Thursday, July 9
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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