face additional difficulties in returning to previous job and employment levels.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a new order Wednesday, making face coverings mandatory in public places. This latest in efforts to contain rising coronavirus cases after casinos, restaurants and other businesses started reopening earlier this month.
The new order goes into effect Friday.
Nevada has reported more than 14,300 cases and 494 deaths from COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. It joins several states, including California, Washington and North Carolina in mandating face coverings.
Gov. Gavin Newsom says he can withhold billions of dollars in the upcoming state budget from local governments who fail to enforce the mandatory face covering order along with testing and other measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
“We give enormous power and control and authority to local governments and what we’re looking for now is accountability at the local level,” Newsom said during a news conference Wednesday. “The $2.5 billion in that budget is conditioned on counties meeting their criteria under the emergency declaration related to COVID-19.”
The funding threat comes as California sees a surge in cases and hospitalizations. On Tuesday, the state saw its largest single-day increase with 7,149 positive coronavirus cases.
“We talk a lot about accountability. We believe, the legislature leadership certainly concurred, that we cannot support bad behavior but we want to encourage and reward good behavior,” Newsom said.
The governor’s message to counties who decide to dismiss new rules and regulations:
“We’re going to attach some considerations and consequences to that. The $2.5 billion in this budget simply will not flow to those counties that do that.”
The Labor Department saw a dip in the number of laid-off workers applying for unemployment benefits and the U.S. economy shrank in the first quarter of the year, showing more evidence of the economic fallout from the pandemic.
The AP reports the economy is expected to shrink at a roughly 30% annual rate in the current quarter, from April to June. The Commerce Department reports there was a 5% decline in the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services during the first quarter of 2020, which includes the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.
The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits declined slightly to 1.48 million last week. Overall, applications for jobless aid have declined just 5% in the past two weeks, which is a much slower rate of improvement compared to April and May.
Wednesday, June 24
Sacramento Kings player Jabari Parker has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the team.
The team announced Wednesday that Parker received a positive test several days ago and is now self-isolating in Chicago.
The Kings are scheduled to restart the NBA next month in Orlando. Nearly two dozen NBA teams will convene in that city to finish out the season and start the playoffs.
California agriculture has already lost billions of dollars this year and will suffer billions more due to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a new study.
Disrupted markets and rising production costs due to the pandemic have caused huge financial impacts both in retail demand and the costs of production. An economic study commissioned by the California Farm Bureau shows those losses could go up to $8.6 billion by year’s end.
The pandemic has created higher operating costs to ensure that companies “operate their business in a safe way and protect their employees’ health and the health of their consumers,” said Chris Zanobini, president of Ag Association Management Services which works with 30 different farm agencies.
Some key markets were lost because of the pandemic, such as milk in schools, with dairies being the hardest hit. However, some crops have seen increased business activity, such as shelf items which include rice, processed tomato products, and canned fruit.
Nevada County, which saw zero new coronavirus cases during the entire month of May, has had about 50 new cases so far this month. That brings the total number since the pandemic began to just over 90.
Ryan Gruver, who heads Nevada County's Department of Health and Human Services, says younger people are being affected.
"We have always had 18 to 49 as sort of our largest category but this recent spate of cases includes eight children," he said.
The spread of COVID-19 isn't the only worry for Gruver. Fireworks and fire danger too as we get closer to the Fourth of July.
"Personal fireworks aren't allowed in Nevada County and parts of neighboring Placer County as well due to the extreme fire danger," Gruver said. "Obviously there are concerns with shelter in place that more people will be looking to enjoy fireworks at home."
He says Nevada County officials are currently talking about having the annual fireworks display in Grass Valley so that people don't try to have their own fireworks parties in their backyards.
As states continue to reopen their economies, the New York Times reports the U.S. saw its highest single-day coronavirus case total since late April on Tuesday.
According to the paper’s database, more than 35,000 new coronavirus cases were identified across the United States on Tuesday.
This also marks the third-highest total of any day of the pandemic.
Another sign of the spread of the virus is the increase in hospitalizations. Texas has more than doubled the number of patients in hospitals to more than 4,000. On Monday, the state of Arizona saw its highest number of hospitalizations. California also reached its highest hospitalization level earlier this week.
Major League Baseball and the union representing professional ball players have reached an agreement to play a shortened season this year.
The MLB Players Association made the announcement on Twitter.
“All remaining issues have been resolved and Players are reporting to training camps,” the association tweeted.
In a news release, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said players will report to spring training on July 1. The other changes for the 2020 season include:
- The regular season is set to begin either on July 23 or 24.
- Teams will play just 60 games, instead of a typical 162-game regular season.
- There will be no fans in the stands for the beginning of the season.
Major League Baseball stopped spring training two weeks before opening day because of the pandemic. At least 40 MLB players and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week.
7:18 a.m.: Yosemite delays reopening some campgrounds
Yosemite National Park says it will hold off on reopening some campgrounds through the month of July after a spike in coronavirus cases in the state.
Park officials began reopening some campgrounds earlier this month after being closed for nearly three months because of the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the park’s website, only Wawona Horse Campground and Upper Pines Campground (at 50% capacity) are currently open for the summer season.
Park officials said Tuesday that reservations with arrival dates between now and July 31 have been canceled for several other campgrounds, including Bridalveil Horse Camp and Crane Flat.
The park had already reduced the number of visitors admitted to about half those that normally visit this time of year.
Tuesday, June 23
Unemployed Californians are still having trouble accessing benefits and getting answers from the Employment Development Department, and they’re letting state lawmakers know.
“My office has gotten a crushing number of calls and emails from constituents," said Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu. "We’re at wit’s end, the public is at wit’s end. And I know every other Legislative office is dealing with the same issue."
He acknowledges EDD is facing an unprecedented wave of unemployment claims, but warns the Legislature will have to take action if the department continues to struggle, though he did not specify what those repercussions may be.
The EDD says it is in the process of hiring nearly 5,000 additional staffers to handle the increased demand. The department has processed over 6 million unemployment applications since March and has paid out roughly $30 billion in benefits.
Sacramento County reported 131 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on June 23, the highest one-day increase the county has reported since the pandemic began.
COVID-19 cases in Sacramento County have been on the rise this month, after the county reported what was then it’s largest one- day jump in cases since April on June 17 with 67 new cases.
As of June 23, the county’s highest single-day jumps in reported cases have now all been in the past seven days, with the second highest increase being on June 20 with 93 new cases and the third highest being on June 21 with 91 new cases.
As COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise as well in counties across Californians, public health officials are urging residents to stop private social gatherings, practice social distancing and wear face coverings to slow the spread.
7:36 a.m.: Study: People drinking less during pandemic
During the coronavirus pandemic, people are not reaching for another round of beer, wine or cocktails, according to drink market research group IWSR.
Even though numbers show there are more people buying alcohol from grocers and liquor stores to enjoy at home, there is still a huge hole created by declines in shipments to restaurants, bars and sporting venues that were closed due to stay-at-home orders.
According to IWSR, global alcohol consumption will not return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024, and the U.S. recovery will take even longer.
New data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows Black Americans enrolled in Medicare were hospitalized with COVID-19 at rates nearly four times higher than their white counterparts.
The data shows disparities were also significant among Hispanics and Asian Americans.
- Hispanics were more than twice as likely to be hospitalized as whites
- Asian Americans were about 50% more likely to be hospitalized as whites
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said Black and Hispanic beneficiaries were more likely to test positive for the coronavirus as well.
“The data confirms long understood and stubbornly persistent disparities in health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority groups," Verma said in a press briefing Monday.
She added: "Low socioeconomic status itself, all too often wrapped up with the racial disparities I just mentioned, represents a powerful predictor of complications from COVID-19.”
Monday, June 22
Merced has come up with a number of ways to help its citizens in the time of COVID-19.
The city has already provided a half-million dollars in loans to small businesses, $50 dollars in credit towards water and sewer bills, and money towards housing assistance. Now comes a $25 gift card to help residents and businesses.
The Central Valley Opportunity Fund put up $250,000 and the city matched that amount to provide 20,000 households with gift cards.
Mayor Mike Murphy says those cards can be redeemed at businesses within the city limits and which have fewer than 100 employees.
“We also really see this as an economic stimulus to get people back into the shops in downtown and realizing why those shops are so important to our local economy," Murphy said.
People will receive a letter with a code to tell them how they can redeem their gift card.
Growing data show that communities of color are being hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19.
On "Insight with Beth Ruyak" Monday, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs said those rates are connected to societal issues impacted by a history of systemic racism.
"So because of lack of access to grocery stores, lack of faith of environment because of environmental injustice, African American communities, and other communities of color, have high rates of diabetes and other core morbidities and asthma because they are more likely to live next to freeways which have a lot of toxins in the air," Tubbs said.
Nevada City Mayor Reinette Senum told Facebook followers that they do not have to wear a mask, despite Gov. Gavin Newsom statewide order that made them mandatory last Thursday.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, she wrote that officers cannot cite people for not wearing a mask because there are no laws on the books.
“As you go about your day today, know there is no law that orders you to wear a mask. Our Governor does noy have that unilateral power to make such orders,” Senum said on Facebook.
The Union reports Nevada City Police Department issued a statement on Facebook, urging the community to continue practicing social distance measures and to follow the governor’s order to wear face masks.
The department also shared a statement from Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, who said it would be inappropriate for law enforcement agencies to criminally enforce the governor's mandate because of the minor nature of the offense and the potential for negative outcomes during enforcement.
“Rather, we will continue to operate in an educational capacity in partnership with the county health office,” said Nevada Police on Facebook.
Nevada reported 445 additional new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.
This marks the second straight day the state recorded its largest single-day jump in new cases since the start of the pandemic.
The state now has 12,931 cases with 486 deaths, including eight reported Saturday.
The number of daily new cases has climbed as Nevada has expanded testing capacity and reopened casinos, restaurants and other businesses in a limited fashion.
Former California governors from both sides of the aisle joined Gov. Gavin Newsom for a “Wear a Mask” video campaign, aimed at driving home the message that face coverings are critical in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
The video features Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Brown along with Republicans Gray Davis and Pete Wilson.
“Look, nobody wants to wear these things,” said former Gov. Jerry Brown, as he wore a face mask of his own.
The former state leaders offered a reality check on the pandemic.
“It didn’t go away just because your mall is open at 50% capacity,” said former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Online video news company ATTN and the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom produced the public service announcement.
"Science shows that face coverings and masks work,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “They are critical to keeping those around you safe, keeping businesses open and restarting our economy."
Saturday, June 20
On Saturday morning Sacramento County reported 93 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 2,069.
It’s the largest single-day increase in cases reported in the county since the start of the pandemic. The county reported 90 new cases between March 31 and April 1.
The county has attributed recent increases in positive cases mostly to private gatherings. Increased testing could also result in higher case counts.
Sacramento County is encouraging anyone who has gathered with people outside their household — whether during a protest, graduation or other event — to get tested at a free test site or through a healthcare provider.
No new deaths were reported Saturday, with the total number in Sacramento County remaining at 67.
Friday, June 19
In some parts of the country, more young people are testing positive for the coronavirus.
NPR reports that a growing number of cities and states are seeing more cases among 20- and 30-year-olds as regions continue to move forward with reopening.
The demographic shift can be seen in regions from Washington state and California to Florida and Texas.
Public health experts say the increases could be explained by increased testing, or because young people may believe that they are at less risk of illness and feel more comfortable resuming normal activities.
State and local leaders have begun pointing out the trend, and public health experts are looking for new ways to communicate risks to young people.
Sacramento County nail salons, tattoo parlors and other personal care services are allowed to reopen as of Friday under the county’s updated stay-at-home order.
The latest update to the order, which was initially put in place three months ago, follows state guidelines also effective Friday that allow more personal care services to resume statewide.
Other businesses now allowed to open in Sacramento County include massage therapists, waxing salons, body artists and piercing shops.
The state of Nevada is reporting its largest single-day coronavirus case increase since the start of the pandemic.
The state’s COVID-19 dashboard, updated Friday morning, shows 410 new cases over the preceding day.
The previous record was on Monday with 379 new cases.
The rise is prompting Gov. Steve Sisolak to consider implementing stricter measures to contain the spread, including a statewide mask mandate.
California announced new guidelines requiring residents to wear masks in public on Thursday.
Customers will see major changes Friday for manicures, pedicures and getting some ink done.
Personal care services such as nail salons and tattoo parlors are allowed to reopen in California Friday, under guidelines released by the state department of public health.
Those guidelines include:
Temperature checks for staff and customers
Staff wearing disposable gloves for services that require them.
No additional friends or family allowed in businesses, except for a parent or guardian accompanying a minor.
Chair seats may be covered with plastic or disposable liners
A new whistleblower complaint claims the Transportation Security Administration withheld N-95 masks and mismanaged its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
TSA Federal Security Director Jay Brainard told NPR the leadership of his agency failed to protect its staff from the virus. He says that allowed TSA employees to become "a significant carrier" for the spread of coronavirus to airport travelers.
An independent federal agency that handles whistleblower complaints ordered Homeland Security to open an investigation because it said it found "substantial likelihood of wrongdoing" in the complaint.
7:14 a.m. : Washoe County suspends COVID-19 testing
Washoe County has temporarily suspended COVID-19 testing of most people with no symptoms because of a backlog of test samples at the state lab.
The backlog was caused in part by increased testing of inmates at state institutions.
According to the county health department, there are 2,106 cases, 71 patients in the hospital and 72 deaths.
Thursday, June 18
Although many universities, including Sacramento State, don’t plan to have on-class instruction any time this year, UC Davis announced on Thursday it’s planning to welcome students back to campus for classroom instruction this fall.
“The benefits of a residential education go beyond classes and instruction,” Chancellor Gary S. May wrote in a statement. “We look forward to providing that experience for our students — all in keeping with the guidance of our health authorities.”
The university says it hopes to offer a mix of on-site instruction and remote learning, but that it will depend on guidelines from state and county public-health officials.
Classroom instruction could look very different. In-person classes will be in larger classrooms, the university says, and other modifications could include fewer people living in on-campus housing and the discontinuation of some services.
UC Davis says it will monitor public-health developments as it plans for students’ return.
7:50 a.m.: 1.5 million Americans file for unemployment
Another 1.5 million people filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, but the number who continue to seek the payments fell as states continue to reopen and workers return to their jobs.
The Labor Department announced continued claims dipped by 62,000 to 20.5 million.
The new numbers released Thursday marked the 11th straight weekly decline in applications since the pandemic shut down the economy and caused tens of millions of layoffs.
Mandatory face coverings will become a reality for Stanislaus County starting Monday.
County Supervisor Kristin Olsen made the announcement on Facebook Wednesday during a daily briefing for the county’s Office of Emergency Services.
She says more details on the face covering order will be released Friday.
“I know the idea of mandatory face coverings is difficult news for many people in our community. I don’t like wearing one myself,” Olsen said in the Facebook video. “If this was nanny government policy to protect me from myself, I wouldn’t support it. But that is not what this is. Face coverings are to protect other people from you. Wearing face coverings is about protecting our neighbors, our family members and our friends. And they will allow public health to open more businesses and activities in our county.”
Stanislaus County is on the state’s watch list for having a growing number of COVID-19 cases. The data shows the increase in outbreaks related to family gatherings and businesses reopening.
As of Wednesday, the county recorded 1,322 positive cases and 35 deaths.
“Despite rumors to the contrary, the scientific and public healthy community at the state, local, federal and worldwide levels are in agreement about the benefits of face coverings,” said Olsen. “Both the CDC and WHO say they are an important tool for reducing the spread of COVID-19, and to be worn out in public and visiting places like grocery stores and other businesses.”
Wednesday, June 17
The number of COVID-19 cases are climbing again in Nevada, prompting officials to halt the state’s phased reopening plan.
Nevada saw its highest ever number of new COVID-19 cases on Monday, when state officials announced 379 positive tests.
Meanwhile, businesses have been allowed to open their doors again under phase two of the state’s plan, including casinos.
Since then, there have been numerous reports of visitors not following physical distancing protocols or wearing masks on the gaming floor.
Washoe County Health Officer Kevin Dick says for now, it’s up to casinos themselves to enforce guidelines.
"We’re encouraging the property owners to require customers to wear masks," Dick said. "They clearly have the authority to do that."
Dick also says if the situation doesn’t improve, public health officials could step in to mandate stricter measures in the future.
The farmers’ market is returning to the Capitol Mall in downtown Sacramento Thursday with new safety protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The market is starting up about six weeks later than normal, according to Emilie Cameron with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership.
“Traditionally the market kicks off in early May,” she said. “As we’ve evaluated downtown office employee counts as well as who’s open, [we] really wanted to make sure that the farmers had an opportunity to serve customers and [we’re] reaching the point now where there’s that happy medium.”
Sampling of food at the market will be suspended due to COVID-19 concerns, and shoppers are being asked to wear a face covering, practice social distancing and touch only what they’re buying.
The market is at 6th Street and Capitol Mall, and runs Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
After months of being closed due to the coronavirus, Cinemark, one of the world’s largest movie theater companies, announced a phased reopening today.
Cinemark says it will reopen three of it’s Sacramento theaters — Century 16 Greenback, Century Laguna 16 and Century Arden 14 — on July 3. Other Century theaters in Roseville, Folsom and downtown Sacramento will open a week later on July 10.
The theaters will open with showings of old favorites like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Goonies and Ghostbusters. Later this summer, they plan to release new films.
Theater employees will wear masks and gloves, each auditorium will be disinfected every morning and show times will be staggered to maximize physical distancing, according to Cinemark.
Meanwhile, the Tower Theatre in Sacramento is expected to reopen on July 1, and Regal Cinemas in Natomas, Laguna and Delta Shores are set to reopen July 10.
Data compiled by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia shows new COVID-19 hot spots are popping up along interstates in California, Arizona and the Carolinas.
Newsweek reports these hot spots can be found along Interstate 5 and Interstate 10 which connects Santa Monica to Jacksonville, Florida.
Researchers used cell phone GPS data to calculate travel to non-essential businesses.
7:40 a.m.: Cows help produce COVID-19 treatments
Cows injected with genes from the human immune system could make antibodies that may help people fight the coronavirus.
SAB Biotherapeutics CEO Eddie Sullivan says these cows are injected with what essentially amounts to a coronavirus vaccine that will then cause them to try to fight off what the body sees as an infection.
The goal is to "produce a specifically targeted high-neutralizing antibody that can be used in patients," said Sullivan.
In what appears to be a side effect of the pandemic, Sacramento County officials say they’ve seen a significant decline in reports of child abuse.
The Child Protective Services hotline has seen a decrease in tips by nearly 50% in April and May, compared to the period last year.
The head of the county’s Department of Child, Family and Adult Services, Michelle Callejas, attributes the decline to one major factor: “Fewer eyes on kids.”
Children haven’t been going to the usual places where abuse allegations are reported from, like schools and day care centers, during the state's stay-at-home order.
Tuesday, June 16
The anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone, used for decades to treat arthritis and asthma, appears to reduce virus-related deaths when given to COVID-19 patients.
The drug was studied as part of a large clinical trial — known as RECOVERY, or Randomized Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy — in the United Kingdom. During the trial 2,104 patients received dexamethasone once a day for 10 days, compared with 4,321 patients who received the usual care alone.
"Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19," said Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford and one of the chief investigators for the trial.
"This is an extremely welcome result," he said.. " The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so dexamethasone should now become standard of care in these patients. Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide."
Details of the study have not been released.
The Center for Sacramento History is asking residents to contribute stories and artifacts related to the coronavirus to document life in the region during the pandemic
The center is looking for digital photos, videos and audio recordings. They plan to accept physical objects after social distancing requirements are lifted. Digital items and stories can be submitted using this form.
Anyone living in the city or county of Sacramento can participate. The project is especially focused on the experiences of teachers, students, city and county workers, health care workers, small business owners and historically underserved communities, according to the center.
“We have so much information and avenues to collect coronavirus stories, but we want to make sure this program focuses on Sacramento’s point of view,” Marcia Eymann, the Center’s manager, wrote in a press release. “It is the community’s reactions and thoughts that makes it personalized. We want people to share a day in the life so that future generations are able to look back in detail on this time in history.”
Archivists expect to be collecting items for about the next year.
Two inmates at a San Bernardino County prison have died from what appears to be COVID-19 complications.
The AP reports both men were at the California Institution for Men in Chino.
According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, there have been 17 COVID-19 related inmate deaths. Across the state, 2,460 inmates have active cases.
The city of Sacramento took a survey of commercial landlords and tenants about who is paying the rent during the pandemic.
More than four out of five tenants who responded to the survey in May said they had difficulty paying rent that month.
A third of those surveyed — mostly retail and restaurant owners — say they couldn’t pay rent.
Majority of respondents say they will have difficulty paying the monthly rent in June and going forward.
13% say they plan on closing their businesses permanently.
Less than half of landlords in the survey say they will not have problems with paying their mortgage. But only one in five landlords responded that their tenants paid all of their rent.
The city of Sacramento passed eviction moratoriums for commercial and residential tenants in March. The emergency ordinance was extended by the state until July 28.
Monday, June 15
After a spike in hospitalizations landed Sacramento County on a state watch list for increased COVID-19 activity, the county is no longer listed on the California Department of Public Health’s website as one being monitored.
San Joaquin County remains on the list, and is being monitored for an increase in hospitalizations and limited hospital capacity. Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties are also on the list of counties with concerns over elevated transmission or rising hospitalizations.
See the number of new cases each day in every California county on our COVID-19 tracker here.
7:51 a.m.: State records more than 5,000 deaths
As California continues to reopen the economy, the state has recorded 5,063 COVID-19 deaths.
The state Department of Public Health announced Sunday there were 148,855 coronavirus cases and 3,092 patients in the hospital.
Local health departments have reported 12,173 cases in health care workers and 73 deaths of health care workers across the state.
As of last Friday, more than 2 million tests have been conducted.
6:50 a.m.: Film projects resume in Sacramento
The county health department allowed the city of Sacramento to resume film projects as long as they follow health and safety guidelines.
The guidelines for filming were developed by a safety committee task force and unions.
“Taking the recommendations from the task force, the city is confident production teams will be able to implement the recommended safety procedures to protect the safety of the public, crew and actors,” said Sacramento Film Commissioner Jennifer West.
The new rules include:
Film projects must remain small and not exceed more than 20 people. This includes the actors, director and film production team members.
Require all personnel who are not being filmed to wear masks or other protective equipment.
Make hand sanitizer or hand washing stations readily available.
Be able to maintain physical distancing of up to six feet whenever possible.
Verify that all personnel are not feeling sick prior to production and conduct temperature checks.
Only allow actors to remove masks while filming.
Saturday, June 13
The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region has launched a new online map where you can find out which campgrounds, picnic areas and other recreation sites in California’s national forests are open.
The map shows the status of recreation sites throughout the state, some of which remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Forest Service reminds visitors to practice self-sufficiency, maintain social distance and not gather in large groups. They also continue to discourage people from traveling long distances to recreate.
Friday, June 12
Nail salons, tattoo and piercing shops and skin care services can begin reopening as soon as Friday, June 19. The California Department of Public Health released new guidelines for the industries, some of which require touching a client’s body or face.
They can only reopen in counties that meet certain benchmarks set by the state, though all but Imperial and a handful of Bay Area counties have met the requirements.
The services are among the last to resume operations since the statewide stay-at-home order was issued on March 19. Skating rinks, live theater, concerts and amusement parks are not permitted to open, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has said crowded events will likely not resume until there is a vaccine or herd immunity from the coronavirus.
The guidelines for personal services came out the same day the state allowed bars, gyms, movie theaters and museums to reopen with sanitation and distancing measures.
Restaurants in Sacramento are hustling to add more outdoor seating during the pandemic, and the city has announced a grant program to help make the transition more affordable.
The program is called "Farm to Fork Al Fresco," a merging of the city's much touted farm-to-table food scene and the Italian word for open-air dining.
The goal is to move more restaurant customers outdoors, where medical experts say there's a lower risk of transmitting the coronavirus.
The city is offering grants of up to $3,000 for restaurants anywhere in the city.
It would reimburse independent or locally owned franchise restaurants for expenses, which could include things like umbrellas and new lighting.
The city has a million dollars in federal stimulus funding for the program, and the deadline to apply is July 15.
1:20 p.m.: Sacramento Zoo to reopen Monday
You can visit the Sacramento Zoo again starting Monday June 15, but you'll need to make reservations.
The zoo closed to the public three months ago because of the coronavirus and government-mandated shutdown orders. It's home to about 500 animals, and Executive Director Jason Jacobs says a lot of them noticed there weren't a lot of people around over the past few months.
"Since we've been closed, they're very curious and give you more attention when you walk around," Jacobs said.
To gear up for reopening, Jacobs says the zoo has made several changes intended to limit attendance to help with social-distancing.
"The most important change is that you have to plan your visit, you just can't spontaneously show up anymore. We're doing this because we've limited the number of people who can be in the zoo at any one time."
That means you'll need to reserve and buy tickets online. Physical distancing signage will be placed throughout the zoo, face coverings are strongly recommended and there's a new paperless system in place, both for transactions and zoo maps.
Some attractions will be closed to help with social distancing, including the Reptile House and playground.
Orange County's interim health officer relaxed the county’s face covering requirement for residents in public.
Dr. Clayton Chau changed the order Thursday to say people should wear face coverings outside their home when they can’t physically distance themselves by at least six feet.
“This change ensures the OC Health Care Agency is acting consistently with our partners at the California Department of Public Health and is based on Orange County’s measures against state-mandated COVID-19 metrics,” Chau said in a press release. “I stand with public health experts and believe strongly that face coverings help slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives."
This change comes three days after the previous health officer resigned after she received threats over her order requiring face coverings as Orange County allowed more businesses to reopen. Residents have railed against the requirement at public meetings.
Similar rules are in place in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. In Riverside County masks are recommended, not required.
California counties now have the green light to allow hotels, zoos, aquariums, wine tasting rooms and museums to reopen Friday.
But guests will see changes.
Hotels will limit people lounging by pools and attractions will require masks.
Stay-at-home orders are estimated to have cost the state economy some $72 billion in expected revenue from tourism. The $145 billion industry is now trying to balance how to implement safety measures to control a pandemic without ruining the experience for visitors.
Thursday, June 11
Nevada officials confirmed that the number of new COVID-19 cases has increased in the last week.
Caleb Cage, who is in charge of the state’s COVID-19 response, says confirmed cases have been going up for six days in a row.
But Cage also said it’s not necessarily a second spike yet. He explained the increased number of cases could be a result of greater testing availability across the state.
“We’ve seen a great increase over the last two weeks in the number of community based testing operations that are going on throughout the state, as well as our capacity to analyze those specimens that are collected in community-based testing,” he said.
Nevada is nearing the end of the second phase of its reopening plan. If the number of new cases levels off, the state could see more restrictions being rolled back as soon as next week.
Nevada has recorded 10,399 positive tests for COVID-19 and the virus is blamed for 458 deaths in the state as of Thursday.
Both music festivals have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
Riverside County's public health officer signed an order Wednesday to cancel the popular events outside Palm Springs.
Health officials are concerned about a possible surge in coronavirus cases in the fall. The festivals are typically held in April but previously were postponed until October. Health officials now say they aren't "comfortable moving forward."
Cal Fire is gearing up for wildfire season. But how will the agency handle social distancing and other coronavirus restrictions in the midst of a natural disaster?
In an interview on Insight with Beth Ruyak, Cal Fire Director Thom Porter said this is a question the agency has been working through for several months.
When firefighters are deployed to a major event, they travel together and stay in base camps where they’re fed together. Porter said that his plan is to double-down on the initial attacks on wildfires, hitting every fire as soon as possible to keep them as small as possible, “so we don't have then that next piece of developing fires that require a large base camp or thousands of firefighters to congregate in order to put the fires out.”
Cal Fire is also working with the Red Cross and the state Office of Emergency Services to plan for setting up evacuation centers that follow COVID-19 restrictions when fire danger forces people from their homes.
There have only been three confirmed cases of the coronavirus among Cal Fire employees, a department of 7,000, according to Porter.
Tesla employees say there are new coronavirus cases among co-workers after Elon Musk defied Alameda County health orders and reopened its main production plant in Fremont.
Employees told the Washington Post that they found out about the cases during meetings with supervisors and they confirmed at least two cases at the seat assembly facility near the Fremont plant.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Tesla notified the Alameda County Public Health Department about the cases.
“We are working with Tesla to investigate and ensure appropriate public health measures are in place,” said Alameda County Public Health spokeswoman Neetu Balram in an e-mail to the Chronicle.
Tesla has not responded to requests for comments from media organizations.
It is not clear from employees or from the county health department on whether these workers were infected on the job or off site.
California judicial leaders delayed a decision on ending statewide emergency orders suspending foreclosures and evictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
State lawmakers meanwhile are scrambling to expand safeguards.
The courts' consideration prompted objections from housing advocates who said the move could lead to a wave of renters being forced onto the streets.
Wednesday, June 10
The California Assembly narrowly passed a proposal to allow state legislators to vote remotely during emergencies.
Lawmakers were regretting not being able to take votes during a weeks-long recess amid the pandemic. The measure approved today comes as other states and cities have relaxed rules for voting remotely.
The state Senate has until June 25 to pass the proposed constitutional amendment and place it on the November ballot, where voters will have the final say.
The Legislature stopped work for the first time in 158 years in the middle of March due to the coronavirus, before resuming committee meetings in early May.
As some areas in California report spikes in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Gavin Newsom isn’t backing down from plans to let additional businesses resume operations this weekend.
He says testing, personal protective equipment and contact-tracing efforts have ramped up significantly over the course of the state’s battle against the disease.
Compared to 90 days ago, “we’re in a completely different place to prepare for an inevitable increase,” Newsom said. “We’ve made it abundantly clear that we anticipate an increase in the total number of positive cases” as new sectors return to work.
Gyms, bars, schools, movie theaters and more are being allowed to reopen as soon as Friday with new measures to allow for social distancing and increased sanitation.
The governor made the comments Tuesday in Oakland — an area, he pointed out, that has moved at a slower pace to reopen certain parts of the economy than the rest of the state. “I respect the role of local leaders to make that decision on their own terms, based on their own conditions,” he said.
Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Fresno and other counties have been placed on a “watch list” by the California Department of Public Health for increased numbers.
Stockton City Council members rejected an emergency ordinance to require masks at stores, retail shops, and workplaces during Tuesday’s meeting.
According to state guidelines for stage 2 of reopening, San Joaquin County needs to show less than 190 coronavirus cases over a 14-day period.
Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs says the county has seen more than 300 cases in the past two weeks.
He announced the vote last night on social media.
“Every single council member voted against the mask ordinance, although our city hall and city staff follow those guidelines,” Tubbs said on Twitter. “I have serious concerns about our ability to stay open without measures to mitigate the spread, and am disappointed in council’s action tonight.”
California placed San Joaquin County on a state watch list this week after it experienced a spike of COVID-19-related hospitalizations.
The statewide emergency orders that suspend foreclosures and evictions during the coronavirus pandemic may end early.
The AP reports California’s Judicial Council is set to vote Wednesday on whether to lift the rules as California reduces stay-at-home orders that helped slow the spread of the virus.
Council members delayed all eviction cases in April.
Lawmakers and advocates say the group may be acting too soon and the vote could disproportionately harm minorities in the middle of civil unrest over police violence.
Tuesday, June 9
Yosemite will reopen with restrictions this week after being closed for more than 2 1/2 months because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Officials say the number of visitors admitted to the National Park starting Thursday will be restricted to about half those that normally visit this time of year. In addition some park facilities including campgrounds and visitor centers will remain closed or have limited access to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Yosemite had about 4.6 million visitors in 2019. The park was shut down March 20.
The health officer for Southern California's Orange County has resigned after receiving threats over her order for residents to wear face coverings when near others in public to protect against the coronavirus.
Dr. Nichole Quick left her job late Monday. An official with California's public health officers' association says Quick is the seventh senior health official in the state to leave her job since the pandemic began.
Orange County residents opposed to the mask order protested outside Quick's home and brought a banner to a public meeting that depicted her as a Nazi.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report
Stockton City Council members will consider an ordinance to require everyone to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during a special session Tuesday.
Here’s the recommendation:
It is recommended that the City Council adopt an urgency ordinance that requires all members of the public and workers to wear face coverings or masks, covering the mouth and nose, when they need to interact with others outside the home and especially in settings where many people are present to prevent inadvertently spreading COVID-19 in the City of Stockton, and calling on San Joaquin County Public Health Services to require the same measure.
On his Facebook page, Mayor Michael Tubbs said San Joaquin County is on a state watch list due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.
“I worked to bring testing here and am now proposing the wearing of masks in public so that we are able to keep opening up in a smart way,” Tubbs said on his Facebook page.
Nevada is holding its first-ever election almost entirely by mail while accommodating a new law that allows voters to register at the polls.
The goal is to keep people safe amid the pandemic.
The Secretary of State limited the number of polling places for Tuesday’s primary and sent absentee ballots to voters.
The top-ticket races include Nevada's four U.S House members who are all seeking re-election this year. Tuesday’s primary will settle who they face in November.
Monday, June 8
California's Department of Education has released a detailed how-to guide to safely reopen schools in the age of face masks and physical distancing.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond says it will serve as a road map for school districts as they prepare for the return of classes.
Thurmond says many parents have also expressed an interest in continuing online learning, which will be incorporated.
Schools throughout California have been closed since mid-March when Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order due to the pandemic.
Stockton is giving restaurants more room for social distancing by allowing seating on public sidewalks.
The city is offering temporary outdoor dining permits and relaxing its rules on signage so businesses can more easily communicate with their customers.
Lisa Whirlow with Whirlows on the Miracle Mile says many of her customers prefer the idea of eating outdoors.
“A lot of people want to sit outside. They think it’s healthier," she said. "They’re probably not going to want to sit out when it’s 100, 105, but the evenings, Stockton has nice weather for eating out and it’s a good thing for everybody.”
The city has stated that the restaurants are critical to the local economy and promised to get the no-fee permits issued as soon as possible.
Even though tasting rooms are still closed, wine lovers can again share a bottle at local wineries.
California wineries have been closed since late March.
The State’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has relaxed rules that allow winery customers to buy a bottle to enjoy outside of tasting rooms, as long as they order food to go with it.
Bokisch Vineyards manager Kristine DeBock says the Lodi winery has 100 acres and picnic tables outside that can accommodate 150 people.
The winery opened up last weekend, and she says the word was put out on social media with an instant response.
“Within two minutes our phones and emails were ringing off the hook and blowing up, so it was an absolutely positive experience for us to see that everyone missed us as much as we missed them,” said DeBock.
Not all wineries will be opening up due to size or space restrictions, but many feel it’s a step in the right direction.
Retail workers across the country are facing insults, threats and even attacks from customers upset over being told they had to comply with coronavirus restrictions in stores.
One retail store manager in Modesto has decided to fight back with a Facebook page called "Retail Life During COVID-19."
After posting a photo of her bruised and bloody face that she said she suffered after being punched by an angry shopper, Samantha Clarke quickly accumulated tens of thousands of followers. Some told her their stories of similar harassment.
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