Find an updated count of COVID-19 cases in California and by county on our tracker here.
Tuesday, November 10
An unidentified staffer working at the Yolo County Elections Office tested positive for COVID-19 this Monday.
According to a press release from the county, the staffer had minimal interactions with poll workers, but worked with other elections staff and contacted some election observers. The release also said that the coronavirus-positive patient had limited exposure to the county's Voter Assistance Centers or any county's residents and voters. A contact tracing team has been called in to notify any of those that may have been in close contact with the staffer.
In the release, Yolo County elections officials also stressed that the office has been following social distancing and disinfecting protocols. All staff and visitors are required to wear a face covering.
Since the positive COVID-19 case, the county's election office has taken a few mitigation steps, including limiting election staff to the office, communicating with Yolo County Public Health, sending possibly exposed staffers home to self-quarantine and allowing some employees to work from home.
Elections staff are still on track to meet the Dec. 3 election certification. Over 99,000 total ballots were cast in Yolo County, and over 90,000 of them were mail-in ballots.
Nevada officials reported 960 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one additional death, according to the Associated Press.
The previous three days, Nevada totaled 1,000 new cases or more. Tuesday’s cases bring the statewide totals to 110,982 cases and 1,852 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The virus’ autumn spike has not spared rural or urban communities in the state, causing the number of confirmed cases and rising positivity to flag 10 out of the 17 counties as “high risk” by health officials. These flagged counties are now required to submit mitigation plans to the state’s task force.
Despite the unrelenting surge, state health officials have not indicated that they plan to tighten statewide mandates that govern businesses, schools, or public gatherings.
Gov. Gavin Newsom urges Californians to continue social distancing and to wear masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. He’s concerned people will let their guard down after Pfizer’s announcement of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine and its efficacy rate.
“But [the vaccine] doesn’t mean it’s a substitute [for mask-wearing and social distancing], for you to say ‘Well, we can just go back to normal, let’s open everything back up, let’s all have everybody over for the holidays and let’s get Uncle Joe who I know has a heart condition, let’s get him back in with the grandkids because they haven’t seen each other in a year.’” Newsom said. “We’ve got to be careful.”
With coronavirus cases on the rise, Sacrmento and 10 other counties today slipped back in the state’s color-coded COVID-19 risk system.
U.S. health officials have allowed emergency use of the first antibody-drug to help the immune system fight COVID-19, according to the Associated Press.
On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the experimental drug from Eli Lilly for people 12 and older with mild or moderate symptoms that don’t require hospitalization. While tests are continuing, the drug does not seem to help patients with a more serious or severe case of the virus.
This antibody-drug is similar to a treatment President Donald Trump received after contracting the virus last month. The government previously reached an agreement to buy and supply much of the early production of the drug.
10:09 a.m.: Free flu shots in Yolo County Tuesday
Yolo County is offering free flu shots to residents today from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The shots will be given out at Suntree Apartments, 2033 F Street in Davis.
Residents can reserve a spot by calling (530) 666-8552. The shots are open to people aged six months and older. The county said that masks and social distancing are required. While residents can reserve a spot, walk-ins are welcome.
On Sept. 28, Gov. Gavin Newsom got a flu shot during his weekly press conference and stressing that California residents should get flu shots to help “mitigate what some have referred to as the twindemic,” which is a potential wave of COVID-19 cases and flu cases happening concurrently.
At the time, Newsom also said that this possible twindemic would be “putting stress, putting pressure on our hospital system at the same time, draining resources and impacting the quality of care all of you deserve.”
Yolo County has two more free pop-up free flu shot clinics later in the month at Shirley Rominger School and University Covenant Church. Residents can find out more information at yolocounty.org/2020flu
Monday, November 9
At his weekly live-streamed news conference Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that California has seen a sobering increase in coronavirus cases, according to the Associated Press.
The increase may be partially linked to Halloween. Some Bay Area health officers have urged their residents to quarantine for two weeks if they venture outside the region. Newsom warned Monday that the coronavirus case numbers, positivity rate, hospitalizations, and intensive care cases have all reached their highest level in months.
The state updates counties’ status in the state’s four-tier, color-coded system each week. As a result, several counties are expected to move Tuesday into more restrictive tiers that change how businesses can operate.
The coronavirus’ spread is increasing across the country, and President-elect Joe Biden is calling for coordination with states, according to the Associated Press.
Officials and public health experts said that inter-state coordination hasn’t been strong enough so far. States are also calling for help with testing and contact tracing, as well as making sure there’s enough protective gear and shoring up budgets.
Democratic state officials are welcoming a science-based approach from the president-elect. While some Republican governors aren’t ready to agree on Biden’s presidential win, some are imposing more restrictions to stem the spread of the virus.
Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, a church in rural Nevada, is headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court in a second attempt to overturn the state’s 50-person cap on attendance at religious gatherings, according to the Associated Press.
The high court denied the church’s request for an emergency injunction in July. A new petition filed Thursday asks the justices to consider the challenge of Nevada’s COVID-19 restrictions as a test case for others brought by churches across the country and arguing that their religious freedoms are being violated.
Next month, a federal appeals court has scheduled oral arguments on the church’s appeal of a U.S. judge’s ruling in Reno upholding the state policy.
On Sunday, health officials in Nevada reported 1,276 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death, according to the Associated Press.
This is the third consecutive day of at least 1,000 new reported coronavirus cases across the state. According to the Nevada State Department of Health and Human Services, the total number of cases recorded since the pandemic began is now 110,022, and the known death toll is 1,851.
Health officials reported 1,846 cases on Saturday, a record number for the second day in a row as the coronavirus outbreak intensified. Nevada also reported 1,562 new cases on Friday. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested. Studies also suggest that people can be infected with the virus and spread it without feeling sick.
Sunday, November 8
California recorded 3,593 new coronavirus cases and 10 new deaths on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 973,210. Nearly 18,000 Californians have died.
Over the past week, the state has averaged 5,351 new cases and 43 new deaths per day, according to the Los Angeles Times.
While there’s been a recent rise in cases, the Times reports that the pace of increase is milder than the rest of the United States.
The U.S. on Friday reported 126,480 new coronavirus cases, according to data released Saturday by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. It was the third consecutive day that the U.S. set a daily record, bringing the total number of infections in the country to more than 9.7 million.
Friday, November 6
The Las Vegas Raiders and coach Jon Gruden have been fined a total of $650,000 and docked a shot at a sixth-round draft pick for repeated violations of the NFL’s coronavirus protocols, according to the Associated Press.
A person familiar with the punishment said that the fine breaks down to $500,000 against the team and $150,000 against Gruden. The team was also stripped of its sixth-round draft pick because of how it handled Trent Brown’s positive coronavirus test last month.
The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because no announcement had been publically made. Yahoo first reported the punishments.
New COVID-19 cases skyrocketed this week in the U.S., breaking records for the second week in a row of staggering growth, according to NPR.
Hospitalization levels have snowballed so quickly that it’ll soon surpass the spring and summer peak rates. On Wednesday, the country recorded more than 100,000 cases in a single day. Dr. Anthony Fauci has sounded the alarm to lawmakers, previously warning that the U.S. could reach this rate if coronavirus was not driven down before winter.
On Thursday, cases hit an even higher record of more than 121,000 reported cases in a day. Cases in the U.S. are up 55% from the past two weeks ago on average. Now, the country is averaging more than 94,000 cases a day, double the amount from a month ago.
Researchers say that it’s possible that the daily case count could double again, given the current trajectory of the U.S. outbreak. The increases cannot be explained by more testing being done, with researchers saying that these are “true increases” and not tied to the testing amount.
State regulators have fined a Sparks, Nevada trucking firm more than $4,500 for violating coronavirus restrictions, according to the Associated Press.
The trucking company was a part of a Donald Trump Jr. political rally in October that drew more than 50 attendees. The Department of Business and Industry, Division of Industrial Relations, announced the OSHA enforcement action Thursday against JBP Corp. doing business as Peterbilt Truck Parts & Equipment.
The $4,554 fine cited the failure to submit a safety plan and obtain state approval for an event in excess of 50 people. Earlier this week, the state fined the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas $12,617 for COVID-19 violations.
Sacramento, Stanislaus, Placer and Yolo counties are on the verge of sliding back into the state’s most restrictive coronavirus reopening category of purple.
Yolo County Public Health Officer Dr. Amy Sisson said that if people insist on gathering for the upcoming holidays, then gatherings should be outside and kept to fewer than 16 people and not from more than three households.
“We are shifting to a more harm reduction messaging acknowledging that we need to meet people where they’re at,” Sisson said. “So our key message is — the safest thing to do is not gather, but we recognize that many people will choose to gather.”
Thursday, November 5
A rise in COVID-19 cases is causing some Northern California counties to move backward in the state’s tier system for reopening.
When the state announced the weekly tier assignments Wednesday, only Colusa County was approved to move forward through the system — from the red (substantial) tier to the lower orange (moderate tier). Two counties have to go back a step, with Shasta County moving to purple (widespread) and Plumas retreating to orange (moderate).
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said this is the first week they’ve seen only one county move forward — signaling a potential backslide for others.
“Which I think is an important reminder that the baseline transmission rates of COVID across our state are indeed going up, that it’s not just in one or two counties but it’s widespread across the state,” Ghaly said.
Other counties, including Sacramento and Yolo, could move down soon if case rates don't improve.
“We are still in the red … this week, for the case rate we actually met the criteria for the purple tier,” Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said. “If we hit the threshold for two weeks in a row, then we are at risk of reverting back to the purple tier.”
State health officials announced Wednesday that Shasta County will slip back into California's most restrictive purple tier due to widespread transmission of COVID-19 throughout the county, according to a press release from the county.
California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said it's clear that the spread is uncontrolled in Shasta County after the county reported 104 new COVID-19 cases for Sunday and Monday.
"It allows us to say, yes, now is the time to put the brakes on a little bit," Ghaly said. "Go back to purple, stabilize, work with the county to make sure they have enough testing and contacting tracing — that we understand transmission as we work to get back into a less restrictive tier in the future."
Plumas County will also be moving back, but to the orange tier, while Colusa County's improvement helps it move from the red tier to orange.
Health officials in San Francisco say that residents who travel outside of the area during the upcoming holiday season may be asked to quarantine when they return home, according to the Associated Press.
Their reasoning is to prevent a possible spike in local coronavirus cases. San Francisco officials also said on Wednesday that the quarantine would be a recommended two week period for any resident who interacts with individuals outside their households within 6 feet and without masks.
Five other Bay Area counties are also being considered to take part in the regional advisory. The proposal comes as California has seen coronavirus cases inch up recently, though the infection rate remains much lower than the country as a whole.
In places where the coronavirus pandemic is most rampant, President Donald Trump enjoyed enormous support at the polls, according to the Associated Press.
Their analysis revealed that in 376 counties with the highest number of new cases per capita, the overwhelming majority went for Trump, a rate above less severely hit areas.
Health officials across the country are taking note of the chasm in public sentiment and how to reframe their messages and updates, even as the nation grapples with record numbers of new cases.
Wednesday, November 4
Yolo County met the most restrictive COVID-19 reopening metrics for week ending Oct. 24, according to a press release from the county.
Yolo County is designated under the red, or substantial tier, one level below the most-restrictive purple tier. Officials say social gatherings are the main cause of COVID-19 cases across the county. They are urging residents to exercise personal responsibility and avoid large gatherings so the county can continue to reopen.
For a county to be pushed back into the most restrictive purple tier, it must meet those criteria for two consecutive weeks. If Yolo County continues to have an increase in cases, the county could move back into the purple tier as early as next week.
The county’s adjusted case rate rose to 7.2%, which pushes it just out of the red tier range of between 4-7%.
If the county continues to have a daily case rate of about 7% by Nov. 10, then the state will review the most recent 10 days of data, and the California Department of Public Health will have to decide whether to keep the county in the red tier or move it to the purple tier.
A return to the purple tier would mean that many local businesses would temporarily shut their indoor operations or reduce capacity.
Yolo County was initially placed in the purple tier on Aug. 31, but moved into the red tier on Sept. 29.
An employee working in Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak's Carson City office tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Associated Press.
The office has sent staff members who came in close contact with the employee home to work remotely again for a second time in a month. The staff member, who last worked in the governor's office on Thursday, received a rapid test over the weekend after developing virus symptoms.
The case's origin remains under investigation, but health officials have already determined that Sisolak wasn't in close contact with the coronavirus-positive staff member. The Democratic governor is tested routinely, and after the employee's positive result was confirmed, Gov. Sisolak tested negative for the virus on Monday.
The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus is reaching record highs in several states as people gathered over the week to vote in-person, according to the Associated Press.
While daily infections are rising in all but three states, the largest surge is most pronounced in the Midwest and Southwest. Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Colorado, and New Mexico reported record hospitalizations this week.
Nebraska’s largest hospitals started limiting elective surgeries and looked to bring in nurses from other states. Officials in Iowa and Missouri warned that bed capacity could soon be overwhelmed. The resurgence has loomed over the presidential candidates and voters, fearful about both the virus and its economic toll.
Tuesday, November 3
There are far fewer houses on the market in the Sacramento region this year compared to last — down nearly 50% according to data from Sacramento appraiser Ryan Lundquist.
He says the market has profoundly low inventory and that means it could be harder for those looking to buy a house.
"We have about 2,000 fewer listings this year compared to last year at the same time," Lundquist said. "And I think there’s no mistaking that we’ve had fewer sellers listing during the pandemic."
Lundquist says lower listings are also partially a result of people not wanting to move during a pandemic as well as migration from the Bay Area. Plus, he says recent trends show people are staying in their homes longer, on average, than they were ten years ago.
Monday, November 2
6:07 p.m.: Judge limits Newsom's powers during pandemic
A judge has preliminarily ordered California Gov. Gavin Newsom to stop issuing directives related to the coronavirus that might interfere with state law.
Sutter County Superior Court Judge Sarah Heckman tentatively ruled Monday that one of the dozens of executive orders Newsom has issued overstepped his authority. She more broadly barred him from infringing on the state Legislature. It’s the second time a judge in the same county has reached the conclusion, which runs counter to other state and federal court decisions backing the governor’s emergency powers.
Heckman’s decision will become final in 10 days. Newsom's administration says it disagrees and is evaluating its next steps
Authorities say a person who is incarcerated at the Avenal State Prison died of complications from the coronavirus on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
The person who was incarcerated died at a hospital, and the central California prison did not release their name. There have been 15,872 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state’s prison system.
Advocates say jails and prisons nationwide are prime locations for the virus to spread between staff and people who are incarcerated. Officials have released hundreds of people from their jail and prison populations across the country during the pandemic.
More than 22 million people are registered to vote in California, which is about 88% of all eligible adults. All voters got a ballot in the mail this year as part of the state’s effort to encourage people to vote remotely to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
Despite the mail-in ballots, in-person voting has started in most counties across the state. To curb the spread of COVID-19, the state Legislature allowed counties to offer fewer in-person polling places in exchange for opening them earlier, with some counties opening voting places last Friday.
Sunday, November 1
The director of California's unemployment benefits department said she will retire at the end of the year.
The announcement Friday comes after the agency has been overwhelmed by more than 15 million claims during the coronavirus pandemic. The agency has a backlog of more than 900,000 people still waiting to receive benefits. Hilliard has said the backlog won't be cleared until the end of January.
California Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Julie A. Sue praised Hilliard for helping reset the agency's culture. Republican Assemblymember Jim Patterson urged the governor to appoint a replacement from outside the agency.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom says his children are among those resuming in-person classes after months of distance learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Newsom says he believes children learn best in the classroom and his administration will support districts with personal protective gear and testing resources so they can safely reopen. Newsom has four children in private school.
His administration has approved more than 1,200 requests for waivers to allow for in-person education for elementary school students in counties where coronavirus cases remain widespread. Schools in counties where cases have declined below state-mandated thresholds can broadly reopen.
Friday, October 30
Santa Clara County has filed a lawsuit against Calvary Chapel San Jose to stop it from holding weekly indoor services, according to the Associated Press.
The suit claims that the indoor services violate coronavirus shutdown orders. County officials say that $350,000 in fines has not stopped the church from holding services with hundreds of people. On Friday, officials said they filed for an injunction on Tuesday against the church and Pastor Mike McClure.
The suit also claims that the weekly indoor church services have about 600 attendees who are not wearing masks or social distancing. McClure said he opened his church after seeing members going through mental suffering due to pandemic isolation.
San Francisco will temporarily halt next week’s reopening of additional activities and businesses because of an increase in COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations, according to the Associated Press.
On Friday, the city’s mayor said the planned reopening included expanding capacity for indoor dining at restaurants and places of worship and museums. The news comes as cases increase in California and nationally.
Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said that San Francisco’s case rate increased 25% in the last two weeks, though it remains low compared with other counties. Gov. Gavin Newsom also toured a new Southern California lab on Friday that will process thousands of tests for a lower cost.
According to the latest data from Sacramento County Public Health, 500 residents have died out of 26,018 infections related to COVID-19.
Of those 500 deaths, 234 were to people 80 years or older, and 102 deaths were people aged 70 to 79. In general, slightly more men have died than women, with 268 deaths from men vs. 232 deaths from women.
Broken down by ethnicity, white people comprised 46.7% of those deaths, or 228. Hispanic residents making up the next largest group with 23.4% of deaths, or 114.
Most of the deaths, 278, come from the city of Sacramento, followed by Elk Grove with 44 deaths.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 751,000, the lowest since March, according to the Associated Press.
While the rate is the lowest since the pandemic in the U.S. began, that figure still remains historically high and indicates that the viral pandemic is still forcing many employers to cut jobs. Rising confirmed virus cases in nearly every state, along with a cutoff in federal aid, are threatening to weaken the economy in the coming months.
As temperatures fall, restaurants and bars will likely serve fewer customers outdoors, and many potential customers may choose to stay home to avoid infection. Those trends could force employers to slash more jobs during the upcoming winter months.
President Donald Trump’s campaign rallies are among the nation’s biggest events held in defiance of coronavirus-related crowd restrictions, according to the Associated Press.
The president’s rallies regularly cram supporters together — with mask optional, and social distancing frowned upon. Public health experts say Trump is setting the wrong example at a time when greater precautions are urgently needed.
The U.S. hit a record high number of new COVID-19 infections last week — nearly 500,000. By contrast, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has shunned rallies and instead holds online and drive-in events where people honk their horns to show support. Biden calls the Trump rallies “super-spreader events.”
Thursday, October 29
Professional baseball player Justin Turner is going to be the subject of a full investigation from the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office, according to the Associated Press.
When he celebrated on the field with his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates, Turner violated coronavirus protocols after refusing instructions from security to leave the field. MLB says that his behavior puts the safety of others at risk.
The Dodgers won the World Series with a 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay in Game 6 on Tuesday night.
Turner was pulled after the seventh inning, then returned to celebrate the Dodgers’ first title since 1988. He posed without a mask for a team photo on the Globe Life Field.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pointing fingers over the failure to deliver coronavirus aid. She’s blaming Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for failing to produce answers to her demands for Democratic priorities as a part of an almost $2 trillion aid package.
A letter on Thursday morning to Mnuchin was the latest volley in a blame game over the failed talks, which have collapsed before the election.
Pelosi says remaining obstacles to an agreement include more than half a dozen big-ticket items, including a testing plan, aid to state and local governments, and jobless benefits. If the talks will continue or where they will go after the election is uncertain.
Nevada’s governor is warning residents that officials may need to roll back reopening measures if the coronavirus continues to spread at its current rate throughout the state.
Gov. Steve Sisolak said Wednesday that Nevada could protect hospitals, rescue its economy and esure children could return to classrooms if residents committed to face masks, social distancing and other steps to prevent community spread of the virus.
On Thursday, Washoe County officials will appear before the state’s response task force for an emergency meeting to talk about a record spike in the Reno-Sparks area’s caseload.
Wednesday, October 28
There's an effort to fast-track a coronavirus vaccine, but does that in itself mean we should be less likely to trust it when it arrives?
The previous record for a quickly-developed vaccine was four years, for the mumps in the 1960s. Dr. Otto Young, a professor of medicine at UCLA, says we are way ahead of that pace.
"It's rushed but not necessarily unrealistic that there could be an answer by early next year," Young said. "Again, it depends on what happens with the pandemic and how many people get infected while they're in these trials."
Four western states, including California, are creating a review board to verify any FDA-approved vaccines, instead of taking the federal government's word for it.
“I think it demonstrates that there's concern at least by these states, that there is a loss of integrity of the system."
Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that the independent review will happen regardless of who is president.
The leaseholder at a Reno airport hanger, where Vice President Mike Pence plans a rally, has signed an agreement requiring the Republican National Committee to follow all of Nevada’s COVID-19 restrictions, according to the Associated Press.
The restrictions include a 250-person cap and mandatory masks at the Thursday event. The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority provided a copy of the agreement to the Associated Press on Wednesday. It also states that the RNC must secure at least $1 million in liability insurance in addition to the lease holder’s $5 million policy to cover any damages or fines.
Nevada fined Douglas County and an airport there more than $5,500 after a September rally for President Donald Trump drew thousands of participants.
Three Western states have teamed up with California to work on the COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, according to the latest press release from Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Washington, Oregon and Nevada will work with California to independently review the safety and efficacy of any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the FDA for distribution. Last week, Newsom announced the panel would be made up of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health.
“California has led with science and data through the COVID pandemic, and when a vaccine becomes available, we will leverage our scientific expertise to verify its safety to give everyone the confidence they need to make important decisions regarding the health of their families,” said Newsom.
The three other states will identify more public health experts to join California’s workgroup. While there’s no proven vaccine for COVID-19 yet, the workgroup will review any vaccine-related to the virus. The group will verify its safety before California, Washington, Oregan and Nevada makes the vaccine available to the public.
This is also not the first time some Western states have collaborated in response to COVID-19. California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Nevada all joined in the Western States Pact back in April, where they worked together to figure out how to best fight the coronavirus pandemic and reopen their collective economies.
A dramatic surge in confirmed coronavirus cases in the Reno-Sparks area prompted an emergency meeting of the Washoe County Health District and the Nevada coronavirus task force to discuss the county’s plan to tackle the outbreak, according to the Associated Press.
The number of active cases in the northern Nevada county topped 2,000 for the first time on Tuesday. This is a 52% increase over the past two weeks. Active cases stood at 1,329 on Oct. 13.
The Washoe County Health District reported that active cases have now reached record highs for six consecutive days, from 1,516 last Thursday to 2,017 on Tuesday.
California election officials are worried about potential long lines at vote centers on Election Day, according to the Associated Press.
As most voters in the state are casting their ballots by mail, many counties have fewer in-person voting options this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ventura County had 389 polling places in the March primary but will have just 48 vote centers this weekend.
California voters have had historically high levels of voting-by-mail, and more than 72% of ballots cast in March were by mail, but that still leaves millions who could vote in person.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla is urging voters to go and vote early to avoid lines.
California has seen an uptick in coronavirus-related hospitalizations and intensive care admissions in the last 2 weeks, according to the Associated Press.
The development prompted renewed warnings yesterday from Gov. Gavin Newsom even as new cases remain well below the recent surge across much of the nation. Progress remained such that the state allowed 7 more counties to advance to fewer restrictions.
The state also named a new ethics panel to help develop standards for how an anticipated early limited supply of vaccines would be distributed.
Tuesday, October 27
The California Restaurant Association is going to bat for cash-strapped restaurant owners in the state, demanding repayment of fees and taxes paid to the government.
In a claim against the State of California and at least five counties, the CRA says nearly 70% of restaurant owners in the state are close to being evicted. The claim argues that’s due in part because they paid fees and taxes during the COVID-19 pandemic — when they were unable to make money.
Attorney Brian Kabateck, who filed the claims, says the state and counties engaged in “unjust enrichment” — collecting money for a service they didn’t provide.
"This is going to be a class action — every single one of these businesses dutifully paid their fees, and if they didn't, they would have lost the ability to do business,” Kabateck said. “They would have lost their alcohol licenses, they would have been closed. But they paid their fees on time."
The CRA argues that the same entities that collected the taxes and fees are the ones that ordered the restaurants to shut down during the pandemic. They’re asking that the taxes and fees collected while businesses were closed during the pandemic be given back to the owners.
Sacramento County will not move into the moderate (orange) COVID-19 reopening tier and will instead remain in the more restrictive substantial (red) category, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.
The county had been pushing for Sacramento to move further in its reopening timeline, using the motto “turn Sacramento orange by Halloween.” But Kim Nava, a county representative, says that even though the general public seems to be adhering to social distancing and masking guidelines, outbreaks at skilled nursing facilities are pushing Sacramento’s case rate over the state threshold.
The Asbury Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in the Arden-Arcade area currently has 48 positive cases among residents, according to the state’s skilled nursing facility dashboard. The College Oak Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Fair Oaks has 11.
California nursing homes and other congregate facilities have struggled to control cases since early in the pandemic. Experts say that has to do with a shortage of staff and a lack of disinfection protocols.
County spokesperson Brenda Bongiorno said all care facilities are required to do staff testing once a week, and if a worker tests positive, all residents are tested, too. The “response testings” have to be conducted for two consecutive weeks and show no new cases.
County officials say they’re working with these facilities to lower case numbers, and are hopeful about moving into the orange tier next week. In the orange tier, restaurants can open indoors at 50% capacity and bars that do not serve food can open outdoors.
California’s inspector general says prison officials did a poor job requiring inmates and staff to wear masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to the Associated Press.
Prisons were also found to have loosened their policies just as cases were spiking. The department said it modified its policy based on guidance from state public health officials.
On Monday, the state’s inspector general said that of the corrections departments’ more than 63,000 employees, only seven were referred for formal investigations or punishment for misconduct for ignoring face covering or physical distancing requirements.
More than 15,000 people who are incarcerated have been infected, and 76 have died as outbreaks ballooned in several state prisons.
A backlog in coronavirus testing results concealed a recent rise in Los Angeles County infections, according to the Associated Press.
On Monday, the county’s top health official blamed the problem on a computer programming glitch that she said is now fixed. She also noted that fans gathering to watch recent championship sporting events, including the Lakers and Dodgers, may have increased the spread.
Positive cases in the nation’s most populous county increased this month from an average of 940 per day to nearly 1,200 per day last week. The backlog and related processing problems led to a roller-coaster case of numbers in Los Angeles County and statewide last week.
Elk Grove Unified School District, the fifth-largest in California, hopes to welcome its youngest students back to campus next month.
Students would only be in class a couple of days a week with other lessons given online. Parents would also be allowed to keep their kids at home and continue with the current remote learning model. The district says its plan all hinges on Sacramento County moving up another spot in the state’s coronavirus tiered ranking system.
District spokesperson Xanthi Pinkerton said planning would happen quickly.
“Until Sacramento County turns orange, which we’re hoping is November 3 at the earliest … at that point and time, then we’ll be putting everything into play,” Pinkerton said. “We have two weeks to get everybody organized.”
Pre-K through third grade would return to in-person learning first, followed by the remaining elementary classes in December. Middle and high school students would report back on January 7 under the district’s tentative plan, which will be presented to the school board Wednesday morning.
The California Restaurant Association is acting on behalf of cash-strapped restaurant owners, demanding that the state and at least five counties reimburse them for fees and taxes they paid while shut down during the pandemic.
The claim was filed against the state, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and Monterey counties. It alleges that it was unfair for government officials to order restaurants to close up shop and continue to collect taxes and fees during that time.
Brian Kabateck is an attorney working with the CRA, trying to get those taxes and fees reimbursed.
"This is going to be a class action — every single one of these businesses dutifully paid their fees, and if they didn't, they would have lost the ability to do business," Kabateck said. "They would have lost their alcohol licenses, they would have been closed, but they paid their fees on time."
While Kabateck says that close to 70% of the state's restaurant owners are at risk of eviction, partly because of this money, he admits that the claim is a bit unusual.
"It's new. It's a different theory. But at least it's not a completely invented legal theory because for years there's a theory called unjust enrichment which means you can't benefit from something where you're not providing a service," Kabateck said. "And here, the government's collecting money for a service that they're not actually providing."
A recent survey of restaurant owners by the CRA showed that only 41% of owners said they could remain viable under 50% capacity restriction.
Monday, October 26
College enrollment numbers are mixed as the pandemic continues to keep campuses closed and classes online.
Hardest hit by the pandemic are community colleges where enrollment is down.
"We're very concerned about it, particularly as it relates to any loss of enrollment for our most vulnerable student populations," said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of California's Community Colleges. "We'll have more data come November, but right now we're probably looking at around a 5% to 7% decrease in enrollment thus far."
And that's the trend nationwide for community colleges, according to numbers from the National Student Clearing House. Analysts say it may be because students want the in-person classroom experience and don't want to pay for online courses.
It's a different story for four-year colleges, however. Nationwide, the numbers are relatively unchanged.
And they're actually up for the California State University system. CSU enrolled its largest-ever student body for the fall 2020 term: 485,549 students.
"That is almost 3,600 more than last year which saw an enrollment of about 482,000 students," said Mike Uhlenkamp with CSU.
Among other things, he credits the effort campuses have been making to boost retention rates.
"So we had more students also returning year-over-year which led also to the enrollment," Uhlenkamp said.
Sacramento State says it enrolled a record number of students this fall, just over 31,500, about 350 more than last year. Meanwhile, UC Davis says it's also admitting a record number of undergraduates for fall 2020 - nearly 46,000, up 13.6 percent from a year ago.
3:08 p.m.: California passes 900,000 COVID-19 cases
California has 901,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, with 2,981 newly recorded confirmed cases on Sunday, according to the latest numbers from the California Department of Public Health.
Deaths in the state total 17,357 since the start of the pandemic.
There have been over 17 million COVID-19 tests done in the state, with an increase of 194,944 from the previous day.
According to the latest numbers, Latinx people in the state make up about 61% of all COVID-19 infections and 48% of all deaths. Latinx, African Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are dying at disproportionately higher levels. More males are also dying from COVID-19 than females, which is in line with national trends.
As of Sunday, Oct. 25, there were 43,663 confirmed positive cases in health care workers and 200 deaths statewide.
Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. are on the rise again, just as health experts had feared, according to the Associated Press.
Cases are climbing in nearly every state, despite assurances from President Donald Trump over the weekend that "we're rounding the turn, we're doing great." Average deaths per day across the country rose 10% over the past two weeks.
According to Johns Hopkins University, deaths per day have risen from 721 to nearly 794 as of Sunday. Confirmed infections per day are rising in 47 states, and fatalities are up in 34 states.
Nevada has reported more than 1,000 known additional COVID-19 cases on Saturday, while Washoe County alone reported 350 cases on Friday, according to the Associated Press.
With the additional 1,146 cases and five deaths reported by the Department of Health and Human Services, the state's totals are now 94,812 coronavirus cases, with 1,743 deaths. This is the first time since mid-August that the state has reported more than 1,000 cases.
The last time the state reported such a large number was on Aug. 14, totaling 1,099. While the average number of newly reported daily cases across the state has declined this week, Washoe County reported 350 new cases on Friday.
Statewide positivity rates, which measures community transmission, climbed to their highest levels since the start of September. On Thursday, the positivity rate of 9.6% was the highest it's been since a 9.8% rate on Sept. 2. The rate has been on the rise since dipping to 6.5% in mid-September.
The Associated Press analyzed data from Johns Hopkins University that showed increases in seven-day rolling averages for daily new cases and positivity rates from the coronavirus. Nevada officials said they may release its COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan soon.
A rising number of Sacramento-area households are experiencing or at risk for domestic violence during the pandemic. That’s according to a community survey conducted by CapRadio and Sacramento nonprofit Valley Vision.
The survey found 54% of respondents were concerned about being physically or emotionally harmed by another member of the household.
Joyce Bilyeu with the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center says abuse victims have fewer ways to escape with public health restrictions in place.
“It’s hard to get out, and the COVID has been used against victims by abusers, threatening to give it to them, threatening to give it to their kids, or bringing it home themselves," Bilyeu said.
Her organization and other local crisis centers are still open and can help people make a safety plan. She says these groups are seeing a spike in demand, and their staff is overwhelmed.
Sunday, October 25
Shasta County has been moved back to a less restrictive tier for coronavirus infections after pleading with state officials to avoid closing down businesses.
The Redding Record Searchlight reports that the county will return to the red tier for substantial virus transmission. State health officials announced last week that the county of 180,000 people would be moved to a tier for widespread virus transmission. That would have required business closures.
County officials said the state reversed course after evaluating more recent coronavirus data and seeing cases were declining.
Friday, October 23
While brothels in Nevada remain closed under state restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, rural Lyon County is allowing brothels to offer non-sexual escort services, according to the Associated Press.
The Lyon County Board of Commissioners approved the new authorization for the four brothels in the county on Oct. 15, according to reporting from the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Because the brothels must remain closed, sex workers must meet customers elsewhere for escort services authorized under the new ordinance. Brothel owner Suzette Cole told the board that over 500 people were unemployed due to the brothel closings.
1:49 p.m.: Las Vegas Raiders test negative for COVID-19
The Las Vegas Raiders’ latest batch of COVID-19 tests all came back negative, according to the Associated Press.
This allows their scheduled game against Tampa Bay on Sunday to stay on for now. The Raiders recently placed two players on the COVID-19 list following positive tests earlier in the week, and put five more players on the list because of “high risk” close contacts.
A person familiar with the tests said on the condition of anonymity that all the players tested negative in their latest results. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the league doesn’t release test results.
The latest California unemployment report shows that new unemployment claims fell to their lowest levels since the state started shutting down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Mercury News.
Last week, Californians filed 158,900 first-time unemployment claims, down from about 17,200 from the previous week. As business restrictions ease, unemployment claims may continue to fall over the coming weeks.
Despite the drop in claims, the state still is facing slow job growth. In September, the national jobless rate was 7.9%, while California’s rate was 11%. Across the country, new unemployment claims also dropped to their lowest levels since mid-March.
Nationally, 787,000 new claims were filed for the week ending on Oct. 17, around 55,000 less from the previous week. In California, claims fell to its lowest week since Mar. 21, when 186,300 jobless claims were filed statewide.
By Mar. 28, more than 1 million first-time claims were filed in the state, breaking a record for a single week total. Earlier in the year before the pandemic hit, unemployment claims were about 44,800 a week.
Los Angeles County officials have lessened the barriers for elementary schools to reopen with waivers by dropping the requirement to get a letter of support from unions and parents, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The decision to drop these requirements is likely to raise concerns with teachers and other faculty members about the possible exposure to the coronavirus. This new policy move was announced a day after L.A. County greenlit school campuses to bring on up to 25% of their enrollment to serve students with special needs, students with disabilities, and students who are learning English.
With both of these overlapping policies, hundreds of thousands of students could be sent back to school since the county has about 1.5 million K-12 students. Currently, L.A. County is still in the purple tier, the highest under the state’s coronavirus safety tier system, so general operations for all students aren’t permitted.
The elementary school waiver would apply to students in kindergarten through second grade. The county could grant waivers to allow schools to operate up through sixth grade, but health officials have said that the county isn’t ready for that step.
A large chunk of the waiver requests has come from private schools. Charter schools and nonunionized public schools have also applied. The officials planned for the waivers to go first to schools with a higher number of lower-income students, but they said getting letters of support was too tricky.
Thursday, October 22
5:52 p.m.: Yolo County limits gathering sizes
The state recently announced guidance on small group gatherings, but in a move to prevent frat parties from spreading COVID-19, Yolo County took the rules a step further by limiting gatherings to 16 people.
Jenny Tan is a spokeswoman for the county, home to U.C. Davis. She says the state limit of three households gathering for no more than two hours outdoors leaves room for a lot of people.
"So a household could also mean eight to 10 roommates are living together in [one] house," Tan said. "It could also mean a fraternity or a sorority house. So when you think about three households gathering, that could actually be a pretty large number, depending on what your household consists of."
Tan says the move is aimed at keeping the county from slipping back into the purple tier, the most restrictive, as winter arrives. Yolo County is currently in the red tier and its numbers have been on the rise thanks partly to an outbreak at Alderson Convalescent Hospital in Woodland that has left four people dead. The deaths come after 58 residents and 16 staff members tested positive. It's the second outbreak at Alderson — the first occurred in July.
Coronavirus infections have reached another record-high peak in the Reno-Sparks area, according to the Associated Press.
The Washoe County health district officer continues to raise concerns that the public gatherings size limit is too lenient. On Wednesday, the county topped the 1,500 marks for active cases, an all-time high.
The sheriff’s office also announced the jail was going under lockdown after 11 people who are incarcerated and five employees tested positive for COVID-19.
County health officer Kevin Dick says the latest surge has made being out and about riskier than just about any other time since the first local case was confirmed in March.
Five Las Vegas Raiders players have been placed on their reserve/COVID-19 list after they were determined to be in close contact with a COVID-19 positive teammate, according to the Associated Press.
The team placed four starting offensive linemen — Kolton Miller, Denzelle Good, Rodney Hudson, and Gabe Jackson, along with safety Johnathan Abram — on the reserve list because of high-risk contact with tackle Trent Brown.
The league also moved the Raiders game this week against Tampa Bay from prime time to the afternoon.
Thousands of theme park workers were sent home in March when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Now, state health officials have announced strict new rules for reopening parks, according to the Associated Press.
Parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios have been pining to reopen for months, and instead, they are now bracing for an even more prolonged shutdown. The surrounding communities are lined with hotels, restaurants, and shops to cater to tourists, but they are no longer coming.
Anaheim, home to Disneyland, has slashed its budget forecast because of the park’s prolonged closure and loss of revenue from the city’s convention center.
While the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo have been delayed a year by the coronavirus pandemic, not much attention has been paid globally to the February 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, according to the Associated Press.
The competitive season in figure skating begins this week at a watered-down Skate America in Las Vegas, after COVID-19 forced the cancellation of this year’s figure skating world championships in March. There’s also uncertainty over whether the 2021 world championships, scheduled for March 22-28 in Stockholm, will even be held, which could delay the 2022 Winter Games since the pre-Olympics worlds set up the field for the games.
Wednesday, October 21
San Quentin State Prison, one of the world’s most famous prisons, needs to cut its population to less than half of its designed capacity, according to the Associated Press.
A California appeals court has ordered state corrections officials to cut the population, citing “deliberate indifference” to the plight of the people currently incarcerated there throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, state prison officials said they are deciding whether to appeal.Otherwise, the order will force them to parole or transfer about 1,100 people serving time in the state prison north of San Francisco.
San Quentin is California’s oldest prison, and is home to its only death row. It was the site of one of the nation’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, with 28 inmate deaths and 2,200 infections.
While the rate of coronavirus infections is steadily rising in Nevada, the state officials have no plans to reimplement any restrictions to curb the virus' spread, according to the Associated Press.
Gov. Steve Sisolak said on Tuesday that the state's spike was in line with national and worldwide trends. He said he hopes not to bring back more restrictions on businesses and large public gatherings and implored residents not to succumb to "COVID fatigue."
The infection rate has been increasing since the state eased public gathering restrictions on Oct. 1. Since the caseload is high, the White House Coronavirus Task Force has since re-designated the state as a "red zone."
Fresno County’s Immanuel Schools have been ordered to pay $15,000 for defying a judge’s order to close classrooms and stop in-person teaching, according to the Associated Press.
The three-month legal battle between the private K-12 Christian school and the county and state officials went all the way up to the Fresno County Superior Court. The decision to fine the Reedley school came on Tuesday.
This judgment may be the first of its kind against a California school for violating health orders to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Several Northern California counties have moved in the coronavirus safety color tiered system, according to the SF Gate.
Butte and Napa counties both moved from the red tier to the less restrictive orange tier, allowing some more businesses to open. San Francisco County has progressed from orange to yellow, which is the least restrictive tier. San Francisco will move forward with opening offices up to 25% capacity and allow some activities like indoor dining to 50% capacity starting Nov. 3.
Shasta County has instead moved back to the purple tier, the most restrictive tier, due to a recent spike in cases.
Tuesday, October 20
It’ll be some time before California’s stadiums reopen, despite state health officials releasing new guidelines Tuesday.
Under the rules laid out by State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, outdoor arenas in counties in the state’s orange (moderate) tier will be allowed to resume operation at 20% capacity.
But that changes nothing for the San Francisco 49ers, the only major sports team currently playing in a county with those less-restrictive guidelines. Health officials in Santa Clara, home of the team’s Levi’s Stadium, said fans will not be allowed to attend games anytime soon.
Major California theme parks like Disneyland have a way to go before they can reopen.
State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly today unveiled the reopening plan for major outdoor public venues Tuesday. It allows parks with a capacity of less than 15,000 to reopen if the park's home county is in the orange tier.
Parks with larger capacities will have to wait until their county is in the least-restrictive yellow tier. Disneyland can hold about 85,000 people and is in a county that is still in the Red tier, two levels up.
The guidance states that smaller theme parks may reopen with limited capacity, each 25% or 500 people, whichever is fewer. Smaller theme parks may only open outdoor attractions, and ticket sales will be limited to visitors from the county where the theme park is located. Face masks will be required at all times, unless a person is eating or drinking.
A new study from The New School in New York City found that workers 55 and older lost their jobs sooner and were rehired slower during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Associated Press.
These workers continue to face higher job losses than their counterparts, those aged 35 to 54. From April through September, the study found that older workers' unemployment rate was 9.7% compared to 8.6% for mid-career workers. All of this was based on a six-month rolling average.
The study also said that the rate was far worse for older workers who are Black, women, or lack college degrees.
Nevada's decision to mail all active voters ballots amid the pandemic has led to historically high return rates and less early voting than in 2016, according to the Associated Press.
With more than two weeks until the election, more than twice as many Nevada voters have returned ballots by mail than in the entire 2016 election. On Monday, election officials reported that nearly 176,000 voters have returned mail-in ballots in early October, versus the less than 79,000 voters that cast absentee or in all-mail precincts in 2016.
Registered Democrats have returned ballots at higher rates than registered Republicans, who have historically preferred voting on Election Day rather than early.
While the predicted jump in coronavirus hospitalization cases in California hasn’t happened, Gov. Gavin Newsom isn’t going to change what he calls the “slow” and “stubborn” approach to reopening, according to the Associated Press.
In September, the Newsom administration warned of a possible 89% increase in hospitalizations by the end of October, but hospitalizations have dropped by 15% since then. On Monday, Newsom warned of a “decline in the rate of decline” of hospitalizations.
Newsom said he saw a slight uptick in hospitalizations across the state last week and that it’s a reminder that continued vigilance is needed.
Distance-learning is a struggle for many California families. But a pair of new polls suggest most parents don’t want to send their kids back to school yet.
A survey by the Education Trust — West shows only 35% of California parents say their child’s distance learning has been successful this fall. That’s way down from 57% at the beginning of the pandemic.
But an unrelated poll commissioned by the California Teachers Association shows only 10% want a full-on return to classrooms. Forty percent want hybrid learning and half say schools should be fully remote.
Remote education has been particularly difficult for some families. More than six months into the pandemic, majorities of Latino and low-income parents still report issues with internet and technology access.
Monday, October 19
The U.S. can now test several million people daily for COVID-19, but the boom comes with a new challenge: keeping track of the results, according to the Associated Press.
While testing sites are legally required to report their results to public health agencies, state health officials say the results from any rapid tests are going unreported. This could mean that some coronavirus infections may not be counted.
Experts say with undercounting, the situation could get worse. The government is shipping 100 million of the newest rapid tests for use in public schools, assisted living centers and other new testing sites with little training or staffing to report the results.
Skiers can expect to see a variety of changes indoors at ski lodges because of COVID-19, according to the Associated Press.
Resorts are setting up capacity limits and some reservation systems. The entire act of skiing and snowboarding outside won’t change much, considering that people generally wear masks, gloves, and naturally social-distance while speeding down the slopes.
Heavenly Ski Resort and Northstar California Resort are the first resorts scheduled to open starting Nov. 20.
Dozens of Sacramento County executives attended a meeting where a Sacramento Bee report says few people wore masks. One person has a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Sacramento County Health Director Dr. Peter Beilenson, who attended the meeting last Thursday, spoke with CapRadio's Insight Monday. He said he wore a mask through the six-hour meeting and attendees practiced social distancing, but that "a decent number were not wearing masks."
Attendees were asked to wear masks at the beginning of the meeting, Beilenson said, but many removed them over the course of the six-hour meeting. Beilenson said that 10 people who were near the person who had tested positive will now quarantine.
"And I'm gathering that there will probably be fewer meetings in-person," he said.
CapRadio teamed up with Valley Vision to conduct a second entry in our Sacramento COVID-19 Impact and Resiliency Poll.
In May, the results suggested that residents experience the pandemic differently, depending on their racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds, so Valley Vision wanted to get another update on those numbers.
Some of the findings include:
- Depending on political party, respondents either had their views change a lot or a little from recent events like protests against police brutality and COVID-19
- Concerns about safety during the pandemic varied based on race and ethnicity
- BIPOC residents are generally more concerned about getting infected with the coronavirus at their jobs
- Men and women's views on childcare during the pandemic vary greatly
- An overwhelming amount of Sacramento residents are feeling stress and anxiety, and many are feeling depressed or hopeless
- Concerns about physical and emotional harm remain high, especially for Black residents
About 110,000 Californians purchased guns during the first few months of the pandemic, according to CalMatters. A recent survey from UC Davis found that 43% of those purchases were people who did not previously own firearms.
Researchers say this increase in gun sales is partly attributable to the pandemic, as it continues to drive up anxiety and depression rates because of the downward economic spiral. These findings come amid a concerning swing upwards in gun violence and homicide rates in cities across the state.
Some other significant findings from the firearm purchasers in the data:
- 76% were concerned about lawlessness during the pandemic
- 49% were worried about “the government going too far,”
- 38% feared a government collapse
According to another recent survey, about 82% of Californians are concerned that many Americans will not respect the outcome of the general election.
Saturday, October 17
Twelve residents at Gilroy Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, a skilled nursing home, have died from COVID-19, and 75 have tested positive for the disease, according to the Associated Press.
When the infections and deaths occurred remains unclear, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Staff members have also tested positive for the coronavirus, and 53 out of the 54 infected have recovered.
These skilled nursing homes have become a hotspot for coronavirus outbreaks statewide. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 26,600 nursing home residents have tested positive, and more than 4,500 have died.
State officials reported on Friday that California has regained more than a third of the 2.6 million nonfarm jobs lost when the coronavirus pandemic hit in March and April, according to the Associated Press.
Many of the reinstated jobs belong to the leisure and hospitality sectors like restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality-related businesses that benefited from the state’s easing of coronavirus-stemming restrictions. This number accounts for half of the overall gain of 96,000 jobs in that sector.
Retail trade also bounced back due to the openings in clothing and clothing accessory stores. The California Employment Development Department reported a jobless rate of 11%, down slightly from a revised 11.2% in August.
Federal health officials are planning to get approved coronavirus shots to nursing home residents for free, with the aid of two national pharmacy chains, according to The Associated Press.
No vaccine has been yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and the distribution of these shots hinges on that happening first. Trained staff from CVS and Walgreens will deliver and administer these shots to each nursing home across the country and administer shots.
This is a voluntary program; assisted-living facilities and residential group homes can also participate if they choose. Nursing home staffers can also get the coronavirus shot if they haven’t already gotten them previously.
Needles, syringes and other necessary equipment will be included.
Friday, October 16
A new large study led by the World Health Organization found that one of the drugs President Donald Trump received during his treatment, the antiviral remdesivir, did not help hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to the Associated Press.
This contrasts with an earlier study that made the medicine a standard of care in the U.S. and many other countries. The WHO study was not as rigorous as the earlier one led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and these new results announced do not negate the previous studies.
However, they do add to concerns about how much value the expensive drug gives since none of the studies have found that it can improve survival.
California’s plan of reversing its $11 billion in budget cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic has just been squashed, according to CalMatters.
State employee salaries, higher education, and courts have been slashed, and without the infusion of federal funding, the state can expect a projected $8.7 billion budget deficit in the coming year. Lawmakers will have to choose between raising taxes or cutting services that mainly benefit low-income people.
Thursday, October 15
Trick-or-treating has been canceled this year at the Nevada governor’s mansion due to the pandemic, according to the Associated Press.
Nevada state health officials are advising people celebrating Halloween and Día de Los Muertos to avoid any large gatherings. While the governor’s mansion will be decorated, Gov. Steve Sisolak said on Wednesday that the annual festivities won’t happen.
The state noted that costume masks do not count as face coverings and issued advisories against door-to-door visits.
A new $20 million grant program was announced to help small businesses with less than 50 employees in other virus-related developments. And 700 fans will also be allowed to sit and watch a USL soccer game on Saturday in Reno.
Flu shots protect against seasonal influenza, not the coronavirus, but avoiding the flu is critical this year, according to the Associated Press.
Health officials are encouraging people to get their flu shot or nasal spray by the end of October so doctors and hospitals don’t face extra strain having to treat additional flu patients in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The illnesses have very similar early symptoms, and both require a test to tease them apart and receive the correct treatment.
Flawed studies over the years have attempted to link the flu vaccine to incr
U.S. diplomats and security officials privately warned the state of Nevada not to use donated coronavirus test kits, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press.
These kits were produced by the world’s largest genetic sequencing, BGI Group. The tests were donated by a company from the UAE that partnered with the Chinese firm. U.S. officials raised concerns about China obtaining private information from those tested with their kits.
Nevada ultimately never used any of the donated 250,000 test kits. BGI says it’s not linked to the Chinese government and does not obtain private information from tests in the U.S.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is suspending her in-person events until Monday after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for the coronavirus.
Joe Biden’s campaign said on Thursday that he had no exposure, though he and Harris spent several hours together campaigning in Arizona on Oct. 8
Both Biden and Harris have had multiple negative COVID-19 tests since then. Harris had initially been scheduled to travel Thursday to North Carolina and Friday to Ohio. On Thursday morning, the campaign told reporters that Harris’ communications director and a flight crew member tested positive after a recent trip.
Wednesday, October 14
5:45 p.m.: Beverly Hills banning trick-or-treating
The city of Beverly Hills has banned trick-or-treating this Halloween to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The action was taken in an urgency ordinance approved by the City Council Tuesday night. The ordinance bars trick-or-treaters from going house to house or from car to car, which is described as “trunk or treating.”
People also may not provide candy and other Halloween treats to any person outside their own household. People are prohibited from spraying shaving cream on others, except inside their own homes. Licensed barbers are also exempted so they may shave customers.
The city is also banning pedestrians and vehicles from certain streets.
Coronavirus cases linked to Shasta County’s Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry have doubled over the last week to 274, according to the Associated Press.
A KRCR-TV report found that the county’s officials say that these new cases are tied to the Bethel school, pushing the county to have the highest rate of new infections in California. Health officials also say the outbreak among students and staff at the Bethel school have driven the county’s recent COVID-19 spike.
A senior leader at Redding’s Bethel Church attracted attention this week for an Instagram video criticizing masks as worthless. The new uptick in cases prompted state officials last week to revert to tighter restrictions on restaurants, bars and other businesses in the county.
Professional golfer Dustin Johnson will not be participating in the CJ Cup at the Los Vegas Shadow Creek course because he tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Associated Press.
Johnson, the number one player in golf, isn’t the only professional golfer to have tested positive since the PGA Tour resumed back in June. His positive test makes him the 11th player to get the virus.
Johnson is the reigning PGA Tour player of the year after winning the FedEx Cup in early September. He has not played since a tie for sixth in the U.S. Open a month ago. He notified the tour of his symptoms, which led him to take the test.
Tuesday, October 13
Placer County is moving into the orange (moderate) tier and several Central Valley counties are moving into the red (substantial) tier, California health officials said during a COVID-19 update Tuesday.
The announcement covers the latest changes in the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” which allows local health officials to gradually reopen indoor and outdoor businesses based on their county’s case rate and the percentage of tests coming back positive.
In the moderate tier, Placer County restaurants can open indoors at 50% capacity or for a maximum of 200 people, whichever is smaller. Bars where meals aren’t provided can continue serving patrons outside. Gyms and fitness centers can open indoors at 25% capacity. Movie theatres can open indoors at 50% capacity.
Sierra County became one of just eight counties to reach the yellow (minimal) tier for areas with a positivity rate of under 2%. In those counties, bars, cardrooms, arcades, indoor playgrounds, roller skating rinks and a few other activities can open indoors at 50% capacity.
Colusa, Kern, Kings, San Benito, Stanislaus and Sutter counties will now move into the red tier.
On Tuesday the state also released new guidelines for celebrating Halloween and Día de Los Muertos. They are discouraging traditional trick-or-treating practices, and instead suggesting at-home Halloween activities. The guidelines do allow for having an outdoor meal with two other households. There are also suggestions for ways to make an outdoor or a virtual altar to honor deceased loved ones during Día de Los Muertos.
Over the weekend, California’s hospitalization rate reached its lowest in the past six months, according to The Mercury News.
There were 2,209 people hospitalized across the state on Saturday, lower than any other day except for April 1, the first day the state began tracking their hospital data. California hit its active patients peak back on July 21, with a total of 7,170 hospitalizations. Still, this rate drop is a decline of just 7.7% in the past two weeks.
The daily average of cases across the state is about 3,300 and has been at that level for about a month after another 2,454 cases were reported on Sunday. Deaths were in the single-digits, only the second time since the start of the pandemic totaling nine deaths across six counties.
Despite the drop in rates, Shasta County is one of the 15 counties in the state where the cases increased and were higher on Friday than two weeks ago. The next highest case rate is in Sonoma County, with a daily increase of 57% during the last two weeks.
It looks unlikely that the federal government will draft and pass another coronavirus stimulus package by California's Thursday deadline to reverse budget cuts, according to CalMatters.
The state cut about $11 billion, and without the extra federal funding, the state will face an estimated $8.7 budget deficit in 2021. This will twist state officials' arms to either cut more services that mainly benefit low-income people or raise taxes.
This shortfall could also exacerbate the battles between Newsom and lawmakers in the state, as they try to figure out how to best spend the federal relief money California received earlier this spring.
Federal unemployment benefits for gig workers and the state's eviction pause are both set to sunset this winter. Even if the federal government approves another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, there still may be more financial bleeding on the horizon.
8:55 a.m.: Newsom clarifies new gathering guidelines
Gov. Gavin Newsom used part of his news conference Monday to clarify new guidance about private gatherings.
On Friday, the state issued a recommendation that members of no more than three families could gather outdoors for no longer than two hours at a time. Monday, the governor said it would be a mistake to consider that a green light:
"Guidance doesn't mean 'go,'" Newsom said. " In the past we have seen when we put out guidance and we make it clear that the pace and the protocols related to seeing that guidance applied that does not mean people should just now rush back to their original form as it relates to kinds of activities we've seen in the past even modified activities. We want to caution against that."
Newsom said discussions will continue this week with the state's largest theme park operators about the safest way for them to re-open. State Health Director Dr. Mark Ghaly will make his weekly announcement about which counties are eligible to move to a less-restrictive tier Tuesday.
Monday, October 12
Tuesday, State Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly will announce which, if any, California counties will change COVID-19 restriction tiers — becoming either less or more restrictive, depending on their rates of infection.
At a news conference Monday Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged that the process is frustrating for a lot of people who are now entering their seventh month of Coronavirus-related restrictions:
"We are California," Newsom said. "And we have values and we have an approach and we have a new frame of discipline, and we're going to be stubborn in terms of keeping people's health front and center and balancing all of these commensurate challenges as it relates to getting people back to work and addressing people's isolation and stress and anxiety and getting our kids back in in-person learning and the incredible importance we place on all of that."
The governor says talks continue between his administration and the state's theme parks about the safest way to reopen. And he says guidance is coming soon on safe approaches to Halloween, Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.
Due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases at University of Nevada, Reno, the school is suspending all in-class instruction effective Nov. 30, according to the Associated Press.
School officials are also telling most students not to return to their residence halls after the Thanksgiving break. The officials plan for students to return to their dormitories for the spring semester and resume a combination of remote and in-class instruction starting Jan. 25.
During the period in between, all classes will be conducted remotely. Only students facing extenuating circumstances will be able to live on-campus. In recent weeks, one out of every nine of Washoe County’s new cases has been tied to UNR.
Nevada on Saturday reported 806 additional COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 85,399 cases and 1,659 deaths, according to the Associated Press.
The AP reviewed data from Johns Hopkins University showing that the state’s seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in Nevada rose in the past two weeks, going from 380 on Sept. 25 to 487 on Friday.
Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling average for daily deaths essentially remained level during that period.
Caleb Cage, Nevada’s COVID-19 response director, confirmed he tested positive for the virus last week after developing flu-like symptoms during the previous weekend, according to the Associated Press.
After the positive result, employees in the governor’s office started working from home. People who came in contact with Cage were also tested, including Gov. Steve Sisolak. The governor and others said they tested negative.
Nevada officials on Monday also 569 new confirmed cases and three new deaths. The state’s number of new cases and its positivity rate are higher than they were in early September.
While California’s prison system has paused educational classes, rehab programs, and religious services due to the coronavirus pandemic, prison factories have continued to churn out products, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Women at the Chino women’s prison have been stitching masks and performing other tasks for pay ranging from $0.08 to $1 an hour. According to the law, any non-disabled person who is incarcerated can be required to “perform any work deemed necessary” to keep the prison operating. Those who refuse work can be disciplined and even face a denial of parole.
The Chino women’s prison experienced a coronavirus outbreak in early May.
11:46 a.m.: Cal/OSHA on-site safety inspections drop
Cal/OSHA has conducted on-site safety inspections for only 5% of COVID-19 related complaints, according to CalMatters. Coronavirus outbreaks have affected and killed workers in various workplaces like strawberry fields, meatpacking plants, fast-food chains, and garment factories.
The 5% inspection rate is a steep decline from previous years, where Cal/OSHA conducted inspections in 25% of complaints.
Since the pandemic started, Cal/OSHA has instead been sending employers letters asking them to respond to any worker concerns, as mandated by a March executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom. Due to the lack of on-site inspections, Cal/OSHA can’t cite employers for any safety or health violations, possibly causing an underreporting in cases.
Friday, October 9
Ahead of the holiday season, the California Department of Public Health released strict new rules about private gatherings, limiting them to take place outdoors and instructing attendees to wear masks and maintain physical distance from each other.
The new guidance was released Friday evening. It replaces a public health order from September stating that gatherings were not permitted “unless otherwise specified.”
Under the guidelines, private gatherings should also be no more than two hours long and be limited to members of three separate households.
Attendees should wear masks unless eating or drinking and frequently wash their hands with soap and water. People who are sick are ordered to stay home, while those who are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 are strongly encouraged to avoid gatherings.
It also encourages the gathering host to collect names and contact information of all attendees “in case contact tracing is needed later.”
CDPH noted some counties may have stricter in-person gathering rules and encouraged residents to check with their local health department.
As of Friday, California had reported 838,606 total coronavirus cases and 16,428 deaths. The average rate of positive cases is 2.5% over a seven-day period.
Federal health administrators are telling Nevada officials that they have to rescind a statewide directive issued several days ago telling nursing homes to stop using two types of rapid coronavirus tests, according to the AP.
Nevada health officials were advising nursing homes to stop using those rapid tests because of the likelihood of false-positive results. The head of the federal Department of Health and Human Services of COVID-19 diagnostic testing said that the state is prohibited by law from imposing the ban it ordered on Oct. 2.
DHHS's head said there is "no perfect test" for the virus, and said that the value of identifying 40% of true positives is a lifesaving matter for nursing homes.
In some school districts across 20 states enrollment has dropped for kindergarten at an average of 16%, according to NPR.
While comprehensive national data isn’t available yet, NPR and member stations reporting along with other reporters across the country found that the enrollment drop affects nearly every group: urban and rural, large and small, rich and poor.
Because of the far-reaching complications of enrollment dropping, public schools are facing funding shortages next year. Generally, public schools are given funding by states on a per-pupil basis. There are two “count days” in which schools must submit an official enrollment count to the state for next year’s funding plans. The first week of October is usually the first count day in many states.
This type of system often favors schools in better- and well-off communities. These districts typically get more funding, and it leaves less well-funded districts more dependent on state aid.
Children who aren’t attending public school may be instead attending private school or child care centers that offer learning environments; however, both of these may be threatened as well.
There are some reports that some private schools have seen an increase in enrollment, especially those that offer in-person learning in a school district that’s offering only virtual or hybrid learning. Some researchers say keeping children out of pre-k and kindergarten can exacerbate inequalities for children whose families cannot afford to send them to private school.
Nevada's coronavirus task force voted Thursday to relax criteria for testing and positivity rates that counties must achieve to avoid being flagged as an "elevated risk."
State officials acknowledged progress in containing COVID-19 in the state has reversed course in recent weeks. They stressed the importance of balancing the need to gradually reopen businesses to avert economic disaster while further preventing the virus's spread.
The loosening of the criteria comes a week after lifting the 50-person cap on gatherings. Brothel owners from Storey and Nye County demanded that the state allow them to reopen.
Statewide, the rate of COVID-19 transmission has been creeping up. Gov. Gavin Newsom warned that this increase could be putting at risk the recent decline of fresh cases throughout California.
In the Bay Area, the reproduction number of the virus, which is how many people one infected person spreads the virus to, has gone up to a nearly 1-1 ratio last month, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Health officials are also concerned that there may be an uptick of 89% in coronavirus hospitalization cases from last month’s Labor Day celebrations. To many San Francisco residents, their best option is to continue to shelter in place and stay home.
New data collected by SafeGraph found that an average of roughly 11% of people in the area stay home all day, according to the company’s anonymous cell phone location data
Some residents have found themselves underwhelmed by the national coronavirus response and said there had been a lack of clear direction.
Even a vaccine might not get some to leave their homes as the pandemic has become politicized.
The app-based home-sharing platform Airbnb said that they will require all of their hosts to comply with their new enhanced cleaning procedures.
The hosts have until Nov. 20 to commit to cleaning protocols such as scrubbing floors and other surfaces with soap and water, washing linens on high heat, disinfecting high-touch items like door knobs, and ventilating rooms.
Hosts who don’t comply may be suspended or moved from Airbnb. The company also said that guests and hosts must wear masks and social distance when interacting with each other.
Thursday, October 8
California Congressman Salud Carbajal says he tested positive for the coronavirus after coming into passing contact with Utah Sen. Mike Lee.
The Santa Barbara Democrat said in a statement that he sought a test after he learned he was exposed to someone who had coronavirus. A spokesman for Carbajal says the congressman interacted with Lee in passing a couple of times last week.
A spokesman for Lee, says the two men live next door to each other in the same building in Washington, D.C. He says Lee informed Carbajal of his diagnosis as soon as it happened.
California’s Employment Development Department is in the hot seat again.
EDD halted new unemployment filings for two weeks last month in order to revamp its application system. But there’s still a backlog of over 1 million jobless Californians waiting for benefits. Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu says navigating the system is especially hard for immigrant communities.
“Individuals who don’t speak English at home face insurmountable barriers. Your agency is at risk of violating our state language access law," Chiu said. "And from what I can tell, there hasn’t been any progress in addressing the needs of individuals for whom English is not their first language.”
Department Director Sharon Hilliard says improving language access is an essential goal for EDD, but acknowledges it’s not a “quick fix."
A coronavirus outbreak at a skilled nursing facility in Watsonville has killed nine people and infected more than 60 residents and staff, according to the Associated Press.
Santa Cruz County health officials said that the outbreak at Watsonville Post Acute Center was first detected about three weeks ago. The facility is now working with the county and state to determine the cause of the outbreak and how to deal with it.
About 4,692 nursing facility residents and staff across the state have died, representing nearly a third of all California COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
California counties are required to increase their coronavirus aid outreach to minority communities before advancing to a next, less restrictive tier for COVID-19, according to the new state rules that went into effect this week.
Sacramento, San Joaquin and Yolo are among the counties that must meet the new requirements before moving tiers. All three have asked to advance to the orange tier to open up more businesses.
With the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services, Tiffany Heyer said that counties must also lower their testing positivity rates and cases per 100,000.
“To help us get into that new tier, we really need to get additional people tested,” Heyer said. “The free testing sites don’t require you having any symptoms. You still have to go through the screening process, but they’re not requiring any symptoms to get tested.”
Heyer said that many of the free testing sites had been located in underserved communities.
San Francisco and many of the foothill counties have already moved into the orange tier.
Wednesday, October 7
Shasta County will face greater restrictions as it grapples with a surge in COVID-19 cases, many of which are tied to an evangelical college, according to the Associated Press.
Over 120 students and staff have tested positive for the virus in the past two weeks at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Shasta County officials say that the outbreak was large enough to contribute to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the county, and moved them back into the “red tier.” The county will have to revert to new regulations on restaurants, bars, theaters and businesses.
The county recorded more than 500 new coronavirus cases in the past two weeks, pushing its total case number since March to 1,158. The Bethel School did not immediately return calls for comment.
So far, California has not seen a link between the reopening of K-12 schools for in-person learning and increased coronavirus transmission. The state’s top public health official Dr. Mark Ghaly said it could take time for trends to emerge, but the results so far are encouraging.
California requires counties to report COVID-19 levels and infection rates below certain thresholds before they can allow K-12 schools to broadly reopen for in-person instruction. Yesterday, 32 of the total 58 counties were eligible to open. This is an increase from 28 counties a week earlier.
The state has seen a broad decline in the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks.
Health officials in Nevada’s two largest counties say that the governor has shut them out of the pandemic decision-making process, according to the Associated Press.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal also reports that officials from the Southern Nevada Health District and the Washoe County Health District sent out a joint letter with a list of complaints to Gov. Steve Sisolak. Those health officials said that excluding them in the state’s policy discussions or development of COVID-19 plans has complicated their local responses to the pandemic.
The letter also mentions that local authorities have had to quickly shift their plans and resources in response to the governor's last-minute changes.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak will be tested for COVID-19 and work out of his Las Vegas office indefinitely after it was confirmed a staff member at his state Capitol Carson City office tested positive for the disease, according to the Associated Press.
On Tuesday, Communications director Meghin Delaney said that the staffer has no in-person contact with Gov. Sisolak since mid-September. She also noted that Sisolak departed northern Nevada on Sept. 17 to work from his LAs Vegas office, and has since then.
He was scheduled to return to Carson City next week, but his travel back plans are on hold until they get test results from all of the staffers there.
Tuesday, October 6
A lawsuit challenging Governor Gavin Newsom’s use of executive orders during the coronavirus pandemic has a court date Wednesday.
Two Republican state lawmakers argue Newsom is abusing his power during the pandemic. Their lawsuit focuses on an executive order which expanded mail-in-voting to every registered voter. The state’s Justice Department is defending Newsom and argues that since the executive order was replaced by legislation, the case is moot.
One of the plaintiffs, GOP Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, has become a vocal critic of Newsom and his strict coronavirus shutdowns.
Last week, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that state’s governor had overstepped her executive authority during the pandemic. Kiley is hoping for a similar outcome here in California.
If a superior court judge doesn’t rule in favor of either side Wednesday morning, the case will head to trial later this month.
The coronavirus has forced the cancellation of Sparks, Nevada’s annual Hometowne Christmas Parade for the very first time since the popular holiday tradition began 34 years ago, according to the Associated Press.
Sparks officials say they still plan to light the city’s Christmas tree for the holiday season, but there will be no public ceremony held at Victorian Square. While the event was once delayed for a week in 20212 because of flooding, this is the first time the event has been completely called off.
The Carson City District Attorney’s office has also been closed to the public because an undisclosed number of staff members tested positive for COVID-19.
Kamala Harris and Mike Pence will be separated by a transparent plexiglass barrier to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at Wednesday's vice presidential debate, according to the Associated Press.
The Democratic campaign requested the shield between the two candidates at their only vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City. The campaign aide was not authorized to discuss details publicly and spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
This debate comes soon after President Donald Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus, setting a heightened concern about the vice-presidential contenders' meeting. The two will be seated more than 12 feet apart, according to someone familiar with the setup.
Southern California Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship is joining a list that includes President Donald Trump and key White House contacts who contracted COVID-19 from a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden last month, according to the Associated Press.
The Riverside pastor said on Monday that he tested positive for the virus and is currently in quarantine, but that his symptoms are mild and expects to make a full recovery. A COVID-19 outbreak has sickened over a dozen Trump contacts after most attended the Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony formally announcing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
10:37 a.m.: Trump tweet angers some COVID-19 survivors
Some survivors of COVID-19 and people who have lost their loved ones to the pandemic are angry over President Donald Trump’s tweet advice not to fear the disease, according to the Associated Press.
On Monday, the president tweeted that he’s feeling great and that people shouldn’t let the fear of COVID-19 to dominate their lives. People like Seneca Nation member and New York resident Marc Papaj said it’s tough to follow through on the president’s advice when his mother, grandmother and aunt all succumbed to the virus. Papaj says his loss will, instead, forever dominate the rest of his life.
At least 210,000 Americans have died due to the virus since March of this year.
Monday, October 5
Darren Waller and several Las Vegas Raiders teammates have been fined for attending his charity event that violated COVID-19 protocols, according to the Associated Press.
A person familiar with the punishment says that Waller was fined $30,000, and nine of his teammates were docked $15,000 in pay for each of their actions at last week’s fundraiser for his foundation. This person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the league didn’t announce the punishments and fines.
NFL Network first reported the punishments.
Filipino and Filipino American nurses make up just 4% of the nursing workforce, but represent 30% of the total COVID-19 related deaths for nurses, according to The Mercury News.
In California, while about 20% of the nurse workforce identifies as Filipino, they represent 11 out of the 16 deaths due to the coronavirus, nearly 70%. Over 39,000 nurses have contracted COVID-19.
In the state, Filipino Americans total about 12% of all healthcare workers and 11% of healthcare support jobs. The group is overrepresented in lower-paid jobs in the medical field, often exposing them to higher risk positions such as working in intensive care or emergency rooms.
Often healthcare supporting jobs like assistants in nursing homes are vulnerable essential jobs with high amounts of coronavirus patients and little protective equipment to go around.
This November's election could test California's commitment to voting by mail.
While Californians have been voting by mail for years, not every county has fully embraced it. Counties like Los Angeles haven't fully adopted mail-in voting, while in March, over 75% of the ballots cast in the primary came from mail-in voting.
This year, every active registered voter will get a ballot in the mail at least 29 days before the election. State officials hope it will encourage more people to try mail-in voting to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
To get more information on mail-in voting and to preview your ballot, visit CapRadio's Election 2020 Voter Guide.
Saturday, October 3
5:46 p.m.: California passes 16,000 deaths related to COVID-19
More than 16,000 Californians have now died due to COVID-19, according to figures from the state health department.
The California Department of Public Health reported 88 new deaths related to the disease Saturday, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 16,074 as of Oct. 2. In total, the state has recorded 819,436 positive cases of COVID-19.
Latino patients have accounted for 48.5% of COVID-19 deaths in California despite making up 39% of the population. People 65 years or older are 73.5% of deaths, and men account for 57%.
Data compiled by the Los Angeles Times also showed the state crossed the figure Friday.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has delayed releasing reopening guidance for theme parks amid criticism from industry leaders on the state’s initial plans and mounting pressure to let these businesses resume.
State government spokesman Nathan Click told the Sacramento Bee that Newsom’s administration had planned to release the guidance on Friday. But following criticism of draft rules from amusement park leaders, state health officials said no announcement was immediately expected and that conversations with the industry were ongoing.
California has faced growing pressure to reopen theme parks from the industry and local officials worried about the economic impact of the pandemic on their communities.
Friday, October 2
Nevadans will be able to compete in recreational league sports again starting Saturday, after months of being shut down due to COVID-19.
Governor Steve Sisolak announced Friday that youth and adult teams will be allowed to meet again — but the new policy comes with some restrictions.
“Not all sports will be allowed under this directive,” Sisolak said. “Only minimal-contact and non-contact sports will be allowed.”
Baseball, soccer and swimming all made the cut, but not full-contact sports like football, boxing and basketball, which pose a greater threat for transmission.
Leagues will have to provide screening and temperature checks for athletes and spectators. And after a game is done, Sisolak asked everyone in attendance to leave immediately to reduce the risk of new infections.
Sisolak also appealed to non-players to demonstrate safe behavior at sporting events.
“The coaches and the parents are role models. They are not passive spectators,” he said. “If they wear masks, it’ll encourage everybody to wear their masks and I’m confident they will.”
The new policy doesn’t apply to high school or college sports, which have their own COVID-19 safety regulations.
While parts of Northern California are reopening their indoor dining, outdoor dining is still an essential way to address the restrictions while salvaging an important portion of the local economy. However, with wildfire season in full swing, the poor air quality over the region has made outdoor dining a difficult decision.
Some residents have found that they continue to eat outside, even with ashy skies.
Melissa and Tyler Williams, owners of the Ten Ten Room and Tank House BBQ and Bar, said that diners should pick restaurants they trust and give them a little slack.
“I would advise people to get out there… I feel safe,” Tyler Williams said. “I feel comfortable here and lots of other places. Just be patient and nice. You can’t go out expecting what was.”
On a less smoky Tuesday evening at Slim and Husky’s pizza, a newly opened spot in Sacramento’s Oak Park, Sahara White enjoyed her time outdoors.
“When they first opened back up …” White said. “I think just the excitement of being able to go back out and dine out in any sort of fashion was uplifting for me”
While the pandemic has damaged many businesses, some restaurants have taken to the streets and sidewalks to continue serving customers and bring a sense of normalcy.
Stockton residents who lost money in the pandemic due to loss of work, business shutdown or taking time off to care for a child may apply for a new financial support program offered by the city, even if they weren’t ever sick with COVID-19.
The city is offering the Essential Support Program through the CARES act for COVID-19 relief. Residents can apply on the city website if they have suffered losses and don’t exceed 100 of the area’s median income.
Connie Cochran with the city of Stockton said that anyone who has been a resident since Feb. 1 is eligible.
“If you’re struggling to pay for basic household needs, there’s help in this program, a thousand dollars for each eligible adult and it’s limited to 2-thousand dollars per household,” Cochoran said.
Cochran says people who applied for an earlier program for financial assistance with rent or mortgage payments are still eligible for this program as well.
California health officials have added a requirement into the state's COVID-19 reopening plan that large counties must address inequity in communities such as low-income, Black, Latino, Pacific Islander and essential workers before they can loosen restrictions.
The organization has found that these groups have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, leading to a higher infection rate, more hospitalization and deaths.
The department found that there is a significant difference in test positivities between more and less advantaged neighborhoods in most counties. These differences also overlap with race and the possibility of being an essential employee.
Counties with a population greater than 106,000 must follow an equity metric to ensure that their most disadvantaged neighborhoods don’t lag behind. Counties with less than 106,000 residents must submit a plan that defines their disproportionately affected population and show plans to invest in at least interrupting disease transmission in these populations.
Some counties welcomed the news and said it would build on efforts underway. Supporters of a more rapid reopening criticized the measure.
Thursday, October 1
The nation’s two largest school districts are rolling out expensive and determined plans to test staff and students for COVID-19, according to the Associated Press.
New York City launched its program to start testing 10% to 20% of staff and students as the last group of the district’s more than 1 million students return to in-person learning today.
The Los Angeles public school district has unveiled a similar testing program costing $150 million. They are using this testing to determine if and when it’ll be safe for brick-and-mortar teaching.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said that COVID-19 has been rising among school-aged children in the U.S. as many returned to classrooms.
Health officials across the country are telling Americans to get a flu shot this month to avoid the twin epidemic of COVID-19 and the flu, according to the Associated Press.
Europe is also encouraging its residents to get their flu shots as well. Manufacturers have produced a record number of doses, with as many as 198 million doses expected in the U.S.
Not all the vaccines will be shipped at once, and there are sporadic reports of pharmacy and clinics being temporarily out of stock.
Vaccine makers say the shipments are still coming. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that while demand may be high at the moment, don’t get frustrated if a local doctor's office or drugstore is out of stock, and keep trying.
Yolo County is offering free flu vaccines starting on Oct. 6 through Oct. 27 to help “Fight the Flu” this fall.
On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press conference update on COVID-19 that Californians should get the flu shot to help “mitigate what some have referred to as the twindemic,” which is a potential second wave of COVID-19 transmissions that happen concurrently.
Newsom said this possible twindemic would be “putting stress, putting pressure on our hospital system at the same time, draining resources and impacting the quality of care all of you deserve.”
Yolo County residents interested in getting a flu shot can either go to any of the seven currently planned locations across the county without an appointment or schedule one by calling (530) 666-8552. They can also visit their county’s website to get updated information on locations and times.
An ambitious international project to deliver a possible future coronavirus vaccine to the world’s most disadvantaged people is facing a potential shortage of money, cargo planes, refrigeration and vaccines, according to the Associated Press.
Even the recipients of the vaccines are becoming skeptical. One of the most substantial obstacles is that rich countries have locked up most of the world’s potential vaccine supply through all of 2021. Countries like the U.S. and others have refused to join the project, called Covax.
Harvard University Global Health Expert Alicia Yamin said she fears that the “window is closing” for Covax to be pulled off. She also said that developing countries “probably will not get vaccinated until 2022 or 2023.”
Wednesday, September 30
1:35 p.m.: California outdoor playgrounds can reopen
After months of being closed, outdoor playgrounds across California can now reopen, according to KPBS.
Many parents felt frustrated that bars and restaurants were opening, but outdoor playgrounds were still covered in tape and shut down, KPBS reported. For families looking to get back to the playground, there are a few new rules:
- Playtime is limited to 30 minutes per family
- Continue to keep a distance of 6 feet from other families and children
- People over the age of 2 must wear face masks
- No eating or drinking at the playground
- Handwashing before and after playing is recommended
Individual jurisdictions will make the final decisions on when to open.
Scientists are starting to unravel one of COVID-19’s scariest mysteries, according to the Associated Press.
Researchers have been questioning why only some people develop mild or no symptoms once infected, and others rapidly die. An international team of researchers found that in severe COVID-19 cases, the body goes rogue and attacks its own key immune defenses instead of targeting the virus.
This reaction happens to men more often than women. Separate research also suggests that children generally fare better than adults thanks to their still-robust “first responder” immune cells. As people age, these cells generally wane, which may cause severe COVID-19 illnesses in older adults.
The Walt Disney Co. plans to lay off 28,000 workers in both of their California and Florida theme parks. Due to pandemic restrictions, the company has been struggling with limits on park attendance, according to NPR.
Two-thirds of the planned layoffs are part-time workers, but the employees range from salaried to hourly positions. Disney closed their parks last spring as the pandemic gained steam and started spreading across the U.S.
While the Florida parks have reopened during the summer, the Anaheim, California parks have yet to reopen due to California’s COVID-19 tiered reopening plan.
Over 3,000 individual international studies are being conducted on COVID-19. People who are interested in volunteering to take medication or vaccinations for science can sign up at clinicaltrials.gov, according to the Associated Press.
Currently, older adults, people with severe illnesses and pregnant women are typically excluded from volunteering. Many mid-stage studies need a few hundred people as a baseline to collect more safety data. From there, final-stage studies commence, and scientists will need tens of thousands of volunteers that reflect a diverse population before medication or vaccination can get on the track to approval.
Several drug studies are running in California, including in Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, and Fullerton.
Tuesday, September 29
About 40,000 workers in the airline industry are facing layoffs on Thursday unless Congress comes up with another aid package, according to the Associated Press.
Many employees are worried about how they’ll pay for basics like food, mortgages, health insurance or rent. The original $25 billion aid package given to airliners at the start of the coronavirus pandemic prevented them from laying off workers, but that clause expires on Thursday.
Some airline workers are holding out hope that another agreement can still be reached. While Congress has been considering another round of airline aid for weeks, it’s been mixed into the debate over a more extensive national relief package.
After preying heavily on older adults in the spring, the coronavirus is infecting a rising number of American children and teens, according to the Associated Press.
Authorities say that this trend appears to be driven by school reopenings and the resumption of playdates, sports and other activities.
An American Academy of Pediatrics report released Tuesday shows children of all ages now make up 10% of all U.S. cases, up from 2% of cases in April. Another new government report says cases in school-aged children began rising in September.
The California National Guard will be operating a community-based COVID-19 pop-up testing site at the Valley-Hi Library in Elk Grove starting Wednesday.
The clinic will be open September 30 and October 1, with testing beginning at 8 a.m.
All tests will be done on a first-come-first-served basis until the daily capacity of 100 tests is reached. No appointments are necessary, and there are no prerequisites for testing, such as having symptoms. People interested in getting tested need to be 18 years or older, have a valid ID, and contact information for test results.
Results will be provided to residents within 3-5 business days after testing. The Sacramento County Public Health lab will be doing all of the coronavirus processing.
Future pop-up sites are planned, and locations will be assessed weekly. Location announcements will be posted on the Sacramento County testing page the day before the pop-up. Residents in the surrounding communities will also be notified via Next Door, Sacramento County social media, and community partners.
The Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce has raised $1 million to create a “resiliency fund” to help support Black-owned businesses stay afloat during the pandemic, according to the Associated Press.
This is one of several funds across the U.S., and it’s a nod to the disproportionate impact the virus has had on African American families and the difficulty Black businesses have in getting bank loans. The grants continue a tradition of Black people helping each other in times of need, says the chamber’s CEO, Cathy Adams.
Other community organizers in Portland, Oregon, have raised more than $1.7 million to help Black residents with rent, groceries and bills.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that the state is showing some signs of a potential new uptick in COVID-19 cases, according to the Associated Press.
Newsom said this could prompt another shutdown of businesses and further delay school openings. While the number of positive cases in California has improved over the last few weeks, the governor is concerned about the “reproduction number” or “R number” in several highly-populated areas.
When the reproduction number is greater than one, that means the virus is spreading. The “R number” is very close to one in the San Francisco Bay area and parts of Southern California. Still, Newsom’s administration plans to lift more virus restrictions in some counties on Tuesday.
Monday, September 28
The city of Stockton along with a number of partners secured a $4.3 million grant from the state to provide a home for those with disabilities, mental and health challenges, and those who are among the hardest to house.
The location is a former 39-unit motel. Project Homekey will provide a permanent housing solution with the purchase and renovation of the Town Center Studios on North Wilson Way.
Mayor Michael Tubbs says it’s all part of the strategic plan.
“We don’t have enough places for people not be homeless and this grant through Project Homekey is a large step in that direction,” he said.
Continuum of Care Chairman John Mendelson says more projects like this one are still needed.
“Developing at least 200 more units of this type of housing with permanent supports for this population by the year 2025,” he said.
Nevada state health officials confirmed 373 new cases over the weekend that along with three additional deaths, bringing the statewide totals to 78,728 cases, and 1,585 known deaths since the pandemic began, according to the Associated Press.
A day earlier on Saturday, the state’s Department of Health services reported 602 new cases, the highest count since August 29, along with nine additional deaths.
Out of the nearly 79,000 Nevada cases, a majority have been in Clark County.
Since studies suggest that people can be asymptomatically infected, and many people have not yet been tested, the total number of infections is thought to be far higher.
Mild to moderate coronavirus symptoms such as fever and cough, generally clear up in two to three weeks, but in older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe illnesses like pneumonia and death.
Over 23 “business navigators” across Sacramento County are being sent to restaurants, shops, and more to talk about distancing, masking and sanitizing, CapRadio's Sammy Caiola reports.
The neighbor-to-neighbor approach is the first step. County health officers and other officials may show up if that doesn't work.
"And in every single instance after we've talked with them and followed up, usually with an unannounced visit, they're usually following the guidelines," County Health Officer Dr. Peter Beilenson said. "We're finding [that] the education is making a big difference."
Community members say it took months of phone calls and speaking out at board meetings to get the county to invest in these diverse neighborhoods, leaving many other businesses to shutter their doors.
Folsom State Prison has reported its first inmate death related to COVID-19 as the virus rapidly spreads through the facility.
According to state data on COVID-19 in correctional facilities, the prison has reported 537 new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days, including 491 inmates still in custody. The Sacramento Bee first reported the death of an inmate this weekend.
Overall, at least 1,245 inmates at Folsom State Prison have tested positive since the start of the pandemic, more than half of the 2,403 people currently incarcerated at the prison.
Sunday, September 27
California State University, Long Beach announced Saturday it would place all students who live on campus in quarantine after five students tested positive for COVID-19.
The university is also stopping in-person instruction for two weeks to allow for contact tracing and testing staff members who may have come in contact with the students. Facilities will also be cleaned and disinfected.
In a statement, CSULB President Jane Close Conoley said that university officials found out late Friday that some students had "congregated socially off campus earlier this month."
Saturday, September 26
California prison officials confirmed an inmate at San Quentin State Prison died from complications related to COVID-19, the 27th death at the prison.
The prisoner died Friday at an outside hospital, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement. The prisoner was not identified.
There are now three active cases at San Quentin, but the prison has resolved more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic, 61 inmates have died at California correctional facilities.
2:33 p.m.: Sacramento Bee leaving downtown headquarters
The Sacramento Bee is leaving its downtown headquarters at 21st and Q Streets.
The paper made the announcement itself online and in Friday's print edition. The building has housed the Bee's offices, newsroom and printing press since May of 1952.
The departure will be gradual over the next year, with printing outsourced to vendors in Northern California. At least 200 production employees will lose their jobs when that happens.
The Bee says most of its reporters work from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and that will continue. When it is safe to do so, the paper reports, a new newsroom in a smaller, less expensive physical building will begin operations.
Friday, September 25
California has begun to see early but concerning upticks in coronavirus data after a period of decline.
California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Friday the increases include the case rate, hospital emergency department visits for COVID-19 and new hospitalizations for confirmed or suspected cases. Ghaly says the trends appear largely attributable to the Labor Day holiday and could lead to an 89% increase in hospitalizations in the next month.
Ghaly noted the state is heading into another hot weekend which could increase people gathering with others. He urged renewed efforts to prevent spread.
California next year will close a Central Valley prison holding about 1,500 male inmates.
The decision announced Friday is Gov. Gavin Newsom's latest step to reduce the state's incarceration footprint partly in response to the coronavirus and massive related budget cuts.
Officials say shuttering the 67-year-old Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy will save about $182 million annually. A series of new laws and ballot measures over nearly a decade significantly shrunk what once was the nation's largest state prison population.
Newsom also approved the earlier releases of more than 10,000 inmates in response to the pandemic.
Elementary schools across the state have been applying for waivers to resume in-person teaching, but a picture of disparity is emerging, according to CalMatters.
At least 25% of California’s K-6 private-schools, totaling more than 500 schools, have had their waivers approved, versus only 1.6% of public schools, totaling around 120 schools. Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Rovert Levin says, “If we’re educating kids in private schools and not educating kids in public schools, then what’s going to come out of that is an education and class difference, ultimately.”
Reopening private schools has fewer obstacles than reopening public schools. Often, private institutions may not have teachers unions, or only have to get a buy-in from a smaller subset of their local community. As different counties move at different speeds through the coronavirus risk tier system, this could set off an imbalance in education, as some districts remain distance-learning.
The Sacramento Running Association announced today that they are canceling this year’s California International Marathon because of COVID-19.
Despite working on setting up health and safety protocols for the event, the association felt that the experience would have been too much of a departure from previous years.
"We know there has been an anxious strain on our registrants as we worked through our options," organizers wrote in a statement. " As one of the last events on the calendar, we felt like it was our responsibility to continue to ride the waves of change as a potential beacon of hope in what has been a volatile 2020."
Registrants who signed up back in April received a voucher code in their emails today that would allow them to sign up for free for any of the three races planned for 2021-2023.
With flu season arriving, California health officials are worried about a twin pandemic with COVID-19, according to the Associated Press. This year's flu season could overwhelm hospitals that are also dealing with coronavirus patients.
California Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly joined with the heads of the state’s hospitals and medical associations in urging people to get the flu shot now. Ghaly said that while the state has seen progress in the recent weeks with a drop in positive COVID-19 cases, officials expect an uptick as the economy slowly opens.
The openings make it critical for hospitals to keep bed space available. Officials said hospitals in the state are currently treating 3,500 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients, of which about 30% are in intensive care units.
Thursday, September 24
5:15 p.m.: Pac-12 to start football season on Nov. 6
The Pac-12 is set to start up a six-game football regular season on Nov. 6.
The Pac-12’s CEO group of university presidents voted unanimously to lift a moratorium on athletic competition for schools and resume football and basketball. This means men’s and women’s basketball seasons can start on Nov. 25, in line with the NCAA’s recently announced opening date.
The conference’s football championship game will be held Dec. 18.
This move follows the Big Ten overturning its August decision to postpone its season until spring over concerns about playing through the pandemic.
California public health officials will now have the option to make their home addresses confidential. It’s part of an effort to protect these employees from hostile threats related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state’s “Safe At Home” program was previously reserved for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors, victims of stalking, human trafficking or elder abuse and reproductive health care workers. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an order to allow health officials to access the program.
Kat Deburgh with the Health Officers Association of California says this is a necessary step.
“Health officers enter this field to protect people, and this new era of vitriol and partisanship have really changed things.”
She says 10 public health officials have resigned since the beginning of the pandemic. One of them was the health officer for Orange County, who stepped down following protests outside her home.
Trick-or-treating isn't recommended this Halloween, according to new guidelines released by the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC has recently released information on activity risk levels of fall holidays, including Halloween, Día de los Muertos, and Thanksgiving. Some suggestions for lower-risk activities for Halloween include:
Doing Halloween scavenger hunts where children look for Halloween-themed decorations outside and from a distance around their neighborhood
Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with household members inside your home or in your backyard
Moderate risk activities include preparing Halloween goodie bags and placing them at the edge of a driveway or yard for neighborhood children to take them.
One of the highest risk activities is participating in traditional trick-or-treating and attending crowded indoor costume parties. The CDC recommends avoiding those to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The CDC also has a list of recommendations on how to safely celebrate religious holidays this fall like Yom Kippur, Navratri, and Diwali.
Young children who had their preschool cut short in the springtime are being held out of kindergarten enrollment at a higher than average rate as many school districts begin the year online, according to the Associated Press.
This is raising concerns that the pandemic could have an outsized impact on the country’s youngest students. A University of Oregon survey found that this month, 17% of parents were delaying sending their children to kindergarten-- a stark contrast to the typical yearly rate of 4%.
School districts in Los Angeles and Nashville, Tennessee, are among those reporting drops in enrollment.
Wednesday, September 23
Dr. Aimee Sisson, who resigned as public health officer and public health director for Placer County this month, will start as the health officer for Yolo County on Oct. 26.
Yolo County announced Wednesday that the county board of supervisors had approved Sisson for the position. Yolo’s former health officer retired in June.
Sisson left her post in Placer County after the board of supervisors there terminated their local public health emergency around COVID-19. Supervisors cited economic concerns, and wrote in a statement that, “the circumstances that led to proclaiming the original emergency no longer exist.”
Yolo County’s emergency order is still in place.
“I am leaving Placer County because it became clear that I could no longer be effective in my role,” Sisson said in a prepared statement about the move. “An important role of the health officer is to serve as an adviser to the Board of Supervisors. When a Board of Supervisors no longer seeks the advice of its health officer in making public health decisions, that health officer is ineffective.”
Several public health officers have resigned or retired during the pandemic, with experts saying burnout and conflict with government officials are major factors.
In Yolo County, Sisson will serve only as public health officer — in Placer County she was also the public health director. She wrote in her statement that no longer wearing “two hats” will allow her to “focus on health officer duties.”
She says the demographics of Yolo County create unique challenges that she’s ready to face, such as the prevalence of older adults, the large number of farmworkers and the presence of a large university.
“The County has responded well to these challenges and I have no doubt that we will continue to do so together,” she said.
Public health officers will likely continue to face public pressure to reopen as counties move to less restrictive orders under the state’s new tiered system.
Monday, about 100 demonstrators gathered outside Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s private home in Las Vegas to protest the state’s mask mandate, according to the Associated Press.
The political action committee No Mask Nevada planned the protest after Sisolak implemented the order, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. The group ballooned to nearly 100 demonstrators after starting with a smaller gathering of about 50 people.
A member of the governor’s medical team, Brian Labus, says that surgical and cloth masks effectively reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Nevada has relied heavily on molecular tests to gauge the spread of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. As the federal government deploys 150 million antigen tests, the state is weighing how to best report data from different kinds of tests, according to The Associated Press.
Nevada is one of the more than 20 states that don’t report complete data on antigen tests to the public. Decisions over how to interpret the less reliable but faster tests could affect decisions about Nevada’s future pandemic directives, capacity limits on public places, business closures and the face-covering mandate.
Tuesday, September 22
California nail salons Tuesday joined barbershops and hair salons in being able to operate indoors with modifications no matter what COVID-19 tier their county is in.
"Understanding the number of steps they can take to make a lower risk environment for both staff and customers with some new addition to that sector guidance and how to set up operations in a way that is lower risk," state Health and Human Services Director Mark Ghaly said.
But Ghaly cautioned that California’s reopening must remain slow and stringent and residents cannot let their guard down as flu season arrives and cases rise in Europe and other parts of the U.S.
Frustrated business owners, including operators of Disneyland, are pushing for a broader and swifter reopening plan. The state has had more than 15,000 deaths and 780,000 confirmed cases, the most cases in the country.
Some Northern California counties have moved into a lower COVID-19 risk tier in the state’s color-coded system, according to data released by the California Department of Public Health.
El Dorado, Lassen, and Nevada counties all moved from tier two, representing a substantial risk level, to tier three, lowering the risk level to moderate.
In tier three, these counties can slowly open up more businesses like bars, distilleries, and indoor playgrounds with modifications. Solano County has moved to tier two from tier one, while other counties like Butte, Glenn and Sacramento are still in tier one with widespread risk.
The NFL has fined several coaches $100,000 and their teams $250,000 each after they ignored a warning that they had to cover their noses and mouths throughout games.
The guidance on face coverings came in a strongly-worded memo from Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent, encouraging coaches and teams to heed the warning lest they put the fledgling season at risk during the coronavirus outbreak.
While players have been taking daily COVID-19 tests, and the teams are going to great lengths to make sure they play this season, coaches have been defying the face-covering mandates.
The U.S. men’s soccer team’s October matches are canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The team will be limited to a maximum of three games in 2020, the fewest since 1987.
The U.S. Soccer Federation is attempting to schedule a pair of friendly matches instead for Europe in November. The team has only played one match this year against Costa Rica on February 1, in Carson, California. The score was 1-0, with the U.S. men’s team winning.
World Cup qualifying was rescheduled to start in June 2021, but CONCACAF said it will be postponed again.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak says he doesn’t plan to take back $8.9 million in coronavirus relief dollars that the state allocated to Douglas County, despite local officials previously agreeing to allow President Donald Trump to host a campaign rally earlier this month, according to the Associated Press.
Nevada provided those relief funds on the condition that the county enforces statewide directives, including limiting public gatherings to 50 people. Douglas County officials said they weighed First Amendment concerns with state directives before deciding to allow the rally, which jeopardized the funds.
Sisolak said he ultimately chose not to rescind the funds and not punish residents for their officials’ decisions.
Monday, September 21
A coronavirus outbreak at a college has pushed one of California's largest counties to the brink of more business shutdowns.
It's a dizzying and discouraging turn of events for San Diego County and its 3.3 million residents. Less than a month ago, San Diego was the only county in Southern California to advance to a second tier in the state’s four-tiered reopening template for counties. But more than 800 cases at San Diego State University changed the outlook.
On Tuesday, the state will update the state's reopening situation and it's expected San Diego will fall back to the most restrictive tier. Among other things, that means restaurants couldn't offer indoor dining.
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from President Donald Trump's reelection campaign challenging Nevada's new vote-by-mail law.
Trump's campaign filed lawsuits in several states over voting rules and had asked the judge to block a new Nevada law that calls for mail-in ballots to automatically be sent to all active voters, a change prompted by the coronavirus. The campaign has argued the law is unconstitutional.
The judge says the Trump campaign made allegations that were policy disagreements but did not show any constitutional harms.
1:38 p.m.: Nevada COVID-19 cases near 76,000
Nevada state health officials reported 385 new positive COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths, according to the Associated Press. This news increases the statewide totals to 75,804 cases and 1,531 deaths since the pandemic began.
The state’s Department of Health Services officials say that nearly 64,000 cases have been in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. The AP analyzed data from John Hopkins University that showed the seven-day rolling averages of daily new cases and deaths in Nevada have been declining over the past two weeks.
The infection number is thought to be much higher because many people have not been tested and others may be asymptomatic carriers.
Despite three quarters of the country’s movie theaters reopening, Americans aren’t interested in movie night, even with newly released films, according to the Associated Press.
Big studio releases like Warner Bros.’ “Tenet”, Disney’s “The New Mutants”, and Sony’s “The Broken Hearts Gallery” have all continued to limp along. Disney’s “Mulan” plunged 72% in its second weekend in China due to audiences mostly rejecting the live-action remake.
California will not be processing new unemployment claims for the next two weeks as the state works out a plan to tackle the backlog of nearly 600,000 claims and prevent fraud, according to the Associated Press.
The pause was announced on Saturday. Backlogged unemployment claims have not been processed for more than 21 days due to outdated technology converging with the state’s unprecedented wave of new claims. Statewide, more than 2 million people are out of work.
Sunday, September 20
California’s death count from the coronavirus has surpassed 15,000 even as the state saw widespread improvement in infection levels.
A tally by Johns Hopkins University put California’s death toll at 15,026 on Sunday, the fourth highest in the country.
New York has suffered by far the most deaths -- 33,081 -- followed New Jersey, which has about half as many. Texas is third.
California has had the most confirmed virus cases in the country with about 775,000 but key indicators have fallen dramatically since a spike that started after Memorial Day weekend prompted statewide shutdowns of businesses.
Saturday, September 19
California's unemployment rate fell to 11.4% in August. The Employment Development Department says the state added 102,000 jobs last month. Most of those were government positions, including temporary positions for the U.S. Census.
California lost more than 2.6 million jobs in March and April because of the coronavirus. The state has regained nearly a third of those jobs. But experts warn other indicators show the state's economy has stalled with no quick recovery in sight.
Restaurants and other hospitality businesses have been the hardest hit. The industry lost another 14,600 jobs in August with coronavirus restrictions still in place across much of the state.
Northern Nevada schools reopened last month, with some students on campus and others online. Since then, COVID-19 cases have been climbing among students and staff.
So far, 27 students and 17 staff members in Washoe County School District have tested positive.
Superintendent Kristen McNeill says many of those cases are no longer active.
But district staff are working with public health officials to provide contact tracing in the schools where cases have appeared.
"We’re in contact with them on a daily basis," McNeil said. "They have diverted resources to pediatric contact tracing and then we actually have employed two employee health nurses to help on the staff side."
McNeill says it doesn’t appear community transmission is happening on campuses. About a third of district students are enrolled in full-time distance learning.
Friday, September 18
Unemployment in the Sacramento area is still high compared to last year at this time, before the pandemic.
Numbers out Friday show the jobless rate was 9.4 % in August, up about 5.5 percentage points from August of last year. But that 9.4% is down from July's rate of 11.6%.
"We did see a decline in the number of unemployed from July to August," said Cara Welch with the state Employment Development Department. "We are gaining some of the jobs back that were lost during the month of April when the unemployment rate drastically increased. So we are seeing a rebound of some of those jobs."
Including sectors like government, which gained 7,000 jobs; professional and business services, which saw a month-over increase of 2,500 positions; and health and education services, which gained 1,200 jobs.
California schools that haven’t resumed in-person instruction will not be allowed to do so if the counties where they are located are moved to a more restrictive tier due to rising virus cases.
The state says K-12 schools can reopen in a county once it has been moved out of the most restrictive purple tier — which signals widespread virus transmission — for two weeks.
A recent rise in coronavirus cases tied to San Diego State University could push San Diego County to the most restrictive tier when the state’s color-coded system for business reopenings is updated next week. Some districts there had set campus return dates in the coming weeks.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law on Thursday that will require employers to alert their employees if they've been potentially exposed to COVID-19 while at work, according to The Sacramento Bee.
AB 685 requires employers to provide a written notice to employees and subcontractors instructing them to self-isolate after potential exposure from a co-worker that either tested positive for COVID-19 or has been instructed to self-isolate.
The notice must be delivered within one business day after finding out about a potential infection.
The pastor of a San Francisco Bay Area church that racked $112,000 in fines for defying the local public health order by holding indoor services has begun holding services in the church parking lot.
KGO-TV reports Pastor Jack Trieber of the 3,000-seat North Valley Baptist Church in Santa Clara said he will hold services outdoors until health officials give the green light to indoor services. County officials told the television station there were no plans to forgive the fines and that the county’s enforcement action was over because the church was complying.
Thursday, September 17
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed two bills into law that are aimed at protecting workers from the coronavirus.
One of them makes people who have the coronavirus eligible for workers compensation benefits. Another requires companies to warn their employees if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus.
Business groups opposed both laws, calling them vague and unworkable. Newsom said Thursday that the laws prioritize the state's workforce. He signed them during a Zoom call with supporters.
The workers compensation law takes effect immediately. The notification law takes effect on Jan. 1.
Every county in California is in the process of trying to reopen as the threat of COVID-19 lingers. But the new state way of getting to a place of reopening is a four-tiered approach marked by colors.
Purple indicates the most risk and yellow the least. Each tier represents a level of how open businesses can be.
Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye says the county could be leaving the purple tier around the middle of October. The county is reporting 9 cases per 100,000 residents each day, and must improve that to seven before the state will change its status.
“At the rate that we've been going, we feel that we can make that within the next couple of weeks. And our positivity rate is at 5.7%," Kasirye said. "And so we have hit the mark to be able to move into tier two."
About 16 counties are in the second tier, 10 in the third and only two counties have minimal risk: Alpine and Mono counties.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak asked in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence why President Donald Trump’s campaign went against federal guidelines on public gatherings by holding two rallies in the state last weekend.
Previously Sisolak has used a moderate tone with the White House and its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. This letter reflected a departure from that.
Sisolak also said Wednesday that state officials would review Nevada’s 50-person cap on public gatherings and 50% capacity limit on businesses, including casinos.
On Wednesday, the state reported 208 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 12 deaths, bringing the state’s total number of deaths up to 1,494.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced yesterday that California’s coronavirus caseload is down another 15% this week. The state’s test positivity rate is the lowest it’s been since May at 3.6%, while hospital and ICU rates are down 22%.
The governor warns that this good news doesn’t warrant a more relaxed attitude with mask-wearing or physical distancing, because the case numbers could go up again.
However, the state is continuing to allow some significant reopenings, including some in sports. Newsom said that Pac-12 football could start up again, with restrictions.
Wednesday, September 16
California officials say the state won't consider removing college students’ virus cases from a county’s data because they are part of a community and can contribute to the spread of the illness.
The issue arose as San Diego County has seen more than 700 cases among college students and others that have helped drive up infections. The county's chief administrative officer has said she would ask the state to exclude San Diego State University cases from its count, but Gov. Gavin Newsom says he's not considering that.
While California has seen virus infections slow in recent weeks, San Diego County has recorded a recent increase, which could lead to additional restrictions.
Any plans for the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten in returning to football are on hold due to health policies in two states within the conference.
The Big Ten changed course and said it will begin an eight-game football schedule on Oct. 23. The Pac-12 has also reconsidered starting its football season this fall, but does not have approval from state and local health officials in California and Oregon to start contact practices.
On Wednesday California Gov. Gavin Newsom said state regulations do not prevent college football from starting.
“There's nothing in our guidelines that prevent these games from occurring,” Newsom said. "There’s nothing in the guidelines saying the Pac-12 cannot move forward.”
The Pac-12 has announced a partnership that would give the conference’s schools the capacity to perform daily, rapid COVID-19 tests on athletes.
The U.S. government is drafting a plan on how to make the future COVID-19 vaccines free to all Americans.
At the same time, top government health officials are being asked to answer on any political interference in government scientific information. The Associated Press reports that there may be an accompanying “playbook” for different localities and states.
Federal health agencies and the Defense Department have a rough timeline for the vaccine program to start gradually in January 2021 or later this year, if available. According to an AP poll conducted earlier this year, only about half of Americans said they would get a shot.
Tuesday, September 15
A Fresno County judge has ordered classrooms closed at a private school that has defied state and local health orders aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
The ruling Tuesday marked a legal victory for Fresno County health officials, who had unsuccessfully ordered Immanuel Schools last month to stop in-person instruction. The K-12 Christian school, with about 600 students, reopened its campus on Aug. 13.
It argued that parents should decide if their children attend school and claimed students had achieved herd immunity. The judge said the school operating poses “irreparable harm" to the community during the pandemic.
California fitness centers have filed a lawsuit alleging Gov. Gavin Newsom’s measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus unfairly target the industry and are demanding they be allowed to reopen.
Scott Street, a lawyer for the California Fitness Alliance, said Tuesday that the suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. It accuses state and Los Angeles County officials of requiring gyms to close without providing evidence that they contribute to virus outbreaks and at a time when staying healthy is critical to residents.
A message seeking comment was sent to the California Department of Public Health.
Over the past week, California’s COVID-19 test positivity rate was 3.5%, the lowest it’s been since data reporting started in March, according to the Los Angeles Times. August’s positivity rate was nearly twice as high.
Some health officials believe that the lower rate could be attributed to fewer people getting tested during the wildfires, and a possible yet-to-be-seen transmission surge after Labor Day weekend.
“We are, in fact, somewhat challenged about getting good data because we’ve had both extreme heat and we’ve had the fires that have created unhealthy air conditions,” said the Director of Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health Barbara Ferrer. “What that’s led to, unfortunately, is a lot less testing.”
After last weekend’s Nevada rally for President Donald Trump, health officials say they expect to see growth in their state’s coronavirus cases, according to the Associated Press.
Trump’s rallies in Minden and Henderson both violated the state’s 50-person cap on events. Thousands of mostly mask-less supporters attended both, with the Henderson rally being held indoors. This is the first rally Trump has held indoors since his one in Tulsa, Oklahoma in June. Health officials say that a surge of cases soon after was “likely contributed” by the rally.
As of Monday, Nevada had reported 73,814 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and 1,456 deaths.
Monday, September 14
Starting this week, inmates at Folsom State Prison who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer be counted into the city of Folsom’s COVID-19 case count, according to Sacramento County Public Health.
Instead, inmates who have tested positive will be counted as cases in the unincorporated area of the county.
This change led to a drop in the number of cumulative cases reported in Folsom since the start of the pandemic on Monday, and an increase in the number of cumulative cases reported in the county’s unincorporated areas. Because of this change, Folsom went from having 727 cumulative cases reported as of September 11 to having 355 cumulative cases as of September 14.
Folsom State Prison reported an outbreak of COVID-19 in August, which was the largest outbreak in the state’s prison system at the time with 224 inmates actively infected.
Adults who tested positive for COVID-19 were about twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant within the two-week period before getting sick than those who tested negative, a new study from the CDC shows.
NPR reported that the study found that people who tested positive and those who tested negative had gone to shops, hair salons, in-home group gatherings, and the gym at around the same rate. However, those who tested positive reported having dined out at a restaurant in the two weeks before getting sick at a higher rate than those who tested negative.
The study doesn’t differentiate between outdoor or indoor dining.
“Masks cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking, whereas shopping and numerous other indoor activities do not preclude mask use,” CDC researchers wrote.
President Donald Trump held an indoor rally this weekend in a Nevada warehouse in defiance of state and federal health regulations and guidelines, according to the Associated Press.
This is his first indoor rally since a rally in June in Tulsa, Oklahoma that was blamed for a surge of COVID-19 infections.
At Sunday’s indoor rally, the president told his nearly mask-less packed crowd that the nation was “making the last turn” in defeating the virus. The president made no early mention at the rally that the pandemic was still claiming 1,000 lives a day and has killed nearly 200,000 Americans.
Sunday, September 13
11:00 a.m.: California now has nearly 755,000 COVID-19 cases
According to the California Department of Public Health, California has 754,923 confirmed cases to date.
On Saturday, there were 4,625 newly recorded confirmed cases.
There have been 14,329 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Saturday, September 11
11:00 a.m.: Giants postpone two games after positive test
Friday night’s game between the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres was postponed minutes before the scheduled first pitch after someone in the Giants organization tested positive for COVID-19.
Saturday night's game also was called off at Petco Park.
This was the first postponement for both teams due to COVID-19. There have been 45 games in the majors postponed this season because of coronavirus concerns.
Friday, September 11
Sacramento County has now recorded more than 20,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, including 350 deaths.
The county remains in the most-restrictive tier of the state's new COVID-19 reopening plan. In the past week Sacramento has recorded 9.3 cases per 100,000 residents. It would need to improve to less than 7 for at least three weeks in order to move to a new tier.
While the majority of people who have died have been older than 80, residents in their 20's are more likely to contract the virus. One out of every five people infected with the virus in Sacramento County have been between 20-29 years old.
Of cases where the race and ethnicity of the victim are known, 33% are hispanic or latino, compared to 23% for the county population as a whole.
A Nevada state coronavirus oversight panel says bars have to remain closed in Las Vegas, but can reopen in Pahrump and will be allowed to open next week in the Reno area.
The COVID-19 task force cited a falling number of virus cases in Nye County for the Pahrump decision. Re-openings in Washoe County will begin next Thursday, subject to approval of enforcement measures for face coverings and a 50% capacity.
About 30 local bar owners formed the Washoe County Bar/Taproom Coalition and agreed to comprehensive operating standards. The task force says Washoe County's positivity rate is below 10% and trending downward.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed emergency legislation requiring paid sick time for more workers in the state exposed to COVID-19.
As an urgency measure, it goes into law immediately, according to the Sacramento Business Journal. Full-time workers in companies with 500 or more employees will be guaranteed two weeks of paid sick pay if they’re exposed.
The governor’s office says this bill fills in the gaps between a previously signed executive order and federal paid sick leave policy. Groups affected by this new law include employers with over 500 employees, food sector workers, and both public and private first responders and health care workers not previously covered by their employer under federal law.
The new bill also creates a pilot family leave medication program for small businesses and prohibits employees from pursuing civil action against a company until they complete mediation with the State Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
Thursday, September 10
California’s typical turnaround time for coronavirus tests has dropped to less than two days.
State health officials said Thursday that level allows for effective isolation and quarantine of those who are infected to limit the spread.
Health officials said two-thirds of the test results are now available within one day, and nearly 90% within two days. That's down from as many as seven business days last month.
Improvements in capacity and turnaround will allow the state to soon begin what is commonly called surveillance testing.
California State University says classes at its 23 campuses will stay primarily online when the next term begins in January due to expected increases in coronavirus cases later this year.
Chancellor Timothy White informed faculty, staff and 480,000 undergraduate students of the decision Thursday. White says the decision was based on factors like the need to publicize course offerings and enroll students for the next term as well as forecasts that infections will spike this winter.
He also cited “an insufficient testing and contact-tracing infrastructure” as reasons for continuing the next term virtually.
Due to the impacts of wildfires in the area, Butte County is temporarily allowing restaurants to resume indoor dining services.
Restaurants that open indoors can only operate at 25% capacity and must place tables 6 feet apart. Servers and customers must also wear face coverings.
Once the air quality has improved, restaurants will be required to go back to only operating outdoors, per state COVID-19 guidelines.
Around 20,000 people were asked to evacuate Tuesday night into Wednesday when the Bear Fire, part of the North Complex, grew by 97,000 acres in a single day. Three people have died in the fires.
The hope that a fall football season might happen for the Pac-12 may be premature, despite the conference’s recent announcement of their ability to rapidly test athletes, according to the Associated Press.
Due to a patchwork of local regulations, navigating the coronavirus has been uneven among the league’s athletic programs. There are also internal disagreements about whether student athletes’ test results should be made public.
Other football conferences are facing similar unanswered questions as the football season gets closer to resuming.
Wednesday, September 9
President Donald Trump's plans to hold weekend rallies in Reno and Las Vegas are in jeopardy after local officials warned they would violate Nevada's ban on gatherings of more than 50 people because of the coronavirus.
Trump's Nevada campaign co-chair Adam Laxalt said in a Twitter post today that both events to be held at airport hangars Saturday in Reno and Sunday in Las Vegas had been canceled.
The Nevada Independent reported that Reno airport officials warned a company that planned to host the rally at a private hangar that it would be in violation of both the state's virus restrictions and the lease of the hangar.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is criticizing the organizers of a state-permitted religious rally at the Capitol building in downtown Sacramento this past Sunday.
A California Highway Patrol spokesperson said the event was permitted for up to 1,000 participants, but the agency estimates up to 3,000 people attended.
Video shows most attendees packed together and not wearing masks. Public health guidelines require mask wearing when social distancing is not possible — even outdoors.
“It does not help to have thousands and thousands of people not practicing physical distancing or social distancing, not wearing masks, in fact, quite the contrary,” Newsom said in a news conference Tuesday. “Quite literally, someone could lose their lives. And I know that’s not the intent of anyone who organizes these events, but it may be the outcome.”
Newsom says he is looking into the incident, and CHP says it will review its permitting guidelines.
Tuesday, September 8
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has relaxed coronavirus restrictions in five more counties.
As of Tuesday, Amador, Orange, Placer, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties each moved to a less restrictive classification in the state's new tiered system. The announcement means the state has now eased restrictions for more than 8 million people living in three of the state's most populous counties — San Diego, Orange and Santa Clara.
Hospitalizations are down 24% over the past two weeks. But the Newsom administration is taking it slow by requiring counties to meet benchmarks for two consecutive weeks before they can be upgraded.
As of Tuesday, 33 of the state's 58 counties are listed in the top tier of the state's coronavirus tracking system.
Sacramento County says it has substantially improved turnaround time for coronavirus testing. Dr. Olivia Kasirye is the county public health officer. She says testing hit a wall a few months ago.
“There were not enough appointments available, and also there was a very long turnaround time for results," Kasirye said. "As long as 7 to 9 days in some situations.”
She said a national shortage of supplies contributed to the breakdown. Now, the county aims to return results in 24 to 72 hours.
Kasirye said a recent partnership with biomedical company StemExpress has allowed the county to increase capacity at its ten testing sites. There are also plans to extend hours of operation in September.
As the pandemic enters its sixth month in the United States, mental health conditions are rising. A new bill on California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk would dramatically expand what insurance companies have to cover.
“It’s a problem that existed before COVID, and COVID has made it worse, by exacerbating depression, anxiety…” said Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, who authored the bill. “We are seeing people who were in recovery from addiction who are now falling off the wagon relapsing.”
The state already requires health insurers to cover treatment for some mental health conditions, but critics say that many conditions are left out of coverage.
Insurance companies and business groups both oppose the expansion. The insurance companies claim that this bill would put too much extra strain on an already burdened healthcare system, especially in rural areas. Business groups, however, argue that the expansion would raise premiums for employers.
Monday, September 7
This Labor Day weekend, health officials across California are asking residents to avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing and hopefully avoid another holiday spike in COVID-19 cases like the state saw following Memorial Day and July Fourth.
“We are all tempted to get together with family and friends for cookouts and Labor Day celebrations, but caving into that temptation could turn deadly, especially for our parents, grandparents and friends who might be more susceptible to the virus,” Acting State Public Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan said.
Nevada officials, including Gov. Steve Sisolak, are also pleading with residents to avoid large gatherings over the holiday.
Sacramento County’s Department of Regional Parks released recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19 this weekend for anyone choosing to visit the region’s parks:
Maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from individuals who are not part of the same household or living unit
Frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer that is recognized by the CDC as effective in combating COVID-19
Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or fabric or, if not possible, into the sleeve or elbow (but not into hands)
Avoiding all social interactions outside the household when sick with a fever or cough.
Saturday, September 5
12:43 p.m.: California now has over 727,000 COVID-19 cases
According to the California Department of Public Health, the state now has a total of 727,239 positive cases.
There were 4,956 newly recorded confirmed cases of COVID-19 on September 4.
There have been a total of 13,643 deaths in the state.
Friday, September 4
Officials in Reno-Sparks announced a new COVID-19 tracking tool that shows the risk of community spread on a daily basis with the hope that it will lower the risk of transmission by giving residents an easier to read summary of the pandemic.
The Truckee Meadows COVID Risk Meter weighs five different statistics: requests for COVID-19 tests, the rate of new infections, test positivity rate, hospitalizations and hospital capacity.
Jeremy Smith, director of the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency, volunteered to create the risk meter by using his background in data analysis.
“What our model is trying to do is add it up,” he said. “Are all of these things up at the same time? And if they are then we should be thinking as a community about altering our behavior to bring them back down.”
Sparks City Councilman Kristopher Dahir said the meter will be a “tool of hope,” by making COVID-19 updates more digestible than the more complex data dashboards offered by the state and Washoe County.
“It gives us the ability to see what’s happening and not surprise us so much,” he said.
Woodland Christian School in Yolo County has been granted a waiver to reopen in-person instruction for students. It’s the first elementary school in Yolo County to be approved for this waiver.
Schools in counties on the state’s COVID-19 watch list had to apply for a waiver from local public health authorities in order to do in-person learning. Yolo County had been on the watch list since July 8. The waiver is only applicable for grades TK-6.
The watchlist has since been replaced by the state's new tier system, which places Yolo County in the most-restrictive tier.
Woodland Christian School has made multiple changes to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including hiring extra staff, creating protocol for responding to staff or students who get COVID-19, implementing necessary health and safety measures and developing outdoor instruction space, according to the county.
Yolo County has also received six other waiver applications that are currently being considered.
The U.S. unemployment rate fell considerably in August from 10.2% to 8.4%, the Associated Press reports.
Despite this fall, hiring slowed down in August as employers added the fewest jobs since the pandemic began. According to the Labor Department, employers added 1.4 million jobs in August, down from 1.7 million in July. Only about half of the 22 million jobs lost during the pandemic have been recovered.
With Labor Day this weekend, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is pleading with residents to avoid large gatherings in celebration of the holiday.
During a Thursday afternoon news conference, the governor said that residents should forgo barbecues and parties with neighbors, friends, and people outside of their immediate family. Sisolak said these potential gatherings could drive the “single most expansive spread” of COVID-19.
Thursday, September 3
Butte County is dealing with a large increase in COVID-19 cases.
The County's public health department reports the biggest rise in numbers among people ages 18-to-24 living near the Chico State campus. Of the 557 positive cases from August 24-31, around 78% were 18-to-24 year olds.
While Butte County’s Public Health agency says it can't confirm all the cases were college students, the increase coincides with the start of classes. Butte CountyPublic Health Director Dannette York said the county will remain in the state’s most restrictive coronavirus category unless everyone is taking precautions.
“If college-age individuals do not join the fight and follow those mitigation efforts, or non-pharmaceutical interventions, of social distancing and wearing face coverings, then our cases will continue to climb and we will stay in this most restrictive tier,” York said.
Meanwhile, Chico State has revised reopening plans to move to fully online courses for the rest of the fall semester. It also required most students living in campus housing to move out of their dorm rooms and apartments.
Athletics right-hander Daniel Mengden has tested positive for the coronavirus.
He is asymptomatic but is quarantined at home in Houston, where he received the result. The A’s had a three-game series at Seattle postponed as well as last Sunday’s scheduled series finale at Houston, where the A’s learned of the single positive test.
Oakland general manager David Forst says Mengden was placed on the 10-day injured list. The A’s have added new left-hander Mike Minor to the 40-man roster. He was acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers.
The Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley church in rural Nevada is again trying to persuade the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals that the state’s 50-person cap on religious gatherings is unconstitutional, the Associated Press reports.
The church filed new briefs with the court Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to suspend the restrictions in a 5-4 decision in July. They argue that parishioners’ religious freedoms are being violated, and that the cap on religious gatherings while allowing Nevada’s casinos to operate at 50% capacity puts profits ahead of the First Amendment.
California lawmakers are looking into possible fraud at the Employment Development Department, according to the Los Angeles Times. Some Californians have been concerned about fraud after receiving letters from the EDD addressed to strangers.
The letters are addressed to unrelated people and often come with debit cards loaded with cash. California residents aren’t the only ones receiving letters from EDD; some former residents in states like Florida and Connecticut have also been receiving letters for claims they didn’t file.
The EDD declined to comment on the number of fraudulent cases being investigated. These concerns come as Californians across the state have been left without crucial joblessness benefits after frustrating experiences with the EDD.
San Diego State University has halted in-person classes after county health officials found 64 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 among students at the university, according to the Associated Press. The case count includes students living both on and off-campus.
Over 200 courses, including some lab classes, have been suspended for a month and will move to a virtual format. On-campus housing will remain open.
California State University, Chico also moved classes online this week.
Wednesday, September 2
As of Sept. 2, at least 304 Sacramento County residents have died of complications from COVID-19 since the pandemic began earlier this year.
More than half of these people, 176, were residents of the city of Sacramento. There have been 18,413 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sacramento County.
For more information on the numbers of confirmed cases and deaths in every California county, see our COVID-19 tracker.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is getting heat over a solo hair salon visit in San Francisco at a time when California businesses are limited by concern over coronavirus. But she says she was complying with the rules as presented to her by the salon.
Footage aired by Fox News Channel shows Pelosi, her mask around her neck rather than on her face, walking through the establishment. A stylist follows her wearing a mask.
The salon owner said she rents chairs to stylists, and one let her know that Pelosi wanted a wash and a blow dry. Outdoor haircuts are allowed, but indoor salons have not reopened.
Since April, California has provided temporary housing for 22,000 people in a program created to get the state’s unhoused population in rooms amid the pandemic. But the focus needs to shift, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press conference Wednesday.
“That was an emergency response,” Newsom said. “Now we need a permanent response, and I’ve long believed that homelessness is solved by permanent, supportive housing.”
Newsom says “Roomkey” is now merging into “Homekey,” a partnership with state and local governments to spend $600 million to buy hotels, motels and apartment buildings statewide by the end of this calendar year.
Cities, counties, local housing agencies and tribal authorities have until September 29 to apply for the funding. Only $50 million of the “Homekey” money comes from the state’s General Fund. The extra $550 million comes from federal coronavirus relief funds which must be spent by the end of the year.
After five months of being closed to the public, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is facing a projected loss of $45 million this year, according to Yahoo News.
Furloughs and layoffs have affected 220 of their 580 employees. Since the nonprofit has over 500 employees, the aquarium did not qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program, a forgivable coronavirus loan through the federal government.
The aquarium has had to scale back their conservation work, like reducing plastic pollution and climate change, due to its scaled back budget.
A grand reopening was planned for July 9, but it was cancelled a few days before because Monterey County had just been placed on the state’s COVID-19 watchlist.
August was the deadliest month for COVID-19 in California, according to the Los Angeles Times.
There have now been more than 700,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, the highest number of total cases for any state in the U.S. California also reported 3,745 deaths connected to COVID-19 in August, an increase of 18% over July.
Despite this, adjusted for population, California’s case count is smaller than 20 other states, including Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and other Southern states, according to federal data.
While deaths have been increasing, hospitalizations peaked in late July, hitting 3,940 this week. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently launched a new tiered plan to open up the California economy. Hair salons and barbershops are allowed to open again for indoor services, as are malls and other retail at 25% capacity.
Yolo County residents can get a free COVID-19 test at Madison Town Hall in Madison on Wednesday, Sept. 2 from 4-7 p.m.
The free testing site is for Yolo County residents only, and people must show a document with their name and address — such as mail, a bill or a driver’s license — to be served.
The site is first come, first served and all ages are welcome. Registration is recommended, not required, to get tested, but registering does not guarantee a test or a time slot.
Tuesday, September 1
California has inked a $15 million deal with a software company to develop a new COVID-19 tracking system.
The announcement Tuesday came about a month after the state said its current system had undercounted confirmed cases. The problem had serious implications, since the state uses those numbers to make decisions about reopening businesses and schools.
Officials say the deal with Minnesota-based OptumInsight Inc. will allow the state to better track the spread of the virus. California has more confirmed cases than any other state. But recent trends show those numbers dropping, and the percentage of positive tests is also declining.
El Dorado County could move from the state’s “substantial” coronavirus risk category to the lower “moderate” one in the week of Sept. 21.
To move down, the county needs to stay below four new cases per day on average and keep a test positivity rate below 5% over the next 14 days, according to El Dorado County Public Health.
In assigning El Dorado County to the substantial tier, the second-most serious in the new system, the state used the county’s data from the week of August 5-11. Counties have to remain in their assigned tier for three weeks before moving to a less restrictive one. Then, the county can move as long as the number of cases and the test positivity rate meet the less restrictive tier’s requirement in the two most recent weeks.
“El Dorado County’s numbers in the two criteria the State is currently using to determine reopening have been trending relatively lower over the last two weeks,” El Dorado County Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams said in a news release. “The best and easiest way to help ensure we move to the Orange tier in the week of September 21st is for residents and visitors to continue to follow the State’s mandates for face coverings, avoid gatherings with and remain at least six feet from others outside your household and wash your hands.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has announced plans to extend the state’s eviction moratorium another 45 days.
This move will provide relief to an estimated 250,000 renters facing the prospect of losing their housing due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Sisolak made the decision yesterday, one day before the previous moratorium was set to expire. Fears of a widespread eviction crisis in the state have been compounded by delays in state assistance and programs, like unemployment insurance.
Nevada’s moratorium is now set to expire Oct. 16.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed AB 3088, a bill extending a halt to evictions for unpaid rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lawmakers passed the bill Monday. The state’s eviction moratorium was set to expire Sept. 2 if lawmakers didn’t take action.
AB 3088 pauses evictions through January 31 as a result of unpaid rent during the first six months of the pandemic. Renters would have to fill out documents certifying that they were impacted by COVID-19 to be eligible for protections, and would also have to pay at least 25% of their rent starting in September.
For more updates on Monday night’s end of the California legislative session, head here.
Monday, August 31
Following a new ‘tier system’ announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week, Sacramento County health officials have put out an order detailing what activities are allowed indoors and outdoors.
Despite Newsom's announcement, businesses allowed to operate under the new system couldn't reopen until the county formally allowed it with this new order. Under the new guidelines, which replace the last order published July 14, the following businesses are permitted to operate outdoors:
These businesses are allowed to open for indoor operations:
- Critical infrastructure
- Hair salons and barbershops
- All retail (25% maximum capacity)
- Shopping centers (Malls, destination centers, swap meets, excluding food courts and common areas) maximum 25% capacity
- Professional sports (without live audiences)
These businesses are allowed to open for outdoor operations:
- Personal care services (nail salons, body waxing, estheticians)
- Museums, zoos, aquariums
- Places of worship
- Movie theaters
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Family Entertainment Centers (e.g. bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades)
- Cardrooms, satellite wagering
- Bars, pubs, brewpubs and breweries may operate outdoors, only if they offer sit-down, outdoor meals
The new state reopening strategy organizes counties by tiers, which are determined by the number of new positive cases per week and the positivity rate. With a daily case count of 12 per 100,000 and a positivity rate of 8.1%, Sacramento County is listed at the highest risk level tier in the state. This means that the virus is widespread in the community.
These guidelines do not change the county’s August 28 order to keep schools closed. Schools can reopen for in-person school when they’ve been in Tier 2 for two weeks. A county must remain in its current tier for 21 days, and then meet criteria for the next tier for two weeks, before moving to a less restrictive tier.
California State University, Chico canceled the limited number of in-person classes it was offering. They will be virtual-only for the duration of the fall semester after nearly 30 people tested positive for the coronavirus days after the fall semester started.
University President Gayle Hutchinson says students also need to vacate campus housing by the weekend. Hutchinson says she is asking students to leave campus housing because nearly all on-campus residences have at least one positive case and there are concerns the numbers will increase.
A study shows California's stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus outbreak seems to have saved some wildlife, as decreased traffic resulted in fewer collisions with mountain lions, deer and other large animals.
A study by the Road Ecology Center at UC Davis found traffic declined by about 75% after the emergency order went into effect in March. The number of animals struck and killed by vehicles also fell, including a 58% decrease in fatal crashes involving mountain lions between the 10 weeks before and 10 weeks after the order.
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.