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- NATIONAL: The Trump Administration is monitoring travel from Mexico as part of a theory that this could be behind a new wave of coronavirus infections, instead of states’ efforts to reopen economies. The AP reports the notion was discussed during a Thursday meeting of the administration’s coronavirus task force. The Environmental Protection Agency ordered Amazon and eBay to stop selling fake coronavirus-fighting products, including items that have toxic chemicals like chlorine dioxide and methylene chloride. Find the latest coronavirus case counts for California and each county in our COVID-19 tracker here.
Friday, June 12
Nail salons, tattoo and piercing shops and skin care services can begin reopening as soon as Friday, June 19. The California Department of Public Health released new guidelines for the industries, some of which require touching a client’s body or face.
They can only reopen in counties that meet certain benchmarks set by the state, though all but Imperial and a handful of Bay Area counties have met the requirements.
The services are among the last to resume operations since the statewide stay-at-home order was issued on March 19. Skating rinks, live theater, concerts and amusement parks are not permitted to open, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has said crowded events will likely not resume until there is a vaccine or herd immunity from the coronavirus.
The guidelines for personal services came out the same day the state allowed bars, gyms, movie theaters and museums to reopen with sanitation and distancing measures.
Restaurants in Sacramento are hustling to add more outdoor seating during the pandemic, and the city has announced a grant program to help make the transition more affordable.
The program is called "Farm to Fork Al Fresco," a merging of the city's much touted farm-to-table food scene and the Italian word for open-air dining.
The goal is to move more restaurant customers outdoors, where medical experts say there's a lower risk of transmitting the coronavirus.
The city is offering grants of up to $3,000 for restaurants anywhere in the city.
It would reimburse independent or locally owned franchise restaurants for expenses, which could include things like umbrellas and new lighting.
The city has a million dollars in federal stimulus funding for the program, and the deadline to apply is July 15.
1:20 p.m.: Sacramento Zoo to reopen Monday
You can visit the Sacramento Zoo again starting Monday June 15, but you'll need to make reservations.
The zoo closed to the public three months ago because of the coronavirus and government-mandated shutdown orders. It's home to about 500 animals, and Executive Director Jason Jacobs says a lot of them noticed there weren't a lot of people around over the past few months.
"Since we've been closed, they're very curious and give you more attention when you walk around," Jacobs said.
To gear up for reopening, Jacobs says the zoo has made several changes intended to limit attendance to help with social-distancing.
"The most important change is that you have to plan your visit, you just can't spontaneously show up anymore. We're doing this because we've limited the number of people who can be in the zoo at any one time."
That means you'll need to reserve and buy tickets online. Physical distancing signage will be placed throughout the zoo, face coverings are strongly recommended and there's a new paperless system in place, both for transactions and zoo maps.
Some attractions will be closed to help with social distancing, including the Reptile House and playground.
Orange County's interim health officer relaxed the county’s face covering requirement for residents in public.
Dr. Clayton Chau changed the order Thursday to say people should wear face coverings outside their home when they can’t physically distance themselves by at least six feet.
“This change ensures the OC Health Care Agency is acting consistently with our partners at the California Department of Public Health and is based on Orange County’s measures against state-mandated COVID-19 metrics,” Chau said in a press release. “I stand with public health experts and believe strongly that face coverings help slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives."
This change comes three days after the previous health officer resigned after she received threats over her order requiring face coverings as Orange County allowed more businesses to reopen. Residents have railed against the requirement at public meetings.
Similar rules are in place in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. In Riverside County masks are recommended, not required.
California counties now have the green light to allow hotels, zoos, aquariums, wine tasting rooms and museums to reopen Friday.
But guests will see changes.
Hotels will limit people lounging by pools and attractions will require masks.
Stay-at-home orders are estimated to have cost the state economy some $72 billion in expected revenue from tourism. The $145 billion industry is now trying to balance how to implement safety measures to control a pandemic without ruining the experience for visitors.
Thursday, June 11
Nevada officials confirmed that the number of new COVID-19 cases has increased in the last week.
Caleb Cage, who is in charge of the state’s COVID-19 response, says confirmed cases have been going up for six days in a row.
But Cage also said it’s not necessarily a second spike yet. He explained the increased number of cases could be a result of greater testing availability across the state.
“We’ve seen a great increase over the last two weeks in the number of community based testing operations that are going on throughout the state, as well as our capacity to analyze those specimens that are collected in community-based testing,” he said.
Nevada is nearing the end of the second phase of its reopening plan. If the number of new cases levels off, the state could see more restrictions being rolled back as soon as next week.
Nevada has recorded 10,399 positive tests for COVID-19 and the virus is blamed for 458 deaths in the state as of Thursday.
Both music festivals have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
Riverside County's public health officer signed an order Wednesday to cancel the popular events outside Palm Springs.
Health officials are concerned about a possible surge in coronavirus cases in the fall. The festivals are typically held in April but previously were postponed until October. Health officials now say they aren't "comfortable moving forward."
Cal Fire is gearing up for wildfire season. But how will the agency handle social distancing and other coronavirus restrictions in the midst of a natural disaster?
In an interview on Insight with Beth Ruyak, Cal Fire Director Thom Porter said this is a question the agency has been working through for several months.
When firefighters are deployed to a major event, they travel together and stay in base camps where they’re fed together. Porter said that his plan is to double-down on the initial attacks on wildfires, hitting every fire as soon as possible to keep them as small as possible, “so we don't have then that next piece of developing fires that require a large base camp or thousands of firefighters to congregate in order to put the fires out.”
Cal Fire is also working with the Red Cross and the state Office of Emergency Services to plan for setting up evacuation centers that follow COVID-19 restrictions when fire danger forces people from their homes.
There have only been three confirmed cases of the coronavirus among Cal Fire employees, a department of 7,000, according to Porter.
Tesla employees say there are new coronavirus cases among co-workers after Elon Musk defied Alameda County health orders and reopened its main production plant in Fremont.
Employees told the Washington Post that they found out about the cases during meetings with supervisors and they confirmed at least two cases at the seat assembly facility near the Fremont plant.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Tesla notified the Alameda County Public Health Department about the cases.
“We are working with Tesla to investigate and ensure appropriate public health measures are in place,” said Alameda County Public Health spokeswoman Neetu Balram in an e-mail to the Chronicle.
Tesla has not responded to requests for comments from media organizations.
It is not clear from employees or from the county health department on whether these workers were infected on the job or off site.
California judicial leaders delayed a decision on ending statewide emergency orders suspending foreclosures and evictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
State lawmakers meanwhile are scrambling to expand safeguards.
The courts' consideration prompted objections from housing advocates who said the move could lead to a wave of renters being forced onto the streets.
Wednesday, June 10
The California Assembly narrowly passed a proposal to allow state legislators to vote remotely during emergencies.
Lawmakers were regretting not being able to take votes during a weeks-long recess amid the pandemic. The measure approved today comes as other states and cities have relaxed rules for voting remotely.
The state Senate has until June 25 to pass the proposed constitutional amendment and place it on the November ballot, where voters will have the final say.
The Legislature stopped work for the first time in 158 years in the middle of March due to the coronavirus, before resuming committee meetings in early May.
As some areas in California report spikes in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Gavin Newsom isn’t backing down from plans to let additional businesses resume operations this weekend.
He says testing, personal protective equipment and contact-tracing efforts have ramped up significantly over the course of the state’s battle against the disease.
Compared to 90 days ago, “we’re in a completely different place to prepare for an inevitable increase,” Newsom said. “We’ve made it abundantly clear that we anticipate an increase in the total number of positive cases” as new sectors return to work.
Gyms, bars, schools, movie theaters and more are being allowed to reopen as soon as Friday with new measures to allow for social distancing and increased sanitation.
The governor made the comments Tuesday in Oakland — an area, he pointed out, that has moved at a slower pace to reopen certain parts of the economy than the rest of the state. “I respect the role of local leaders to make that decision on their own terms, based on their own conditions,” he said.
Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Fresno and other counties have been placed on a “watch list” by the California Department of Public Health for increased numbers.
Stockton City Council members rejected an emergency ordinance to require masks at stores, retail shops, and workplaces during Tuesday’s meeting.
According to state guidelines for stage 2 of reopening, San Joaquin County needs to show less than 190 coronavirus cases over a 14-day period.
Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs says the county has seen more than 300 cases in the past two weeks.
He announced the vote last night on social media.
“Every single council member voted against the mask ordinance, although our city hall and city staff follow those guidelines,” Tubbs said on Twitter. “I have serious concerns about our ability to stay open without measures to mitigate the spread, and am disappointed in council’s action tonight.”
California placed San Joaquin County on a state watch list this week after it experienced a spike of COVID-19-related hospitalizations.
The statewide emergency orders that suspend foreclosures and evictions during the coronavirus pandemic may end early.
The AP reports California’s Judicial Council is set to vote Wednesday on whether to lift the rules as California reduces stay-at-home orders that helped slow the spread of the virus.
Council members delayed all eviction cases in April.
Lawmakers and advocates say the group may be acting too soon and the vote could disproportionately harm minorities in the middle of civil unrest over police violence.
Tuesday, June 9
Yosemite will reopen with restrictions this week after being closed for more than 2 1/2 months because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Officials say the number of visitors admitted to the National Park starting Thursday will be restricted to about half those that normally visit this time of year. In addition some park facilities including campgrounds and visitor centers will remain closed or have limited access to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Yosemite had about 4.6 million visitors in 2019. The park was shut down March 20.
The health officer for Southern California's Orange County has resigned after receiving threats over her order for residents to wear face coverings when near others in public to protect against the coronavirus.
Dr. Nichole Quick left her job late Monday. An official with California's public health officers' association says Quick is the seventh senior health official in the state to leave her job since the pandemic began.
Orange County residents opposed to the mask order protested outside Quick's home and brought a banner to a public meeting that depicted her as a Nazi.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report
Stockton City Council members will consider an ordinance to require everyone to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during a special session Tuesday.
Here’s the recommendation:
It is recommended that the City Council adopt an urgency ordinance that requires all members of the public and workers to wear face coverings or masks, covering the mouth and nose, when they need to interact with others outside the home and especially in settings where many people are present to prevent inadvertently spreading COVID-19 in the City of Stockton, and calling on San Joaquin County Public Health Services to require the same measure.
On his Facebook page, Mayor Michael Tubbs said San Joaquin County is on a state watch list due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.
“I worked to bring testing here and am now proposing the wearing of masks in public so that we are able to keep opening up in a smart way,” Tubbs said on his Facebook page.
Nevada is holding its first-ever election almost entirely by mail while accommodating a new law that allows voters to register at the polls.
The goal is to keep people safe amid the pandemic.
The Secretary of State limited the number of polling places for Tuesday’s primary and sent absentee ballots to voters.
The top-ticket races include Nevada's four U.S House members who are all seeking re-election this year. Tuesday’s primary will settle who they face in November.
Monday, June 8
California's Department of Education has released a detailed how-to guide to safely reopen schools in the age of face masks and physical distancing.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond says it will serve as a road map for school districts as they prepare for the return of classes.
Thurmond says many parents have also expressed an interest in continuing online learning, which will be incorporated.
Schools throughout California have been closed since mid-March when Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order due to the pandemic.
Stockton is giving restaurants more room for social distancing by allowing seating on public sidewalks.
The city is offering temporary outdoor dining permits and relaxing its rules on signage so businesses can more easily communicate with their customers.
Lisa Whirlow with Whirlows on the Miracle Mile says many of her customers prefer the idea of eating outdoors.
“A lot of people want to sit outside. They think it’s healthier," she said. "They’re probably not going to want to sit out when it’s 100, 105, but the evenings, Stockton has nice weather for eating out and it’s a good thing for everybody.”
The city has stated that the restaurants are critical to the local economy and promised to get the no-fee permits issued as soon as possible.
Even though tasting rooms are still closed, wine lovers can again share a bottle at local wineries.
California wineries have been closed since late March.
The State’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has relaxed rules that allow winery customers to buy a bottle to enjoy outside of tasting rooms, as long as they order food to go with it.
Bokisch Vineyards manager Kristine DeBock says the Lodi winery has 100 acres and picnic tables outside that can accommodate 150 people.
The winery opened up last weekend, and she says the word was put out on social media with an instant response.
“Within two minutes our phones and emails were ringing off the hook and blowing up, so it was an absolutely positive experience for us to see that everyone missed us as much as we missed them,” said DeBock.
Not all wineries will be opening up due to size or space restrictions, but many feel it’s a step in the right direction.
Retail workers across the country are facing insults, threats and even attacks from customers upset over being told they had to comply with coronavirus restrictions in stores.
One retail store manager in Modesto has decided to fight back with a Facebook page called "Retail Life During COVID-19."
After posting a photo of her bruised and bloody face that she said she suffered after being punched by an angry shopper, Samantha Clarke quickly accumulated tens of thousands of followers. Some told her their stories of similar harassment.
Friday, June 5
California plans to allow bars and gyms to reopen next week — with restrictions like not allowing customers to pull up a stool at a bar or possibly shower after breaking a sweat during a workout.
The Department of Public Health also issued new guidelines for those businesses as well as schools, day camps, casinos and the film and entertainment industry on Friday.
As with previous businesses that have reopened under the state’s “phase two” modifications, there will be a variety of restrictions for the new fleet of reopenings. Teachers at schools will be required to wear face shields, and students will be provided face coverings.
Counties that have met certain benchmarks will be allowed to start reopening these businesses on Friday, June 12.
Another California state prison employee died Wednesday after testing positive for coronavirus.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Dana Simas said the employee worked in plant operations at Ironwood State Prison in eastern Riverside County.
The department did not release any more information, citing the family’s privacy.
According to the AP, nearly 400 Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation employees have tested positive, but nearly half of those people have returned to work.
Nevada's lawyers are defending Gov. Steve Sisolak’s 50-person cap on religious gatherings in a legal battle with leaders of a church who say it violates their constitutional right to exercise their beliefs.
The governor’s order was aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.
Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford is urging a federal judge in Reno to deny an order sought by leaders of Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley to invalidate the state’s COVID-19 restrictions so up to 90 people can attend services at a time. The church, located outside of Carson City, has a regular capacity of 200 people.
Church leaders say the hard cap violates their religious freedom, treating them differently than many businesses who have been allowed to reopen at 50% capacity.
A hearing is set for Tuesday on their request for a temporary injunction suspending the cap after a judge denied their bid last week for an emergency order.
According to CDC guidelines, faith-based gatherings present a risk for COVID-19. The CDC has offered "suggestions for faith communities to consider and accept, reject, or modify, consistent with their own faith traditions, in the course of preparing to reconvene for in-person gatherings while still working to prevent the spread of COVID-19."
Thursday, June 4
Taxes on gambling revenue provide nearly one-fifth of Nevada’s budget. So when Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered casinos to close in March, it was unprecedented.
Resorts are now back open for the first time since stay-at-home orders went into effect, under Phase Two of Sisolak’s reopening plan. But in order to welcome visitors back, they had to adopt new safety measures.
Those include limiting the number of guests to half capacity, installing plexiglass shields between players and dealers and restricting the number of slot machines to encourage physical distancing.
Workers are also required to wear masks, although customers don’t have to.
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order Wednesday aimed at helping Californians vote in a safe, and accessible manner during the November election, while curbing the spread of COVID-19.
“We are committed to protecting the hard-fought right for Californians to make their voices heard this November, even in the face of a pandemic,” said Newsom said in a statement.
In addition to making sure there are enough in-person voting opportunities that maintain physical distancing, the executive order rules include:
- Counties that are unable to comply with current law need to provide three days of early voting starting the Saturday before election day
- Ballot drop-box locations need to be available between October 6 and November 3
- Counties are allowed to consolidate voting locations, with at least one voting location per 10,000 registered voters
The executive order comes one month after Newsom decided to send every registered voter a mail-in ballot for the November election.
A slight majority of Californians believe the worst is yet to come for the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey from the Public Policy Institute of California.
PPIC President Marc Baldassare says 69% of African Americans say the worst is coming compared to 41% of whites.
“There are strong racial disparities and income differences in California that have placed Californians, especially African Americans, in a very vulnerable situation during this particular health and economic crisis,” said Baldassare.
The economic impacts of the pandemic are far-reaching — one in three California adults has reported a job loss due to the virus, and just over half of those surveyed say someone in their household has lost income or had work hours reduced.
Overall, Californians approve of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s handling of the crisis — he has a 65% approval rating, a 12% jump from February. But his revised budget, which proposes steep cuts to education and other public services, is getting mixed reviews.
Wednesday June 3
Yosemite will reopen to wilderness backpackers and hikers climbing Half Dome this Friday.
The national park will be offering more activities in the coming days. They are working with the state and the surrounding counties of Tuolumne, Mariposa, Mono, and Madera to reopen the park fully.
Park Ranger Scott Gediman said that reopening will see much smaller crowds, though.
“By managing the visitation and trying to keep it at 50% of the levels, we feel that this is a good balance,” he said.
Other reasons include more social distancing, a limited staff to accommodate visitors, and fewer campgrounds available.
He reminded backpackers and Half Dome hikers coming this weekend to bring all their food, water, and a full tank of gas because no stores will be open.
As the economy reopens in California and around the country, health experts have warned of a potential second wave of the coronavirus.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, California is one of about 20 states where new cases are increasing over the past five days.
According to a Los Angeles Times analysis, the number of weekly cases in California exceeded 17,000 last week for the first time during the pandemic.
The University of Southern California has announced plans to offer in-person classes for the Fall 2020 semester.
University president Carol Folt informed the campus community in an online letter Tuesday. USC plans on starting classes on August 17 and ending final exams by Thanksgiving.
“By ending the semester before Thanksgiving, we are aiming to minimize the spread of the virus, particularly as the flu season commences,” Folt said in the letter.
The campus will also offer online sessions for every in-person class in order to offer more flexibility for students, faculty and staff.
Folt added: “Please understand that these plans remain contingent on several factors, including the continued spread of COVID-19, and the health orders from state and local authorities. So, things could change, but we are excited to move forward and to have you back.”
Casinos in Nevada are reopening Thursday, after being shuttered for more than two months.
Workers are now weighing the health risks of returning to work in one of the country's entertainment and hospitality capitals.
Labor leaders such as Geoconda Argüello-Kline want more transparency from Nevada resorts.
Argüello-Kline is the secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and she says their 60,000 members want to see hotels and casinos make their full COVID-19 mitigation plans available to the public, rather than the partial plans that have been released so far.
Her union is also calling for hotels and casinos to regularly test 100% of their employees.
Tuesday, June 2
Classical Tahoe — an annual music festival held in Incline Village — has lost its artistic director and principal conductor to the coronavirus.
Joel Revzen died last Monday from complications related to COVID-19. He was also an assistant conductor with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
Karen Craig with Classical Tahoe said they've set up the "Joel Revzen Legacy Fund" honoring his vision of enriching the cultural vitality of Lake Tahoe.
"It's been amazing just to see the number of musicians who have worked with him over a dozen years contributing to that fund from all over the country along with people from our community here in the Sierra,” Craig said.
Revzen was 74-years-old.
Butte County announced its first death from COVID-19 on Monday.
County health officials say the person — who died while being hospitalized — was over 65-years-old and had experienced multiple underlying health conditions.
The county has seen a jump in confirmed cases recently, including seven on Monday. There have now been 51 cases confirmed in Butte County, up from 34 one week ago. While some is due to increased testing, last week health officials announced increased community spread in the Oroville area.
Meanwhile in Sacramento County, the death toll stands at 58 and there are currently at least 1,429 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Blood collection company Vitalant announced that it will test all blood donations for coronavirus antibodies.
On its website, Vitalant says it will use an FDA-authorized antibody test on each donation.
"While a positive antibody test does not mean that someone is immune to COVID-19, it does mean that they may be eligible to donate convalescent plasma in the future and help people with the disease," Vitalant chief of marketing Cliff Numark told KQED News.
The nonprofit group serves patients throughout the state. It says it has a critical need for blood donations.
Los Angeles County officials reported an additional 22 coronavirus-linked deaths Monday, including a pregnant woman who had tested positive for the virus and had underlying health issues.
According to the LA Times, this is the first of its kind in the county related to COVID-19.
Health officials say at least 228 pregnant women in L.A. County have tested positive for the virus and 79% of them were symptomatic.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the woman who died had significant underlying health issues.
Monday, June 1
Safety concerns over COVID-19 delayed the start of census takers’ visits to homes in Los Angeles County Monday.
LAist.com reports Orange County is resuming census visits today and Ventura and San Bernardino counties reopened their offices last week to begin the so-called process of “Update Leave.” This means census workers can drop off questionnaires at homes in remote areas.
According to the LA Census office, it is not safe to send census takers into LA communities and the county’s health department has not signed off on this work.
Several protesters are weighing the risks of demonstrating in public as California and communities around the nation struggle with containing COVID-19 cases.
Mass demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd extended from Sacramento down to San Diego this weekend.
The state’s Department of Public Health shared guidelines for how to protest safely during the pandemic.
The LA Times reports that even six feet of distance between protesters may not be enough to prevent virus transmission among protesters.
“If you have breakdowns in social distancing and don’t have masks on, then you’re deeply in trouble,” said UC San Francisco epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford.
Friday, May 29
The Sacramento County Regional Parks Department is closing Discovery Park and Tiscornia Beach, two popular riverfront spots, for one day on Saturday, May 30.
We’ve become aware of three separate, large & unpermitted events planned for Discovery Park/Tiscornia Beach on 5/30, so in an effort to protect public safety & health, these areas will be CLOSED on 5/30. The park will re-open on 5/31. The multi-use trail will remain open. pic.twitter.com/XV56BR2a1N— SacRegionalParks (@SacRegionalPark) May 29, 2020
The department decided to close the parks after learning of three large, unpermitted events planned for those parks that day. The parks will reopen on May 31, and the multi-use trail will remain open through the weekend.
All park picnic sites and barbecue areas in the county remain closed due to COVID-19, and individuals are required to follow social distancing requirements while visiting parks.
Colusa County supervisors voted to stop enforcing any COVID-19 guidance or orders, including Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide shelter-in-place order, during a special meeting Thursday.
It was an unanimous vote.
“The Colusa County Board of Supervisors support all citizens, businesses, schools, churches, and organizations in exercising their constitutional rights,” said Supervisor Gary Evans in a press release.
This move allows the reopening of all businesses in Colusa County.
The pandemic has made it harder for forestry workers to plant seedlings in the Plumas National Forest, which was damaged by last year's Walker Fire.
They were working with Placerville Nursery, who had to stop delivering seedlings because of the shutdown. So conservation workers made a middle-of-the-night run, rescuing about 25,000 seedlings, and made to take the 3-hour drive from Placerville to the Plumas National Forest.
Feather River Resource Conservation District Manager Brad Graevs says the move was necessary because the planting couldn't wait as the soil gets too dry by late May.
Thurday, May 28
Yolo County has ended its local shelter-in-place order, while maintaining an order for residents to wear face coverings in public and emphasizing personal responsibility.
California’s statewide stay-at-home order is still in effect, and still applies to Yolo County residents.
Businesses that aren’t approved by state and local health officers are still prohibited from opening, and residents are still encouraged to practice proper social distancing and hygiene.
The new order also allows for residents to resume activities now permitted under phase 2 of the statewide reopening. You can track which activities have been approved by Yolo County’s health officer here.
California’s employment picture is still bleak even as some businesses reopen following COVID-19 shutdowns.
But one new statistic offers a bit of hope: The state recorded 212,300 first-time jobless claims last week, the lowest level in two months, according to a U.S. Labor Department report released Thursday.
The figure represents workers who have applied for unemployment benefits due to lost jobs or hours.
That number is down from last week’s 244,000 applications and is the lowest weekly total since the week ending March 21, when 186,000 Californians filed first-time unemployment claims at the beginning of the statewide closures.
Last week, the state’s Employment Development Department announced it had processed 5.1 million unemployment claims since March 12. It also reported that California’s jobless rate nearly tripled in April to a record high 15.5 percent as employers eliminated 2.3 million jobs statewide.
On Wednesday, EDD said it will hire approximately 1,800 new staff to speed up the processing and delivery of unemployment benefits. The state agency has struggled to handle the huge volume of claims and many have complained about long waits to reach customer service representatives by phone.
CapRadio is answering questions here about California’s unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 crisis.
Landlords could not evict commercial and residential tenants in Davis if they couldn't pay rent in April and May, and now they won't be able to in June, either.
The city is the first in the Sacramento area to extend its local emergency and allow renter relief due to the COVID-19 crisis into next month.
Tenants have to provide a written notice to their landlord no more than 10 days after the rent is due and show proof they've been impacted financially by the pandemic.
Tenants will have to pay back the rent eventually. The city is giving them six months after the local emergency expires.
In a move to slow COVID-19 cases, the state department of public health issued new rules for testing health care professionals and residents at nursing homes.
According to the LA Times, state health officials sent a letter to all skilled nursing facilities in California instructing them to test all residents and staff at least once.
“Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) have been severely impacted by COVID-19, with outbreaks causing high morbidity and mortality,” said the department’s deputy director Heidi Steinecker in the letter. “The vulnerable nature of the SNF population combined with the inherent risks of congregate living in a healthcare setting requires aggressive efforts to limit COVID-19 exposure and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within SNFs.”
If a nursing home shows no cases, the new rules require it to continue testing 25% of residents and healthcare workers on a weekly basis. The facility must also ensure that all staff members are tested once per month.
California is updating a list of skilled nursing facilities with confirmed COVID-19 cases here.
Steep room discounts and free airline tickets are just some of the ways Nevada casinos are trying to bring back customers after the state set a date for reopening on June 4.
The AP reports promotions began Wednesday after Gov. Steve Sisolak lifted the casino shut-down order he imposed in mid-March to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“I want to welcome you back to Las Vegas and in doing so, we’re buying a thousand flights, from various cities around the country on a number of airlines,” said Derek Stevens, owner of the D Las Vegas, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino and Circa Sports, in a video on the resort’s website. “It’s on us.”
In Lake Tahoe, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at Lake Tahoe offered free one-night stays to essential workers and one-night room rates of $20.20, as part of a “Reboot Your Year” promotion.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board issued new health and safety rules for resorts who are reopening, including:
- Having face coverings available for patrons and guests.
- Encouraging patrons and guests to wear face coverings while in public places.
- Requiring hotel guests to complete a symptom self-assessment upon check-in.
Wednesday, May 27
California is facing a steep budget shortfall, and Gov. Gavin Newsom says he may have to cut programs to make ends meet. But some people who work for those programs are pushing back.
Service providers such as Andrea Noble, who helps out elderly and disabled Californians for the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program, are demanding the state look for other solutions. IHSS is facing cuts of nearly $300 million. Two-thirds of that would come from a reduction in service hours.
“I don’t think it’s fair for the governor or the legislature to cut IHSS workers,” Noble said at a union-organized car protest outside the state capitol Wednesday. “We’re always the ones getting cut.”
But with such a big deficit hole, there are workers and advocates like Noble across the state protesting similar cuts to their programs.
State workers could see a 10% pay cut. Education and public safety could get slashed, too, which would likely result in teacher and first responder layoffs as local governments struggle with their own budget deficits.
Newsom is hoping to prevent the deepest cuts with federal aid — but that may not come through.
Still, some lawmakers, like Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, say there may be a way to save some of these programs from the deepest cuts — by raising some taxes.
“There’s a whole set of possibilities,” Bonta said, including temporary tax hikes for corporations and the wealthiest Californians. “I’m not saying they all will work, but maybe some could,” he said.
Bonta said he and several of his Democratic colleagues are hesitant to cut health and social services, especially during a pandemic.
“We can’t just say they’re heroes, we need to show that they’re heroes,” he said of frontline service providers. “They need us to invest in them, not cut from them."
As of Wednesday afternoon, COVID-19 has taken 100,000 lives nationwide, accounting for nearly one-third of all the known lives lost worldwide to the pandemic. People have died from the disease in all 50 states and most U.S. territories.
Public health experts say the coronavirus has exposed the vulnerability of a wide range of Americans and the shortcomings of a U.S. health care system faced with a deadly pandemic.
"What is different about this is, it is affecting all of us in a variety of ways, even if some of us are able to social distance in more effective ways than others," sociology professor Kathleen Cagney, who directs the University of Chicago's Population Research Center, told NPR "But we all feel at risk."
The California Employment Development Department is conducting a mass-hiring to deal with a huge backlog of claims that has led to sharp criticism of the department.
The EDD says it's looking to hire 1,800 temporary workers over the next several weeks to speed up the delivery of benefits. The agency says the new hires will be trained in call center operations, processing claims, and analyzing documents from filers and employers to help determine wage benefits.
EDD has received increased federal funding to support the staffing increase it says is necessary to deal with historic demand. As of the middle of the month, EDD had processed over 5 million claims for unemployment and paid more than $16 billion in benefits to workers who've filed since the pandemic began.
Find answers to questions about unemployment in California here.
Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed.
Another 31% simply aren't sure, while 20% say they'd refuse. That's according to a survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Among Americans who say they wouldn’t get vaccinated, 7 in 10 worry about safety. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told the AP that while scientists are working quickly, all testing and safety protocols will be followed before releasing any vaccine.
As part of cost-cutting moves in response to COVID-19, the Oakland Athletics will place their scouts and front office employees on furlough and suspend pay for minor leaguers.
SFGate reports the team will also cut the salaries of other executives.
“COVID-19 has brought a tragic loss of life and sickness to so many in our community, and it has impacted us all in ways we could have never imagined,” said A's owner John Fisher in a letter to fans and staff. “Our organization, like so many others across the country, has had to make tough and painful decisions.”
According to the Mercury News, the team has not paid its rent on the Oakland Coliseum because of the pandemic.
A revised order released Tuesday night from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health allows the reopening of several activities, from religious services to in-store shopping at so-called low-risk stores.
Under the order, indoor malls and shopping centers can open up to 50% capacity and faith-based organizations can hold services with a limit of 25% of the buildings capacity.
The changes follow Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order that allows hair salons and barbershops to open in several counties throughout the state, with restrictions.
Tuesday, May 26
Scientists say the hot weather could help stop the spread of COVID-19.
On Insight with Beth Ruyak Tuesday, UC Davis Children’s Hospital Pediatric Infectious Diseases Chief Dr. Dean Blumberg said there are several factors to consider. One is that people go outside when it heats up.
"If people are outdoors more in the summer, which they may not be during this extreme heat, that's a great way to interrupt transmission of virus because most of the transmission occurs indoors and that's why there's more transmission during the winter," Blumberg said.
The other factors are that the virus doesn't survive as well in heat and high humidity.
But Blumberg warns that since this is a novel virus and the vast majority of the population is still susceptible to it, we could have continuing transmission in the summer as we did in 2009 with a strain of the swine flu.
The city of Sacramento will be voting on how to allocate part of its $89.6 million in federal stimulus funds Tuesday.
Councilmember Jay Schenirer is proposing that $2 million of the stimulus be spent on summer learning for the city’s youth. An additional $250,000 is being proposed to be spent on youth workforce training, and another $250,000 could be put towards youth mental health services.
“There’s an opportunity to really help those and bridge the gap that’s been caused by COVID-19 and also thinking about what we need in our communities,” Schenirer said. “Lots of groups are asking for dollars, lots of groups have gotten hurt by this, but I believe youth has to be a priority for us as we move forward.”
The city is also voting on a plan to use $550,000 of federal stimulus money to provide free internet access for students in need.
Officials said they did not want summer programs to just be distance learning programs, though they acknowledged they would be taking the safety of in-person gatherings into account. Some suggestions included summer classes limited to 10 students, in addition to virtual mental health check-ins and online physical education and arts classes.
“We’re not calling this summer school, we’re calling it summer enrichment. We have an opportunity to do social emotional learning, we have an opportunity to do mental health services,” Schenirer said. “I think there’s a lot we can do for these young people to keep them interested.”
Cooped-up Americans are snapping up new bicycles or dusting off old bikes to stay fit, keep their sanity or have a safe alternative to public transportation.
The AP reports that the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a boon for bike shops, which have seen a surge in sales.
In California and around the nation, bicycles are selling out and officials are trying to take advantage of the growing trend by expanding bike lanes or widening existing ones to make space for commuters on two wheels.
The Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation shutdown Eaton Canyon Trail this weekend due to a high volume of hikers who were not wearing face masks or observing social distancing guidelines.
“While we understand that trails are a beloved form of recreation that offers much-needed opportunities for exercise, respite, getting fresh air, and connecting with nature, the public did not follow the guidelines required, and it put themselves and staff at risk,” LA County Parks officials said on their website.
LA County Park officials say many visitors ignored instructions issued by park monitors and many visitors also entered the park and trail through unauthorized or temporarily closed trail access points. They say they had no choice but to close the trailhead and trail because of this behavior.
Eaton Canyon Trail will stay closed through Sunday.
Monday, May 25
The state of California says all counties now have the discretion to allow stores and churches to allow people inside their doors, pending county approval. Churches are restricted to 25% occupancy with a 100-person maximum. Previous guidelines of face coverings and six feet of social distancing are still in place for churches and retail stores.
Ross Rojek and his wife Heidi own Capital Books on K Street in Sacramento. He says they and their customers have been waiting for this day.
“We’ve met a lot of new people. We’ve got a lot of new customers and now they’re starting to come into the store for the first time," Rojek said. "For a lot of them they’re excited about that because they’ve only just talked to us on the phone, and emailed us and seen pictures online and now finally they get to come in and see the store and shop the shelves.”
Rojek says Capital Books actually benefited from the COVID-19 shutdown because of the store’s ability to fill orders quickly, while large online outfits struggled. The bookstore is also now carrying more puzzles, educational materials and children’s books.
The Downtown Sacramento Partnership says more than half of downtown businesses have reopened as of last week. Nail salons and barbershops are still not allowed to open.
The coronavirus hasn't been kind to car owners.
With more people than ever staying home to lessen the spread of COVID-19, their sedans, pickup trucks and SUVs are parked unattended on the streets. That makes them easy targets for thieves.
Despite silent streets and nearly nonexistent traffic, vehicle larcenies shot up 63% in New York and nearly 17% in Los Angeles since the year started, compared with the same period last year.
Many law enforcement agencies around the U.S. are reporting an increase in stolen cars and vehicle burglaries, even as violent crime has dropped dramatically nationwide in the coronavirus pandemic.
— The Associated Press
Butte County confirmed 12 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, mostly in the Oroville area, health officials announced Friday.
In a press release, Butte County Public Health says the jump is in part due to more testing, but also indicates "increased community spread in the Oroville area." Five people were hospitalized with COVID-19 related illnesses last week.
Only one of the new cases is linked to a Mother's Day church service where 180 people were potentially exposed to the virus. Overall, 34 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Butte County since March, or 15 cases per 100,000 people. No COVID-19 related deaths have been reported in the county.
Health officials encouraged residents to continue following reopening guidelines, including wearing masks in public places, limiting travel, avoiding gatherings, and keeping six-feet away from others.
An appeals court has upheld California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban on in-person church services amid the coronavirus pandemic. The split ruling found that government’s emergency powers override what in normal times would be fundamental constitutional rights.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that South Bay United Pentecostal Church in San Diego cannot reopen immediately, the Los Angeles Times reported. The judges in the majority wrote that the state can use unusual powers as it deals with a “contagious and often fatal disease.”
The decision is likely to further anger opponents who claim that California’s rules violate religious freedoms.
— The Associated Press
Saturday, May 23
Hundreds of protesters rallied outside the state Capitol on Saturday to protest against California's stay-at-home orders even as residents entered the Memorial Day weekend with newly expanded options for going to the beach, barbecuing and shopping.
Restrictions have been eased across much of the state, with some 45 of 58 counties receiving permission over the past two weeks to reopen most stores and many public spaces by meeting state standards for controlling the coronavirus.
Expected high temperatures this weekend are expected to lure people to beaches, hiking trails and bike paths. But authorities are warning visitors to practice social distancing and other other anti-virus measures, noting that the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to rise — just more slowly.
— The Associated Press
Friday, May 22
More than a quarter of Nevadans are out of work.
That’s according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, which released its April 2020 economic report today. It's the first one showing the full impact of coronavirus-related closures.
Dave Schmidt is chief economist for the department. He says Nevada’s unemployment rate was over 28%, more than double the previous record.
Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation followed by Michigan, which had a rate of 22.7%. Nevada now also has the highest unemployment rate of any state, of any month, dating back to 1976.
Casinos represent a large percent of Nevada’s revenues and labor market. They remain closed, even though the state has begun the first phase of its reopening plan.
California lawmakers say the state isn’t paying unemployment benefits fast enough.
Many say their offices are overwhelmed by constituents calling for help because they’re unable to get into the system or file a claim.
EDD has extended its phone hours, and its director told lawmakers she’s bringing on 600 more employees to help meet demand. But at a legislative hearing Thursday, lawmakers including San Francisco Democrat David Chiu said it’s still not enough.
“I get that there is an unprecedented workload, but I believe that government can do better and it has to do better during this time,” Chiu said.
California has paid more than $12 billion in unemployment benefits since mid-March. The governor’s office is projecting a peak unemployment rate of nearly 25 percent this year.
The state lost a record 2.3 million jobs in April, according to figures released Friday, and its unemployment rate nearly tripled to 15.5%.
“The unprecedented job losses are like nothing before seen in California history in a current data series that dates back to 1976, and are a direct result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” EDD said in the jobs report.
Big Bear Lake city council members voted to allow businesses and residents to do what they want to do in regard to California’s stay-at-home order.
Big Bear Grizzly reports the council approved this statement during a special meeting Thursday:
“City will not enforce governor’s orders, encourages all businesses and residents to maintain 6 feet of separation, wear face coverings and practice good hygiene as outlined in city plan.”
City manager Frank Rush says this is because of the low number of cases in the area and the businesses who are suffering economic and social harm due to the stay-at-home-order.
New reports show high unemployment rates are expected to last through 2021 in Southern California.
The LA Times reviewed a new study by McKinsey & Co. who examined data from Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.
The consulting firm identified 4 million jobs are vulnerable across the region, which covers workers who have lost their jobs as well as those at risk of being placed on unpaid leave or having wages cut due to coronavirus.
Thursday, May 21
San Joaquin, Fresno and Alpine are the latest counties to receive state approval to reopen malls and restaurants under what‘s known as “expanded Stage 2.”
It means some businesses can open beyond what’s allowed statewide, as long as specific sanitation and social distancing measures are implemented.
Counties have to meet certain testing and epidemiological benchmarks in order to be granted the status. Gov. Gavin Newsom loosened the criteria earlier this week, opening the doors for more counties to reopen additional businesses.
So far, more than 40 counties with a combined population of 13.2 million have been approved.
A sparsely populated farming region of California is struggling with a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The surge in Imperial County, east of San Diego, prompted the county’s two hospitals to divert COVID-19 patients elsewhere on Tuesday, according to KPBS. They’ve since resumed accepting patients.
Adolphe Edward, CEO of the El Centro Regional Medical Center, said in a Facebook video Wednesday that the hospital had 53 COVID-19 patients. That was down from 65 on Tuesday ― a rise that hospital officials attributed to U.S. citizens living in Mexico coming to the county for treatment.
The county has fewer than 300 hospital beds to serve its 181,000 residents. It also has the highest hospitalization rate for coronavirus patients in the state.
As of Thursday, 985 residents have tested positive and 19 have died. The seven-day average of newly reported cases was 48 a day.
In a sign of continuing economic pain, 246,000 more Californians filed first-time jobless claims last week, up 33,000 from the week before, the U.S. Department of Labor reported on Thursday morning.
The new figures suggest California’s total jobless claims since the COVID-19 induced shutdowns started in mid-March will soon top 5 million. The state’s Employment Development Department said a week ago it had processed 4.7 million unemployment claims since March 12.
In a news release Thursday afternoon, the agency announced the total had, indeed, topped that figure and reached 5.1 million claims.
The federal report also shows a continued surge in Californians applying for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, including 112,000 new claims last week. More than 136,000 applied the week before.
The PUA provides a minimum “base benefit” of $167 per week for people in the non-traditional part of the workforce who have lost jobs due to COVID-19, including part-time workers, independent contractors, the self-employed and others who traditionally do not qualify for unemployment help.
On top of their base benefit, affected workers are eligible for $600 per week in unemployment assistance through the end of July. The PUA is a federal program approved as part of the CARES Act in March. It is administered by EDD, though it did not start accepting applications until late last month.
Also on Thursday, state lawmakers questioned EDD Director Sharon Hilliard during an Assembly Budget Subcommittee hearing. The state agency has been overwhelmed with unemployment claims and phone calls from those seeking information about their benefits. Several lawmakers urged Hilliard to ensure the agency’s staff provide answers more quickly.
The director said EDD was getting ready to hire 1,800 more employees over the next two weeks to work on insurance claims and answer calls.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced Thursday that about 10,000 low-income households in the city may soon be getting free internet service.
"This is part of our drive to build a modern, inclusive economy," Steinberg said. It's about school kids yes, but it's about entire families."
City School Board Member Mai Vang says it's an investment in building Sacramento's digital infrastructure.
"Throughout Sacramento, the lack of access [to the] internet isn't something new, right?" Vang said. "It has plagued our low-income families long before the pandemic and if we don't have a long term strategy, eventually it's going to be an issue."
The City Council will vote next week on a plan to use more than $500,000 of federal stimulus money — provided by the CARES Act — to partner with Comcast. People will be able to get 60 days of free internet service and then pay only $10 a month. Vice Mayor Angelique Ashby says the program is intended for low-income people.
"We will help you pay for six months after your first two free months with Comcast," Ashby said. "This should get 10,000 people in the city of Sacramento connected through the end of 2020."
After that, Steinberg says it depends on the city's "fiscal situation" as to whether the program will continue. The federal stimulus money will also be used to pay for a-thousand low-cost computers. The full city council is expected to approve the plan next Tuesday.
The California Department of Public Health approved requests from San Diego and Sacramento counties to move into the so-called “expanded" Stage 2 of the state’s reopening plan.
They join the expanding list of counties who have filed for permission to allow specific businesses to reopen with physical distancing and sanitation measures.
According to the department, counties who have made it this stage have a plan in place to help meet the state’s goal for reopening in a way that minimizes risk for COVID-19, including:
- Limiting non-essential movement and mixing of populations
- Delaying the opening of environments in which there is prolonged and close contact as part of the way business must operate
The approval allows counties to open up businesses such as dine-in restaurants, retails stores and malls, and schools with modifications.
State Schools Superintendent Tony Thurmond said he expects school for the state’s 6 million students to resume as usual in late August or September with a hybrid format of in-person and distance learning.
According to the Associated Press, Thurmond says students, teachers and staff will most likely have to wear masks.
University of California President Janet Napolitano gave a similar forecast Wednesday for how the system’s 10 campuses may look come fall. She told UC Regents Wednesday that most campuses are still making decisions on their fall scenarios, which may be finalized in next month.
Wednesday, May 20
California has now approved 37 counties to reopen restaurants and malls with modifications. Yolo, Stanislaus, Kern, Ventura and several other counties were given the green light to move into what the California Department of Public Health is calling “expanded Stage 2” on Wednesday.
It means these additional businesses can resume operations with sanitation and physical distancing measures:
- Retail stores including shopping malls and swap meets
- Dine-in restaurants (other amenities, like bars or gaming areas, are not permitted)
- Schools with modifications
Six million Californians live within counties that have been approved for additional reopenings.
On Tuesday, Sacramento County announced it had been approved, but it is not yet listed on the state’s website. No county with a population of more than 1 million has been approved yet.
You can find a lot of information — and misinformation — about COVID-19 on the internet. Pharmacy students at University of the Pacific are setting the record straight by busting the myths online.
Assistant Professor Yvonne Mai at the UOP School of Pharmacy, along with nine students, are debunking 24 common myths on their website. Myths include: “I’m young and healthy, so I’m immune to the virus,” “Drinking hydrogen peroxide will kill COVID-19,” or “Pets can spread coronavirus.”
To find out the answers, you can visit the website here.
As Sacramento County prepares to loosen some COVID-19 restrictions this week, county Health Services Director Dr. Peter Beilenson is worried about what could happen over Memorial Day weekend.
In an interview on Insight with Beth Ruyak, Beilenson expressed his concerns about “people potentially going hog wild on a beautiful Memorial Day weekend and tying up 35 rafts going down the American River.”
The county has plans this week to allow shopping malls, dine-in restaurants and more to open up. But Beilenson made clear that doesn't mean things can go back to the way they were before the shutdown.
Rafting will not be allowed under the county’s updated guidelines, but beaches will be open over the three-day weekend as long as people practice proper social distancing.
"We do not want a bunch of unrelated people congregating on a bunch of rafts piling up on the American River because that's how you end up with 30 cases and boom you're off to the races in terms of starting up an epidemic again," he said.
Tulare County health officials reported an increase of 101 COVID-19 cases and four more deaths Tuesday, as county supervisors voted to reopen businesses and churches "effective immediately" in defiance of the state's public health orders.
Visalia Times Delta reports Tuesday’s vote covers dine-in restaurants, churches, barbershops, movie theaters and shopping malls.
On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said nursing home outbreaks would prevent Tulare County from moving to the next phase of reopening.
California blood banks are asking COVID-19 survivors to donate plasma.
They’re working with hospitals to get plasma to current coronavirus patients. There’s some evidence showing the antibodies in the plasma could help COVID-19 patients recover faster. This type of plasma does not have FDA approval yet, but it’s considered an investigational product. This is one of many coronavirus therapies that scientists are looking into.
Blood service providers like Vitalant say demand for blood is up 25% now that hospitals are performing regular surgeries again.
Tuesday, May 19
California's second-largest county wants to reopen faster than the current rate.
San Diego County supervisors have voted to ask the state to allow it to be a test case for whether more rapid reopening can safely occur.
The plan approved Tuesday would let it jump ahead in the governor's four-stage plan for counties and try opening everything from condo swimming pools to outdoor religious services with restrictions.
The vote came a day after the governor made it easier for the state's 58 counties to reopen more businesses, saying COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide have declined.
Sacramento and five other California school districts say the governor's proposed budget cuts will delay the reopening of schools.
Los Angeles Unified officials joined the other districts Monday in a letter to legislators, saying they need more money to safely reopen schools. The other districts are San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego and Long Beach.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed $14 billion in budget cuts because of the coronavirus. The superintendents said the idea of reopening schools in a pandemic with a decreased budget is not realistic.
Sacramento County has received approval from the state to move into its expanded Stage 2 reopening, county health officials announced Tuesday.
The approval allows the county to reopen dine-in restaurants, malls and schools with modifications, which they expect to do by Friday. More than 20 counties have been approved since the state announced new guidelines on May 7, though Sacramento was only approved after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced relaxed criteria for counties Monday.
The approval comes as the county announced it would likely extend its own stay-at-home order when it expires Friday.
Temperature checks greeted visitors who lined-up for Monday’s reopening of Viejas Casino & Resort, one of the largest tribal casinos in California. In addition to social distancing rules, visitors had to wear face masks at the casino near San Diego.
The AP reports Win-River Resort & Casino in Redding reopened last week. It was the first tribal casino to reopen in the state after the coronavirus outbreak.
Tribes are sovereign authorities and not subject to state and local restrictions on operations during the pandemic.
Community health centers say they’re seeing a drop-off in patients because many fear being deported or getting infected with coronavirus.
NPR reports public health officials are worried about the communities served by these centers: mostly people with low incomes and immigrants. They say they may not be getting proper health care and testing and they may be unable to quarantine themselves. This could contribute to spreading the coronavirus to the wider population.
Dr. Edgar Chavez is the medical director at Universal Community Health Center in South Los Angeles. He says his patients fear that being tested for the coronavirus will land them on a list to be deported.
"People aren't eating well. They are not exercising, and they are anxious," Chavez said. "I fear that we are going to be hit with a huge wave of uncontrolled patients with chronic care-related conditions, especially diabetes, hypertension and heart disease."
Monday, May 18
The Sacramento Zoo can no longer re-open June 1. The zoo announced earlier today that they were set to re-open with advance safety measures, after receiving initial permission from Sacramento County health officials. The plan was rescinded in the afternoon.
The zoo updated their Facebook page, saying, “We will continue to work with government officials to plan for a safe opening. Thank you for your support and your patience. Please stay tuned.”
Original post: After more than eight weeks closed due to stay-at-home orders, the Sacramento Zoo is set to re-open June 1, but with advanced safety measures.
“Your next zoo visit may be a little different than it was in the past,” park officials wrote in an email. “The biggest change to your visit will be planning.”
The zoo will have physical-distancing guidelines in place, like masks worn by staff and visitors over two years old. Guests will also need to remain six feet away from each other. The zoo will be using a paperless transaction system and paper maps will not be given out.
But the biggest change: There will be a limited number of guests, and all visits will need to be reserved online ahead of time.
The zoo has also announced new arrivals including ostriches, a new female giraffe and a few American alligators.
Tickets go on sale May 22 and the zoo goes live on social media Monday and Wednesdays at 11 a.m.
Truckee Mayor Dave Polivy says that even though there is no mandate for masks in Nevada County, visitors and residents should make wearing them a best practice.
“We're far from out of this and there are some precautions that we all need to take, like face coverings and keeping these physical distances between people,” Polivy said in an interview on Insight with Beth Ruyak Monday.
This past weekend, he said many people around town were not wearing masks and were gathering in small groups. In response, he says visitors to Nevada County and the town need to take more personal responsibility.
“There was definitely a … predominant lack of face coverings along with definitely a lot of gathering and stuff like that going on that both I witnessed myself, but it came through loud and clear in a number of different messages to me,” he said.
Without an order businesses will have to make that decision on their own, he says.
“If we're going to get back on our feet as a community, and as an economy, there are just going to be some changes we all have to make,” he said. “Businesses, mine included, we're just going to require our customers to cover … their mouths.”
Butte County Public Health announced an investigation is underway after a person diagnosed with COVID-19 attended an in-person religious service on Mother’s Day with more than 180 people in attendance.
Health officials say in a press release that the person received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis a day after the service. This person is now in home isolation.
BCPH staff contacted attendees and told them to self-quarantine. BCPH is working with healthcare partners to establish testing for all individuals who attended the service.
Elected leaders in Atwater, a city of 30,000 in central California, agreed not to enforce the stay-at-home order aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.
According to the AP, local authorities will not interfere with any church or business that decides to reopen ahead of state restrictions.
Friday’s declaration was a symbolic gesture of defiance against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order. The city’s mayor says businesses were taking their own risks by reopening.
Michael David Winery in Lodi wants to make the search for a COVID-19 vaccine go viral.
It has a new vintage called Going Viral, a 2018 Merlot produced from old vines in a single vineyard.
Winemaker Michael Phillips says sales from Going Viral will go to his daughter’s research. She is a virologist at UC Santa Cruz who is developing diagnostic testing for antibody responses. This could lead to a vaccine for COVID-19.
“One hundred percent of the proceeds go towards her research that she started on coronavirus,” Phillips said. “It wasn’t planned out that way but it’s definitely working and helping her a lot.”
Phillips has bottled 750 cases for sale which customers can pick up at his winery in Lodi or order online for shipping. They’re going for $21 a bottle.
He says people can drink the wine now or wait a year or so to toast the vaccine’s anticipated arrival, though experts are still unsure when that date may be.
Saturday, May 16
Undocumented adults in California can begin applying for COVID-19 relief grants from the state on Monday.
Those who qualify can receive a $500 cash payment, with a maximum of $1,000 per household.
The grants are available to those who are not eligible for other federal assistance, like the CARES Act stimulus payments or pandemic-related unemployment benefits.
Nonprofit organizations throughout the state were selected to help people apply for and receive the grants. Those who want to apply should contact the nonprofit from their region beginning on Monday, May 18, and no sooner.
Funding is limited — $75 million in total — and recipients will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis.
More information about the program can be found on the state’s website.
Friday, May 15
In its 118-year history, J.C. Penney has gone from a Wyoming-based dry-goods store to being a key pillar of the American mall.
But like many malls across the country, J.C. Penney has been struggling for some time. The coronavirus lockdowns finally took the department store over the brink. The company said Friday that it's filing for bankruptcy and plans to close some of its stores "in phases," the timing and scale of which will be disclosed "in coming weeks."
It's the latest — and likely not the last — retailer whose existing problems led them into bankruptcy during the pandemic, as clothes shopping has fallen off a cliff and the U.S. economy careens into a recession. In April, clothing purchases dove 79% amid a record 16.4% drop in overall retail sales.
Preppy retailer J.Crew and luxury department store Neiman Marcus were the first to turn to Chapter 11 proceedings to renegotiate their debt loads amid the coronavirus. Sears, J.C. Penney's historic rival, went into bankruptcy in 2018.
After two slow business months, California hospitals are disappointed that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new budget proposal doesn’t include financial support for them.
They say without more help, they won’t be ready for a possible second wave of COVID-19 this fall.
Erica Murray, who directs the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, says hospitals have taken a hit.
“They cleared out their spaces, both clinical and non-clinical to expand their capacity for a surge, developed their own capacity for testing … all of those things have had a huge impact to public health systems financially,” Murray said.
Newsom turned down hospitals’ request for $4 billion to help with staff and equipment needed to both treat COVID-19 and see regular patients long-term.
The federal government did give hospitals and clinics $5.3 billion dollars, but the California Hospital Association says it’s not enough. Next, they plan to ask the legislature for support.
The University of Southern California plans on raising tuition prices by 3.5% for the 2020-2021 school year, whether or not the campus opens for lectures.
Annenberg Media reports students will pay $59,260 for tuition, up by more than $2,000 from the year before.
A campus spokesperson says school trustees and university leaders decided to keep the tuition hike plan after reviewing financial ramifications from coronavirus.
USC may announce plans to reopen classrooms or keep online instruction in June. The California State University System announced this week it would not have in-person classes this fall.
A Navy hospital ship that helped out during the coronavirus crisis will depart Los Angeles Harbor Friday, said state officials.
The USNS Mercy docked at the end of March, providing beds for non-coronavirus cases. The goal was to take the load off regional medical centers who expected a surge of COVID-19 patients.
“Our work to protect public health and safety is far from done, but having the Mercy and its highly-trained medical personnel stationed in the most populous region of the state was critical to our ability to respond in the first stages of the pandemic,” said the California Office of Emergency Services in a statement.
Medical teams from the ship will remain in Los Angeles to continue to help with the virus response
Thursday, May 14
The California State Fair is offering some of fairgoers’ favorite foods to go with a drive-thru meal pick-up event next Friday at the California Letters.
The family-style meal includes smoked BBQ brisket, country baked beans, mac 'n' cheese and funnel cake fries.
“The California State Fair team has received an influx of messages from Fair-goers expressing their sadness for missing out on this year’s Fair food,” a press release about the event reads. “The team collaborated together with on-site caterer, Spectra, to come up with a plan and menu.”
People must pre-order their meals online by midnight Tuesday, May 19, and then pick them up on Friday, May 22, between 4 and 6 p.m.
The State Fair says Cal Expo and Spectra have taken precautions to make the event safe. Guests will pull up next to the California Letters at Cal Expo’s Main Gate and open their trunk or unlock their passenger door. A Spectra team member will handle food placement and guests will remain in their car.
Guests are encouraged to pre-order early because there are a limited number of meals and no day-of meal purchases.
Tickets were offered first to State Fair newsletter subscribers, and more than 200 meals have already been sold. Tickets can be purchased and more information can be found at CalExpoStateFair.com.
Plans are already underway for another drive-thru event for May 29.
California’s huge budget shortfall means K-12 schools and community colleges face the biggest decline in revenue — as much as $19 billion — compared with Newsom’s January plan.
Overall, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Thursday “the current projected investment” in K-12 schools and community colleges is $70.5 billion. That’s down 13 percent from last year’s $81.1 billion and even more from the $84 billion proposed in January.
Jeff Freitas, president of the California Federation of Teachers, said the proposed budget cuts could jeopardize the ability to reopen schools in the fall.
Opening safely means spending more, not less, he said.
“We need testing of our students, our staff before they get there,” added Freitas, whose union represents 120,000 teachers and staff at public and private schools across the state. “We need to continue to trace if there becomes a situation, not only in our schools but in our communities. We need to be able to provide, once we can demonstrate that highly reduced risk of reopening our schools, that we need additional social distancing resources, PPE resources, cleaning supplies. There are many more things that we need to add, not subtract, in reopening our schools.”
Earlier this month, Newsom said K-12 schools could reopen by July or August. Freitas said that’s going to be a district-by-district decision and that some parts of the state with fewer cases of COVID-19 could be ready before others.
He said he could not estimate when all school districts might be able to open their campuses again.
Everyone in Los Angeles must bring face coverings with them when they go outdoors and wear them anytime they're around people from outside their household.
The new order issued by Mayor Eric Garcetti is intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus as the easing of other restrictions allows people to return to work and recreation.
“Face coverings help stop the spread of the virus, and wearing them in public creates a layer of protection,” the order reads. “However, a face covering is not a substitute for other critical measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 — most importantly, staying home as much as possible, washing hands frequently, and practicing safe physical distancing of at least 6 feet in all settings.”
The easing of the “safer at home” orders issued by the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County began last week and allows curbside pickup for virtually all retail and limited access to beaches, trails and other outdoor areas.
Today Gov. Gavin Newsom presented a revised budget proposal designed to address the state's projected $54 billion deficit.
The $203 billion budget is $19 billion below what he presented in January. Many of the cuts hinge on whether or not the Trump administration offers California additional federal assistance, the governor said.
“If the federal government does what it must do under the circumstances to help states large and small all across the nation, that these cuts would go away,” Newsom said.
Specifically, he encouraged Congress to pass The HEROES Act, introduced by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, which would allocate nearly $1 trillion for states and cities. If that money does not come through, Newsom said automatic cuts would be triggered.
Republican leaders have criticized the bill, dismissing many of the proposals in the plan, according to NPR.
"This is nothing more than a messaging exercise from House Democrats," said Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D. "It is an effort to try and create talking points for the 2020 election. It's not going anywhere, and we know that."
A handful of racetracks in California have been given the green light to resume live horse racing for the first time since California issued its stay-at-home orders.
Los Angeles County health officials will allow live horse racing at Santa Anita on Friday. Track organizers established a restricted zone, which will house jockeys, valets and other staff members. All must test negative for COVID-19 to have access.
As of Thursday, the California Department of Public Health says Yuba and Sutter counties are among the 18 counties eligible to move to Stage 2 in California’s reopening plan.
Community centers, schools, dine-in restaurants and destination retail are among the establishments allowed to reopen under the Expanded Stage 2.
Gov. Gavin Newsom says tourists could be one of the pitfalls in reopening the state county-by-county.
"This is the big challenge: You open up a dense urban environment right next door to a community that's not opened, people start rushing into that dense urban environment and coming back into their community," he said.
Wednesday, May 13
California is allowing restaurants in some counties to re-open in a limited capacity, but regulators say some are moving too quickly. Now, the state wants to crack down on scofflaw businesses.
The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control currently has the power to suspend or revoke liquor licenses. But the process can take months if a business appeals.
A proposed rule would allow the department to penalize bars and restaurants immediately, even if they file an appeal. ABC says it would improve public safety against the spread of COVID-19.
More counties are expected to let dine-in restaurants reopen after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new guidelines this week.
In March, ABC began letting restaurants sell alcoholic beverages to-go, in an effort to help distressed businesses stay afloat.
Another county is defying the state on when to reopen.
Stanislaus County Supervisors have rescinded the governor’s stay-at-home order reopening restaurants, hair salons, and retail stores. The decision was backed by the county's public health director who cited the risk as low.
Supervisor Terry Withrow says the reopening only applies to the unincorporated areas of the county and each city will have to decide its own guidelines.
“Businesses, hair salons, bars, restaurants, they could be subject to the governor coming in and pulling their licenses and we can’t do anything about that," Withrow said. "I can’t imagine the governor starting to do that, send people out, and shutting down restaurants.”
Withrow says the exception to the reopening are mass gatherings such as movie theaters and concert events which won’t be allowed yet.
Add tourism to the list of industries taking a huge hit from the coronavirus pandemic.
California visitors spent $145 billion last year, up about 3% from 2018. This year, analysts predict travel spending will be slashed to about half that amount, only around $72 billion.
The company Tourism Economics anticipates the pandemic will erase 10 years of growth in California's tourism-related spending, state and local tax revenue and jobs created. The latest figures from research firm Dean Runyan show tourism made up more than 10% of the labor force in 15 California counties.
Visit California, the state's tourism booster agency, says travel-related economic losses from the pandemic have been hardest on tourism workers, rural destinations in which tourism dominates the economy and hundreds of cities that use hotel taxes to pay for police, fire and other basic municipal services.
UC President Janet Napolitano wants to end the use of SAT and ACT scores as admission requirements for universities in the system, according to a plan released this week, the AP reports.
In her five year plan for the UC system, Napolitano recommends that it suspends the current SAT and ACT test requirements until 2024 and “create a new test that better aligns with the content UC expects applicants to have learned and with UC values.
Napolitano submitted that plan Monday ahead of a Board of Regents meeting set for May 21. Regents may vote on the proposal at this meeting.
With high school campuses closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the UC system has made the tests optional for students who want to attend in fall 2021. Napolitano is recommending the universities remain test-optional through 2022 at least..
Pharmacies in California will now be allowed to collect specimens and order COVID-19 tests.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the State Board of Pharmacy will oversee the rollout with help from the Department of Consumer Affairs.
“There are protocols and procedures, appropriate protective gear, making sure that we isolate folks that may be symptomatic, may be asymptomatic... we obviously have to work through all those, that will be done on each site,” said Newsom.
The state is now testing about 35,000 people a day for COVID-19. The goal is to ramp that up to 60,000 daily tests soon.
In the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions that have closed many California public spaces and businesses for nearly two months, Los Angeles County reopens its beaches today.
The AP reports county beaches and many city-owned beaches along the 75 miles of Los Angeles County coastline are reopening with social distancing rules designed to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Elected leaders warn that beaches could close again if people crowd the shoreline.
“Please, hit the beach, do your thing, and leave. No hanging out for this first phase,” said Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand in a Facebook post.
Tuesday, May 12
The California State University system’s 23 campuses have cancelled in-person classes for the fall, CSU Chancellor Timothy White announced Tuesday.
“This approach to virtual planning is necessary for many reasons. First and foremost is the health, safety and welfare of our students, faculty and staff, and the evolving data surrounding the progression of COVID-19 – current and as forecast throughout the 2020-21 academic year,” White said in a statement. “Said another way, this virtual planning approach preserves as many options for as many students as possible.”
Students will continue to attend classes online for the fall, with some exceptions made for laboratory classes and training for students entering healthcare careers.
The California State University system is one of the largest public university systems in the country.
In addition to CSU schools, which includes Sacramento State, the Los Rios Community College District has also announced that fall classes will be online-only.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has begun to slowly reopen the state with so-called low-risk retail opening this past weekend. He also has announced he would like to see K-12 students return to school as soon as July in some communities.
Sacramento State president Robert Nelson said in a statement that the University would be following the Chancellor’s mandate, but that they would be putting in a formal process for making exceptions.
“Sacramento State is, accordingly, developing a plan for the vast, vast majority of classes to be virtual for Fall 2020. We also are developing a plan for vetting exceptions,” he said.
Sacramento State also announced they would be holding summer training for professors to prepare them for virtual teaching in the fall.
The owners of Major League Baseball are set to submit a proposal to the players’ union to start the league’s 2020 season in July, without fans in the stands, NPR reports
If the proposal is approved, spring training would start in early to mid-June and Opening Day would take place around July 4 weekend.
In his daily press briefing yesterday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom answered a question about the potential July restart date and said he’d spoken to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
"He said we won't do anything that's inconsistent with state guidelines" Newsom said, adding, "We'll see where we will be in July."
Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle expressed concerns about the safety of the plan in a Tweet Monday.
The July restart proposal lays out health and safety protocols for players and other employees attending games, according to a source with knowledge of the plan. MLB owners are set to meet with the players’ union Tuesday.
More California businesses are going cashless over fears the exchange of money could cause coronavirus to spread between customers and workers. This could change with a state Senate bill that would require businesses to accept payments in cash.
Democratic state Sen. Jerry Hill authored the proposal. He said the coronavirus outbreak has strengthened his commitment to the bill.
“Essential workers, those on the front lines of keeping our economy and our care services going during the pandemic, they really fall within the populations that are most impacted by cashless payments,” Hill said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to provide details Tuesday on what California restaurants need to do in order to reopen dining rooms that have been closed since mid-March, the AP reports.
His statewide order for restaurants and other businesses to close was aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Many restaurants say they are already practicing safety procedures they anticipate will be required to reopen. Other food businesses are sanitizing seats, surfaces and doorknobs and removing tables to ensure social distancing.
Monday, May 11
Gov. Gavin Newsom says more than two dozen counties have asked permission to loosen their stay-at-home plans beyond what the state allows.
On Monday Newsom promised a speedy review and said some counties could have their plans approved by Tuesday. The governor loosened the statewide stay-at-home order last week to allow some retailers and manufacturers to reopen with restrictions.
He said counties can go further if they meet strict state standards, but densely populated counties are having difficulty meeting the requirements. Newsom said he would consider adjusting those standards, and that some large counties have special circumstances that must be taken into account.
The governor also announced that the Western States Pact — including California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado — is requesting $1 trillion in coronavirus relief air from Congress.
State governments are bracing for deep budget cuts as a result of a recession caused by COVID-19 related business closures. On Monday Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak declared a fiscal emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Nevada faces an estimated shortfall of at least $741 million for the current fiscal year. Gov. Steve Sisolak took the first step in preparing the state by declaring the fiscal state of emergency. The declaration allows officials to access the state’s rainy day fund.
Sisolak also joined a letter sent by other governors in the Western States Pact asking Congress for $1 trillion in aid to states.
Most Americans disapprove of protests against restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19, according to a new poll from the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs.
Researchers found 55% of Americans say they disapprove of such protests, while 31% approve of the demonstrations. 14% of people surveyed say they neither approve nor disapprove.
Over the past month, California’s State Capitol in downtown Sacramento has been the site of a few protests against the statewide stay-at-home order.
As parts of California take baby steps toward reopening public spaces and businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic, a beach bordering two Southern California counties will reopen Monday with some restrictions under an agreement reached with the state.
The Associated Press reports Seal Beach in northern Orange County will allow running, walking and surfing. Seal Beach will be open Monday through Thursday during daylight hours, but only for active use. People aren’t allowed to gather, sit or lie on the beach.
Next door, the sand in Long Beach will remain off-limits like the rest of the beaches along the Los Angeles County coast.
Those beaches could reopen as early as Wednesday with restrictions.
Saturday, May 9
Those who complete the screener will be eligible for an appointment at the Mobile Testing Site at Cal Expo.
The screener and subsequent testing, part of the Baseline COVID-19 program to expand access to testing, are not intended for people experiencing severe symptoms.
If you have symptoms such as severe cough, severe shortness of breath, severe fever or other concerning symptoms, you may need immediate medical attention and should contact your doctor.
Fill out the screening survey here. The test is free.
Friday, May 8
The California Hospital Association says the state’s more than 400 hospitals are facing a "deep financial abyss" as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most hospitals canceled elective procedures to prepare for a flood of COVID patients. These surgeries are a major source of income for hospitals. The association says short-term losses already exceed $10 billion and could rise to $15 billion or more.
They're asking Gov. Gavin Newsom for $1 billion dollars immediately, and another $3 billion from the state budget, which could then be matched by federal funds.
Florists are one of the business sectors excited about reopening their businesses Friday after weeks of lockdown — especially with Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday.
Some florists who also operated nurseries were able to stay open, but most florists closed up shop in accordance with local and state health orders. Now, those reopening for curbside service and deliveries are seeing sales through the roof.
Bruce DeMello, owner of the family-owned Country Shelf Floral shop in Modesto, had to lay off most of his staff, and he says getting them back is proving difficult.
“The employees are a problem because they’re getting the unemployment and it’s more than what they were making when they were working,” he said.
But DeMello says he was flooded with customer phone calls, and business was so good that he ran out of flowers before noon.
He says he’ll be glad when he can have customers shop inside the store again.
“We don’t know exactly what to expect when it does become fully open and [we get to] see what the world is going to be like after all this stuff,” he said.
California’s budget shortfall might be tens of billions less than the $54 billion deficit the Newsom administration projected this week, though it could last several years, according to an independent financial outlook released on Friday.
The report, published by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, estimated the shortfall would range from $18 billion to $31 billion depending on how severely the COVID-19-induced recession hits California. The LAO offers nonpartisan fiscal and policy advice to the Legislature.
The independent report said California’s financial troubles could stretch into the 2023-24 fiscal year.
“The state’s newly emergent fiscal challenges are unlikely to dissipate quickly and will extend well beyond the end of the public health crisis,” the report said.
The LAO said the Newsom administration’s estimate is larger because it focuses on “gross changes to the budget’s bottom line while our estimates include the net effects of current law.”
To deal with the huge budget gap, the LAO recommends a mix of cost cutting, revenue hikes, shifting costs and using reserves. It says one-year cuts won’t be enough and calls for a more structural change to the budget.
It encourages lawmakers to “begin making these difficult, but necessary, decisions in June rather than waiting until future budget actions. Delaying action could only increase the size of the ultimate budget problem and make some solutions more difficult to implement.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom is still finalizing his revised May spending plan.
California’s constitutional deadline to pass a budget is June 15.
The record 20.5 million jobs cut in April shows the damage the coronavirus has done to the U.S. economy.
A new report from the Labor Department Friday shows the U.S. unemployment rate hit 14.7% last month, which is the highest since the Great Depression.
According to the AP, nearly all the job growth achieved during the 11-year recovery from the Great Recession has been wiped out in one month.
Economists say that it may take years to recover all the jobs lost. The Congressional Budget Office expects the jobless rate to be 9.5% by the end of 2021.
In some California counties that meet certain guidelines, restaurant dining rooms that have been shut down since March due to COVID-19 could start reopening in a week or two, Gov. Gavin Newsom says.
No dates are set, but Newsom said that he’ll release guidelines next week for restaurants to reopen their doors. He also said counties must first meet a set of benchmarks to show that the spread of COVID-19 is in check in their areas.
The California Restaurant Association submitted proposed guidelines for reopening to Newsom, which suggest that servers wear face masks and that restaurants eliminate buffets and salad bars, AP reports. Restaurants in urban areas that have been hot spots for infections will likely stay closed longer.
Thursday, May 7
Yolo County will allow all manufacturing, logistics and warehouse operations, as well as curbside pick-up and delivery for retail businesses, to resume on Friday.
The amended shelter-in-place order coincides with the state’s move into phase two of its pandemic resilience roadmap. Yolo businesses must adhere to state guidelines for reopening and maintain social distancing.
“With the preliminary re-opening of specified retail establishments and manufacturing in Yolo County we’ve taken one more step toward resuming more normalized activities,” Yolo County Board Chair Gary Sandy said in a press release. “All of these changes will require adherence to health standards and safe practices, including social distancing, hand washing, and where necessary, face coverings.”
The county’s revised health order also clarifies recommended childcare conditions. Additional information can be found on the Yolo County website.
Nevada is set to begin its phased reopening as the daily rate of new coronavirus cases appears to be declining.
Marilyn Kirkpatrick is chair of the Clark County Commission and a member of the Local Empowerment Advisory Panel — a group of county level elected officials and experts from the state who are tasked with advising the governor on local needs during the process.
She says the state is increasing its testing capacity, one of the requirements for being able to relax restrictions.
“We anticipate, within the next week, being able to test 4,000 people across the state per day, with June 1 being 10,000,” she said.
A recent NPR investigation found Nevada needs to be able to test more than 5,000 people per day in order to reopen safely.
The DMV will open 25 offices across California tomorrow after the department closed all of its field offices due to COVID-19 in March.
Offices will be reopening in Carmichael, Stockton, Modesto, Yuba City and other cities across the state. The offices will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
While offices will be open, the DMV still encourages people to make use of online and virtual services if they can, and says that people who can delay their visit to an office still should.
The DMV’s other offices will remain closed, but employees will be on hand to help customers via the Virtual Field Office. The DMV says it plans to reopen the remaining offices in phases over the coming weeks.
You can find the full list of offices opening on Friday here.
People who violate stay-at-home or social distancing rules in Manteca could now face a $1,000 fine.
The fines are administrative, not criminal, which means they would not result in jail time. Manteca Police Lieutenant Stephen Schluer says that these citations would only be a last resort after repeated warnings.
“It is a large fine and… it’s to be a deterrent,” Schluer said. “If those education and warnings aren’t heeded, that is the next step. We’re hoping it doesn’t get to that but it is a deterrent and it’s not our goal to fine people. It’s not our goal to issue citations. It’s our goal to get compliance through education.”
He said that so far, everyone who has been called upon to comply with the orders has done so without a citation.
In order to contain its COVID-19 outbreak through a strategy of testing, tracing and isolating positive cases and their contacts, California will need to increase its daily COVID-19 testing rate before May 15, NPR reports.
According to estimates from Harvard’s Global Health Institute, California needs to be performing at least 42,524 tests per day by May 15 to do this. Between April 30 and May 6, California performed 29,414 tests per day on average.
But while California is falling behind the expected need for testing, the state’s outbreak is still fairly mild compared to the state’s large population size.
The World Health Organization is recommending that states aim for less than 10% of tests to come back positive. In the past week, 6% of tests have come back positive in California.
As Sacramento County residents are staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Sacramento County Waste Management & Recycling’s Laurie Slothower says a lot more people are doing “spring cleaning.”
In an interview on Insight with Beth Ruyak, Slothower said people should be ready for delays if they’re heading to the dumb.
"It's a very, very busy time of year,” she said. “Customer traffic at Kiefer Landfill is up about 25 percent."
Slothower says there’s another way to get rid of your junk, and recommends that customers consider scheduling a bulky waste pickup.
“You can just leave a pile in front of your driveway just to avoid that trip to the landfill,” she said.
Wednesday, May 6
Most California voters automatically receive a mail-in ballot, but two Democratic lawmakers are sponsoring legislation to make sure every voter gets one before the November election.
Sen. Tom Umberg, D-Orange County, and Asm. Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, unveiled a pair of bills to expand mail-in voting while keeping at least 2,000 vote centers and polling places open statewide.
In a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, they advocated for the state to help counties find and staff appropriate voting locations and obtain enough personal protective equipment and sanitizer to keep poll workers and voters safe.
“If the pandemic persists or resurges, nothing would prohibit you from taking dramatic steps to adjust in-person voting requirements at the last minute if public safety requires,” they wrote. “But if the State and counties don’t start identifying and securing locations now, we won’t have enough locations and voters will certainly be disenfranchised.”
Secretary of State Alex Padilla has called for such measures.
“The question is how we administer the election in a way that's accessible, secure and safe for everybody,” he said in an interview with CapRadio. “It begins with sending every voter about in the mail automatically.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom says he hasn’t trimmed his signature slicked-back ‘do since he issued the state's stay-at-home-orders.
The governor was asked during his daily briefing whether he was personally following local health orders, or if he was allowing staff into his home or had had a haircut recently.
“I think it’s pretty obvious to you I have not had a haircut,” he said, with hair peeking out from behind his neck.
Newsom, who said he was “a little embarrassed” by the question, said his daughter offered to give him a trim with a pair crafting scissors “which weren’t up for the task.”
But the governor said he, his family and staff are abiding by the rules.
“When I go out in public, I’ll wear a mask, though my time in the public has been very limited,” he said. He donned a face mask for a visit to a Sacramento small business on Tuesday.
Newsom has moved his office from the state Capitol to the Office of Emergency Services near Rancho Cordova. Anyone who enters the building has their temperature checked, he said.
The city of Manteca has adopted a $1,000 fine for people who defy stay-at-home or social distancing orders.
Police will write citations that are administrative fines, not criminal, which eliminates jail time.
Manteca Police Lieutenant Stephen Schluer said officers will be trying to educate those in violation of the orders.
“We are not using this as a hammer on people who are already down and out of their luck because they are out of work,” he said. “And we’re not going to the stores to walk up and down the aisles to see who’s close to each other and who’s not. This is used as a last resort after all measures have been exhausted to gain compliance to the governor’s order.”
Schluer said officers will only respond to complaints and won't be patrolling the city looking for violators.
Several other cities in Southern California have imposed similar fines.
California is giving some businesses the green light to resume operations Friday, and Sacramento County’s top health official hopes to add more businesses to the list soon.
On Insight with Beth Ruyak, Sacramento County Health Officer Dr. Peter Beilenson said he is awaiting guidance from the governor’s office about specific criteria counties must meet if they want to move ahead of the state’s phased reopening.
If the county meets the benchmarks, “we could potentially come out with a new health order that will set up more broadly opening industries and activities,” as soon as next week, Beilenson said. The current Sacramento County stay-at-home order has been extended until May 22.
He said dine-in restaurants and additional outdoor recreation activities could be part of Sacramento County’s next reopening phase but would not say what other industries he is considering.
Beilenson also said he is considering a mandate that people wear masks or face coverings in public. Mayor Darrell Steinberg called for a county-wide mask requirement earlier this week.
Neighboring Yolo, Yuba and Sutter Counties have such requirements, but Beilenson said one reason he hasn’t followed suit yet is because paper surgical masks are not widely available for purchase in the community.
As officials look to cautiously reopen parts of the economy, Beilenson said the county will need to bring on hundreds more contact tracers through a new online training program led by UCSF and UCLA. Sacramento County currently has about 35 contact tracers, but Beilenson said he will need 375 as public spaces begin to reopen.
As Yuba and Sutter counties moved to allow businesses banned under the statewide stay-at-home order to reopen, the Yuba Sutter Mall will become the first mall to reopen in California today.
Gov. Newsom says that the counties are endangering the public with this move.
Yolo and Sutter counties are allowing businesses that have limited contact with customers over shorter periods of time to reopen, which includes sit down restaurants, barber shops, hair salons, retailers and gyms.
Modoc County, which hasn’t yet reported any confirmed cases of COVID-19, plans to allow all businesses, plus churches and schools, to reopen.
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Gov. Gavin Newsom had the right to temporarily ban church gatherings in the interest of public health in his COVID-19 stay-at-home order.
The question was raised when the Cross Culture Christian Center in Lodi and its pastor, Jonathan Duncan, alleged that Newsom’s stay-at-home order violated their constitutional rights to freedom of religion and assembly, the AP reports.
Cross Culture Christian Center continued to hold services until its landlord changed the locks on the church doors under threat of misdemeanor from county health officials.
The church was one of several that defied the governor’s order initially, and the church’s attorney, Dean Broyles, said that “more churches than you would think” are not complying with the order.
Tuesday, May 5
California's 'phase two' reopening rules will be explained in more detail Thursday, but by Friday some stores that sell books, music, flowers, clothing, toys and sporting goods will be open again for curbside pickup.
That includes Face In A Book, an independent bookstore in El Dorado Hills. On Insight with Beth Ruyak Tuesday, store owner Tina Ferguson said the change in rules means she and her staff will be a lot busier.
"With the governor's okay with curbside now, we can be in the store longer, we can do more advertising about the fact that we're doing curbside, you know, it'll be great," Ferguson said.
Ferguson said business has dropped by 40 percent in the past two months because of the coronavirus shutdown orders. She's optimistic sales will bounce back once people are allowed to come back into her store.
At Relles Florists in midtown Sacramento, owner Jim Relles said even this step in the state's reopening is a big deal.
"This is going to be a tremendous boost for, I think, the morale for the small business community because then they can see light at the end of the tunnel," he said.
Relles says sales have dropped by about 30 percent in the past two months because of the coronavirus shutdown orders. On Thursday, the state plans to release guidelines for how businesses can reopen. Relles Florist is an underwriter of CapRadio.
Three Northern California counties are defying the state's order on what can reopen and when.
In Sutter and Yuba counties, north of Sacramento, businesses that have limited contact with customers over shorter periods can reopen. Included in that definition are sit-down restaurants, barbershops, hair salons, retailers, and gyms.
"They're putting their public at risk. They're putting our progress at risk," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday. "We've been clear about that … well aware of those examples. These are exceptions, these are real exceptions. The overwhelming majority of Californians are playing by the rules, doing the right thing."
The California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology has threatened to take disciplinary action against salons and barbershops that open prematurely.
Some counties in Northern California have argued they shouldn't be treated like much larger urban areas that have far more cases of COVID-19. Modoc County, which shares a border with both Oregon and Nevada, announced last Friday it'll allow all businesses plus churches and schools to reopen. Modoc doesn't have any confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg says it will be more important for people to wear masks in public as some businesses consider reopening as soon as this weekend. He said he plans on asking Sacramento County health officers to switch the order for residents to wear masks from voluntary to mandatory.
"Because it will allow us to open up faster and, maybe more importantly, it will allow us to continue to be open and to not have that spike which we are all so fearful of which we have thus far successfully avoided,” Steinberg said during a Facebook Live on Monday.
On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said some businesses will be allowed to reopen as soon as this Friday.
Monday, May 4
California hospitals say they have suffered as much as $14 billion dollars in losses by postponing elective surgeries and other procedures to clear space in anticipation of a flood of coronavirus patients that never occurred.
“It was the right thing to do,” said California Hospital Association President and CEO Carmela Coyle to a budget subcommittee, as reported by KCRA. “But as we begin to access the damage, the toll is enormous.”
The California Hospital Association asked state lawmakers today to immediately approve a billion dollars in financial aid.
Gov. Gavin Newsom recently allowed hospitals to again schedule elective surgeries.
Yuba and Sutter counties are allowing most businesses to reopen, but people must cover their faces if they are in places where social distancing isn’t available.
The new order in place from the bi-county health department allows restaurants, retail shops, malls, gyms, hair and nail salons, spas, massage therapy centers, and tattoo parlors to join the list of those already open. But masks or facial coverings are now mandatory for employees and customers if six feet of space isn’t achievable.
Health Director Dr. Phuong Luu said in a statement that 20 percent of confirmed cases are in people with no symptoms.
“It is critical that all community members take upon themselves the responsibility to adhere to important public health recommendations to reduce the transmission of COVID-19,” Luu said.
However, children under 2 years old should not wear masks because of the danger of suffocation.
Parks and libraries are also open. Schools and churches, entertainment venues and community centers are still closed.
Social gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited by the order, including block parties, birthdays, funerals, weddings, christenings, etc.
Anyone 65 and older or with a chronic medical condition are still under orders to stay home unless necessary activities require them to leave.
As for the timing, Luu said the community could not wait any longer without risking long-lasting damage.
“COVID-19 is dangerous and scary but it is not the only health issue,” Dr. Luu said. “We cannot wait for a vaccine without seeing extreme economic damage done to our community. The consequences of waiting will be additional health concerns brought on by stress and the very real dilemma for those with limited resources whether to buy life-saving food or life-saving medicines.”
Sutter County Administrative Officer Steven M. Smith and Yuba County Administrative Officer Robert Bendorf acknowledged the shift in emphasis to a risk-based order conflicts with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s orders. Newsom said changes could be coming to state orders on Friday.
Members of the California Assembly returned to Sacramento on Monday after adjourning for an extended recess in March. Their focus will be on the state’s coronavirus outbreak — and the looming budget crisis that could emerge as a result.
Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state will have to make substantial spending cuts if it doesn’t receive considerable assistance from the federal government.
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a political analyst and former professor at USC, says many of those budgetary decisions will fall on the shoulders of lawmakers
“There will be a significant budget deficit that will have to be dealt with. And may well require some very tough decisions,” she said.
But what about the $17.5 billion California saved up in its “rainy day fund”?
“It’s gone basically!” Bebitch-Jeffe said, adding that everything is likely on the table to find savings, from cuts in education to social safety net programs.
The state can’t spend that money all at once, but she expects revenue shortages will far outpace the state’s reserves.
There also will likely be friction between lawmakers over when to lift stay-at-home orders.
Gov. Gavin Newsom says counties can begin easing restrictions on some businesses this Friday, such as retailers.
Several rural counties, including Modoc and Sutter, have already started re-opening ahead of state orders.
The California Senate is expected to convene next week.
Biba restaurant in Midtown Sacramento is one of the first restaurants in the city to announce it will permanently close due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The restaurant has been serving Italian meals for more than 30 years in Midtown, but Paola Caggiano told the Sacramento Bee that Biba will serve its final customers on Saturday, May 9.
Caggiano said that the state’s stay-at-home orders have made it too difficult for the restaurant to make ends meet.
Caggiano’s mother, Biba Caggiano, founded the restaurant in 1986. Biba Caggiano died in August 2019 at age 82.
Modoc County, a rural county in Northern California, is defying Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 shutdown order.
The county has become the first in the state to allow nonessential businesses to reopen on Friday. Diners are being allowed into restaurants in the county, which has yet to report a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Yuba and Sutter County are set to follow Modoc Monday by allowing some businesses to reopen, according to a new health order issued Friday by Yuba-Sutter Health Officer Phuong Luu.
Newsom did not mention yet today whether any action would be taken against the county.
Saturday, May 2
Yuba and Sutter counties are now requiring residents to wear face coverings when social distancing isn’t possible.
Bi-county Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu issued the public health order on Friday to slow the spread of the coronavirus by people who may be infected but aren’t experiencing symptoms.
“The risk of unwitting transmission to another is high,” Dr. Luu said in a press release. “As we begin to allow increased activity in the community, it will be the responsibility of all of us to keep our faces covered to protect each other.”
Under the order, people should wear face coverings while indoors other than their residence, and outdoors, and when social distancing of 6 feet or more cannot be achieved between persons from separate households.
Children under 2 and anyone with trouble breathing or who cannot remove their mask on their own should not wear them. They’re not required during outdoor exercise.
Officials ask residents to be kind to each other, and to recognize there may be medical or work reasons why someone should not wear a facial covering. They say not to call 911 over compliance.
Friday, May 1
A Northern California county is defying Gov. Gavin Newsom's coronavirus shutdown order and has become the state's first to let nonessential businesses reopen.
Diners are being allowed into restaurants in Modoc County, where officials say there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19. Businesses must still adhere to social distancing and hygiene protocols, according to a press release.
Newsom did not mention Friday whether any action would be taken against the county.
"I deeply understand the rural differentiation between some of the dense urban differentiation," Newsom said in his press briefing Friday. "We hear you. We're paying attention to you. We are engaging many, many of you."
In a Facebook post about the reopening, the county’s public health department said it’s up to individual businesses to decide when they want to reopen.
“We want the option to be given to business owners so that when they feel the time is right, they can make that decision,” the post said. “Business owners know their staff, they know their customers and they will know when they both feel safe enough to resume services.”
Two-thirds of the people who volunteered to take part in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s California Health Corps lacked valid medical licenses, state officials say. And of that remaining third, only one in three took the next step to fill out an application.
Newsom’s plan when he announced the program was to use corps members to staff thousands of hospital beds created for the expected crush of COVID-19 patients. But that expected surge hasn’t happened yet.
Only about 10,500 corps volunteers are left, according to data from the Associated Press, and the program now has no clearly defined role. But the first volunteers have been deployed with no patients to care for.
Some essential workers will strike nationwide on May Day to demand safer conditions during the coronavirus outbreak. Other groups have planned rallies against tight stay-at-home orders they say are crippling the U.S. economy.
Organizers say employees of Amazon, Whole Foods, Target and FedEx have become the unexpected frontline workers of the pandemic. Workers will walk off the job or call out sick to demand unpaid time off work, hazard pay, sick leave, protective gear and cleaning supplies.
Meanwhile, protesters will take to the streets in cities nationwide to demand states loosen shelter-in-place rules and "reopen," including a planned event in Sacramento Friday.
Orange County lawmakers are pushing back after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced yesterday he's closing beaches there because people refused to adhere to social distancing guidelines last weekend.
The Huntington Beach City Council voted to allow its city attorney to challenge the legality of the order in a Thursday night emergency meeting. The Dana Point City Council also voted to seek a temporary restraining order.
Meanwhile, Republican state Sen. Pat Bates, who represents part of the county, tweeted out that she strongly opposes Newsom's order. Bates says that at a time when the state is releasing high-risk sex offenders due to COVID-19 concerns, the implicit threat to punish beachgoers who violate the order is absurd.
Mariposa County had been one of five California counties with no positive tests for COVID-19. In the past few days the number has grown to 13.
The Mariposa County Department of Public Health reported Thursday that there were 10 new cases.
The first case was announced Tuesday, April 28. A 23-year-old woman is believed to have become ill through a community transmission. She had contact with a man and woman, both 57, who then also tested positive. Their tests were announced Wednesday.
The 10 cases announced Thursday include four children under the age of 6, an 11-year-old boy and girl, a man and woman in their 20s and a man and woman in their 30s. All persons who have tested positive are now in isolation.
People are urged to wear masks or face coverings in public, but employers are required to test employees daily for fever.
The county says 30 people have been tested who may have come in contact with the young woman. The health department says there is no evidence that community spread beyond this group may have occurred, but is asking people to follow state stay-at-home orders. The county says it expects more positive results in the coming days.
As of Thursday morning, there were 46 cases in Madera County, 118 in Merced and 538 in Fresno County.
Correction: A previous version of this blog post misstated the number of counties that had no known COVID-19 cases. It has been corrected.
Thursday, April 30
The coronavirus has prompted many to postpone their weddings, but couples who don’t want to wait can now tie the knot in a videoconference.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that for the next 60 days allows couples to obtain marriage licenses and get married remotely.
To get a marriage license, both parties must be present, located within the state, and must provide ID during the video call. County clerks can decline to provide remote licenses if they choose.
A virtual wedding requires both parties and at least one other witness to join a live videoconference.
Rural Modoc County in far northeastern California plans to allow the reopening Friday of schools, hair salons, churches, restaurants and the county's only movie theater.
Businesses must still adhere to social distancing and hygiene protocols, according to a press release on the reopening. Seniors and those with underlying health conditions are still urged to isolate.
It would be the first in California to ease out of stay-home orders mandated by Gov. Gavin Newsom. It's not clear whether the state plans any action for violating the orders.
The county says the new guidelines will be assessed and rescinded as necessary by the county health officer.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says state and local governments are seeking up to $1 trillion for coronavirus costs.
It's an eye-popping sum for the next relief package that's certain to run into opposition from Senate Republicans.
The California Democrat says the "heroes" fund would help prevent layoffs of nurses, bus drivers and other front-line workers.
“This is something of the highest priority, it honors our heroes,” Pelosi said at a press conference.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is extending his directive asking people to stay at home to limit the spread of coronavirus until May 15. But he will ease restrictions on other outdoor activities and some businesses starting Friday.
Sisolak's office says starting Friday retail businesses and marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to offer curbside pickup, as restaurants have been doing. The state will also allow drive-in church services and the reopening of golf courses, pickleball and tennis courts starting Friday, as long they can do so safely and abide by social distancing guidelines.
Sisolak is expected to unveil a “Roadmap to Recovery” reopening plan Thursday at a 5 p.m. press conference. You can watch it live here.
The U.S. Forest Service has extended closures of recreation sites through May 15 across California, Hawaii and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. Eighteen national forests are located in the Sacramento area, including Eldorado, Mendocino, Plumas, Tahoe, Shasta-Trinity, Stanislaus National Forests.
Even though US Forest Service officials say “outdoor recreation can be beneficial to mental and physical health,” they are still asking visitors to recreate locally and to not travel for distances to go outdoors.
The order does not close trails, trailheads, and general forest areas, which remain accessible for public use. More information on specific closures and openings are available from each local forest.
“Closing any site for any reason is not an action we take lightly, but protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority,” according to a statement from the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region.
There will also be no trash or toilet facilities while the closure is in place. If people still plan on visiting, officials say to plan accordingly, to avoid high-risk areas and to search out less occupied areas.
The mayor of Los Angeles says any city resident seeking a coronavirus test can have one at no charge regardless of symptoms.
Mayor Eric Garcetti says those showing symptoms will have priority. He announced the new policy at his daily press briefing Wednesday.
According to LAist, Garcetti said the increased testing will allow people to be tested multiple times and could help determine who is safe to return to work as the state begins to reopen.
"You can't put a price on the peace of mind knowing that you can't infect somebody around you," he said.
Residents can get more information on testing at https://corona-virus.la/.
Wednesday, April 29
An experimental drug produced by a Bay Area company has proven effective against the new coronavirus in a major study, shortening the time it takes for patients to recover by four days on average.
U.S. government and Gilead officials announced the results Wednesday. The study was led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and tested the drug remdesivir versus usual care in more than a thousand hospitalized coronavirus patients around the world.
Remdesivir is the first treatment to pass such a strict test against the virus.
In an interview on Insight with Beth Ruyak Wednesday, California Rep. Tom McClintock said that he doesn’t believe COVID-19 is severe enough to justify shutting down businesses and that he’s most concerned about how stay-at-home orders are hurting the economy.
"The coronavirus is a nasty bug and it needs to be taken very seriously, but the steps that have been taken by states like California, I think, have done enormous damage,” he said.
McClintock also suggested that California and other states with orders forcing businesses to close and people to stay home based their decisions too heavily on health risks.
"The medical experts are doing their job,” he said. “Their job is to focus on the health risks. The economists are doing their job. Their job is to focus on the economic risks. Policy makers have got to balance those things, and I don't see a lot of that balance going on at the moment."
McClintock represents the 4th Congressional District in California, which is made up of six rural counties: Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Alpine, Tuolumne and El Dorado.
Congress is working right now on another coronavirus relief package on the heels of last month’s CARES Act, though the House of Representatives has cancelled plans to return to Washington May 4.
Some California college students are suing the University of California and California State University systems, demanding refunds for some of their campus fees since COVID-19 shut schools and learning moved online, AP reports.
The systems’ campuses have been closed since March because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Since then, the systems have refused to refund students the unused portions of fees for things like student associations and health services to students, even though most students have been forced off campuses and can’t use these services, according to lawsuits filed in Oakland and Los Angeles federal courts Monday.
There’s also a push underway online to force universities to refund students a portion of their tuition.
After schools across California closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom says school children could be returning to their classrooms as soon as July.
While no decision has been made yet, Newsom says the early start could make up for student learning losses.
Schools have largely moved to distance learning programs to keep students engaged during the stay-at-home order, but some schools and students have struggled with getting the program started.
Some schools have struggled to get the programs launched, while others have had difficulty contacting students. The Sacramento City Unified School District found this week that it had not been able to contact 1,600 students since schools shut, and is now working to increase district outreach.
Tuesday, April 28
California is now allowing recipients of SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, to purchase groceries online through Walmart and Amazon.
Melissa Cannon with California Food Policy Advocates says it will allow CalFresh beneficiaries to shelter in place and still access groceries. The two retailers offer free delivery, but only on orders over $35. Cannon argues there should be no delivery fees.
"A lot of people who rely on SNAP may have to make purchases that come in under that dollar amount," she said. "And they can’t use their SNAP benefits to pay for the delivery fees, and we wouldn’t want them to because the benefits are already limited.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been developing the program for years. It was then fast-tracked in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Congress is plunging ahead on a new coronavirus relief package, but a deepening partisan divide and uncertain scheduling could slow the federal response.
Republicans want the next package to shield business owners from onerous laws. But Democrats insist the next bill must provide aid to local governments for police, fire and other first-responders.
The city of Sacramento got $89 million from the previous stimulus package. On "Insight with Beth Ruyak" Tuesday, Sacramento Congresswoman Doris Matsui said that amount isn't enough.
"They're not able to use that for things that they've already paid for," Matsui said. "The cities ought to be able to use their money the way they should. So just because the city of Sacramento's received money doesn't mean that they're not going to receive more money."
It's unclear when the House will resume session. It was planned for next week. But after discussions with the Capitol physician, House Democratic leadership say the health risk was too great.
The California bar exam will be administered online for the first time due to the coronavirus.
The California Supreme Court is also moving the exam from July to September and will allow those registered to withdraw up until the day before the exam with a full refund of testing fees.
The State Bar says it will try to speed up the grading process and release final results before the end of the year.
Nevada currently does not have enough contact tracing workers to meet the estimated need to help control the spread of COVID-19, according to NPR.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials estimates that states will need 30 contact tracers per 100,000 people during a pandemic like COVID-19. In a nonemergency situation, only 15 workers per 100,000 people are needed.
Nevada currently has 78 contact tracers, which is 2.5 per 100,000 residents. The state said it’s working on recruiting volunteers to expand this capacity, according to NPR. They also noted a need for funding to hire or train new contact tracers.
California’s current staffing level for contact tracers is not known. But if the plan to train up to 10,000 contact tracers that Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week comes to be, just those newly trained individuals would provide 25.3 contact tracers per 100,000 residents.
California is one of at least 10 states in which public health labs have dealt with challenges such as budget reductions, staffing cuts, high staff turnover, lab closures and equipment funding delays, according to APM Reports.
In California, budget cuts have led to the closure of 10 local public health labs since 2003. These labs handle early diagnostic tests, so they’re the first line of defense against an infectious disease like COVID-19.
In Monterey County, six college students are now working for free in the county’s public health lab after lab director Donna Ferguson publicly worried about staffing shortages. While Ferguson said she appreciates the students’ work, it still worries her.
"I worry about these students because, yes, they're skilled and they can perform these techniques, but they don't have the years of training that it takes to work in an environment where we're constantly working with highly infectious organisms here in this lab," Ferguson said.
Read APM Reports’ full analysis here.
Six Bay Area counties, as well as the city of Berkeley, are extending their shelter-in-place orders through the end of May.
The counties — which include Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara — had orders originally set to expire on May 3. The revised, extended orders will largely keep the current restrictions in place, according to the counties, but will include some limited loosening of some rules for a “small number of lower-risk activities.”
The counties stress that, while significant progress has been made, residents need to continue to follow the restrictions set out so that the counties “do not lose the progress we have achieved together.”
Monday, April 27
California is processing a record number of unemployment claims, but a new wave of applications is expected in the coming days.
More than 3 million Californians have filed for unemployment insurance since mid-March, and the state has processed about two-thirds of the applications.
But the system will face an added burden when it starts accepting applications this week for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. The benefits cover independent contractors and the self-employed. Workers who exhaust their traditional unemployment insurance can also apply.
The state is currently training more than 1,000 new workers to process claims, but it’s still struggling to keep up. It received roughly 15 million calls in the past month-and-a-half from people seeking assistance.
On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that Colorado and Nevada will be joining California, Oregon and Washington in a “Western States Pact,” which will have a “shared vision” for lifting or modifying the regional stay-at-home orders.
Earlier this month, California, Oregon and Washington announced they would coordinate efforts to relax stay-at-home measures. Each state will have its own timeline for reopening businesses after coronavirus stay-home orders, but will follow the principles outlined in the agreement.
Newsom also said his administration will host a “digital round table” on economic recovery on Tuesday. The governor said the public and press will be able to listen in on this discussion of economic recovery strategies.
“It’s really about talking about the future, and what that retail experience may look like a year from now,” Newsom said.
California saw a “modest decline” in COVID-19 fatalities over the past 48 hours, with 45 lives lost. Newsom noted that this was a meaningful drop from just days ago, when more than 100 residents died in a single day.
A group of six rural counties in Northern California sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom Monday asking him to allow them to lift stay-at-home orders in their counties.
The bipartisan group includes Yuba, Sutter, Butte, Glenn, Tehama, and Colusa counties, and is made up of state legislators, county officials and mayors. The group argued in their letter that coronavirus infection rates have remained low in these six counties.
As of Monday, these counties have had a combined 70 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their combined population of less than 500,000 people. At least 50 of those who have tested positive have recovered, according to the counties.
However, Gov. Gavin Newsom made clear last week that before California can consider reopening, the state will need to ramp up testing, especially in so-called “testing deserts” where it has been less available.
Track the number of confirmed cases in these six counties, and in all of California’s counties, with our county-by-county tracker here.
Sunday, April 26
As of Sunday afternoon, Sacramento County has 1,037 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 41 deaths. You can see demographic data on the cases, including age, sex, race and location, on the county’s COVID-19 dashboard.
California as a whole has nearly 43,499 confirmed cases and 1,717 deaths, according to the LA Times.
Over the past week, tallies have continued to climb, but California’s numbers are still far below New York, where more than 22,000 have died.
NPR reports that health experts are trying to understand when exactly community transmission began in different parts of the country and how many people have contracted the virus. In California, controversial studies pointed to wider spread than previously reported.
In addition, health officials in Santa Clara County have now identified two coronavirus-related deaths that occurred in early February. The first publicly acknowledged case of community spread in the U.S. was a month later on Feb. 27, when a patient in Sacramento was diagnosed as having COVID-19, despite having no contact with other known cases and no history of travel.
California health director Dr. Sonia Angell said at a press conference this week that the state would continue to work with coroners to understand how the virus spread throughout the state’s communities.
Saturday, April 25
On Friday California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a special partnership with Sacramento State University, where gerontology students and staff will be available to talk and listen to seniors on a special hotline.
If seniors need emotional support or just someone to talk to, they can call (888) 670-1360, according to the governor.
Sac State gerontology students will also be doing outreach — making direct, personal phone calls to vulnerable older adults — as a part of the Social Bridging Project, a partnership among the Governor's Office; state Department of Aging; United Airlines employees in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles; volunteers trained in FEMA disaster response; and the university students.
In addition, Newsom detailed a partnership between FEMA and the state that will help connect vulnerable senior residents with restaurant meals.
There are 5.7 million elderly Californians, with some 1.2 million who living alone — “socially isolated, unable in many respects to cook their own meals,” the governor said.
The new meal program will work like this: Cities and counties will choose local restaurants to prepare “an unlimited number” of meals for vulnerable seniors — those with high risk to exposure, who are very low income, or who are already impacted or exposed directly to the virus.
FEMA and the state will pay for the meals.
Friday, April 24
11:56 a.m.: More than a month into California’s stay-at-home order, 75% of residents still support it
Californians overwhelmingly support restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, according to a survey by the California Health Care Foundation.
The survey shows that 75% of residents say the state should continue to shelter in place “for as long as is needed” to slow the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, 11% support ending the stay-at-home order and 13% said they don’t know or did not have an opinion.
Support for stay-at-home orders is even higher among low-income people, who are more likely to work jobs deemed “essential” and to be unable to work from home. Only 3.6% of respondents with low incomes said they do not support continuing to shelter in place.
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide order for people to stay home except for essential services on March 19. It remains in effect “until further notice.”
Meanwhile, Californians say they’re following the orders and other guidelines:
- 88% said they’re avoiding unnecessary trips all or most of the time
- 77% report wearing a mask in public at least most of the time
- 93% say they are staying at least six feet from others while in public spaces
As a part of a plan to gradually move forward and loosen COVID-19 restrictions on certain businesses, Yolo County has issued a new health order requiring people to wear face coverings while in public.
This order is effective immediately, but won’t be enforced until 8 a.m. on April 27. The new order is part of the county’s new Roadmap to Recovery plan, which will go before the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
The county has also amended its current shelter in place order to allow golf courses, boat launches, hunting clubs and practice ranges and fishing locations to reopen for outdoor recreation, so long as participants follow social distancing guidelines, wear face coverings if applicable and practice good hygiene.
The county also says that its current shelter in place order, set to end May 1, will be extended, though they haven’t shared a date yet.
Face masks are not required for children under two, due to the risk of strangulation. People in Yolo County are still required to practice social distancing, even if they are wearing a mask, and to stay at home as much as possible.
Individual violators likely won’t be cited for not wearing face coverings, but businesses and other public places will be expected to enforce the order.
You can read the county’s full announcement about these updates here.
Want to learn how to make your own fabric face mask? Follow our step-by-step guide (and video!) here.
Thursday, April 23
Don't bring your own bags or used beverage containers to the grocery store.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Thursday that will temporarily allow retailers to provide bags to customers without charge. It also pauses the in-store redemption of bottles and cans to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Newsom also suspended the requirement that stand-alone recycling centers be open a minimum number of hours.
And don't worry about your expiring drivers' license or ID card. Newsom's order includes granting a 60-day extension for customers on several DMV deadlines and suspends late fees for expired vehicle registrations.
Community parks, playgrounds and restrooms in unincorporated areas of Stanislaus County are reopening Friday.
The county’s Public Health Services department OK’d access to parks, golf courses and tennis courts, but some popular parks will not reopen, including Modesto and Woodward Reservoirs, La Grange and Frank Raines OHV Parks.
Stanislaus Parks Director Jackie Dwyer says getting the staff back in place will take time.
“So, when both Parks and Recreation and the Sheriff’s Department can adequately staff the reservoirs and OHV parks, we will reopen them in phases,” Dwyer said.
Dwyer says the public will still have to practice social distancing and that only family members should play together for sports such as basketball, football or tennis and not with others.
She also says children can use playground equipment but not with children from other families and warns that the equipment is not sanitized nor are the bathrooms.
The Tahoe National Forest is reminding visitors that all developed recreation sites are closed, except for trails, trailheads, specific picnic areas and boat launches that connect people to non-developed locations.
Even if the trailhead is open, all toilet facilities are closed and all trash removal has been suspended.
These sites across all National Forests within the Pacific Southwest Region were closed on March 25 and will remain so until April 30.
Opening of campgrounds for the summer season is also postponed until further notice in the Tahoe National Forest.
Officials said that law enforcement and search-and-rescue operations may be limited and people should avoid high risk activities that could increase chance of injury. If an area is crowded, they say “please search for a less occupied location.”
Even though some areas are open, officials recommend “exercising close to your home.”
Another 533,000 Californians filed unemployment claims last week, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday, bringing the state's total since stay-at-home orders were put in place to roughly 3.2 million.
The filings include workers who have lost jobs, had their hours reduced or been furloughed as the state ordered businesses shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
The 533,000 filings are down from the previous week when 655,000 unemployment claims were filed in the state, according to the Labor Department.
The state’s filings were the most in the nation, followed by Florida’s 505,000.
While some states plan to allow businesses to reopen as early as this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom said yesterday that California needs to increase daily coronavirus testing by at least four-fold before it can restart the state’s economy.
CapRadio continues to answer questions here about filing for unemployment assistance in the state.
Workers in California who have lost income due to COVID-19 can file for benefits at the state’s Employment Development Department’s website.
The U.S. Labor Department says more than 4.4 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week.
Roughly 26 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the five weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors.
Still, NPR reports that job losses are slowing. About 5.2 million filed during the week that ended April 11 and last week was the third consecutive week of declines.
Wednesday, April 22
Americans remain overwhelmingly in favor of stay-at-home orders and other efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, a new survey found.
In spite of recent protests at the Capitol and across the country against such restrictions, a majority of those polled said it won't be safe to lift them anytime soon.
The survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research comes as some governors have announced plans to ease the restrictions.
Only 12 percent of Americans said measures to fight the outbreak where they live go too far. About twice as many people, 26%, believe the limits don’t go far enough.
The Sacramento County coroner’s office is testing in cases where the cause of death is unknown and the deceased person had symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as fever and cough.
Coroner Kim Gin said they started testing bodies for COVID-19 the last week in January, and that they’ve tested 28 people so far. All of those cases have come back negative.
“We’ve had plenty of family members tell us that they thought they had COVID-19,” she said. “So that’s a trigger for us, and we test.”
She said the testing process on the corpse is the same as it is on a live person, and involves taking a swab and sending it to a public health lab. A full autopsy does not have to be performed in order to get a sample for a COVID-19 test.
The lack of testing has been a problem nationwide, and throws into doubt many of the figures and models being used to track the spread of the disease.
Placerville wants the okay from Gov. Gavin Newsom to loosen stay-at-home orders.
On Insight with Beth Ruyak Wednesday, City Manager Cleve Morris said the town is different from major metropolitan areas of California.
"It's very rural so there's more distance spacing automatically, you don't have homes right next to each other as much as you may have in an urban area," Morris said. "Looking at our numbers, we had five positive cases fairly early on in the process. We have not had any positive cases since then."
Placerville's City Council voted to send a letter to Newsom urging him to lift the stay-at-home order. Newsom says local governments can decide to ease restrictions but they still must comply with any state orders. On Wednesday he said the state needs to increase testing four-fold before it relaxes its order.
Earlier this week, Southern California's Ventura County opened some parks and golf courses.
This year's Sacramento Pride March and Festival have been canceled, the Sacramento LGBT Community Center announced Wednesday.
“This was not an easy decision, as events like Pride and Q-Prom provide safe and affirming spaces that demonstrate the value of inclusion and celebrate progress toward equity and social justice," said David Heitstuman, CEO of the Center. "We could not move forward with events that could pose a risk to tens of thousands of people, especially for the most marginalized in our community including queer and transgender people of color, LGBTQ elders, those living with HIV, cancer, or immunodeficiencies who are increased risk.”
The event was originally scheduled for June 13-14. Organizers say they are looking into remote options, and encourage community members to display pride flags during that time.
The California Department of Public Health is now recommending that people in high-risk settings are tested for COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms.
These new guidelines are aimed at testing health care workers, prisoners and homeless people.
CDPH has identified four priority levels for testing under the new guidelines. Here’s who falls under those levels:
- Hospitalized patients
- Health care workers with symptoms
- People in high risk settings like group living facilities or correctional facilities who have been identified for testing through contact investigations or disease control activities
- Residents of group living facilities without symptoms who need to be screened to be admitted or readmitted to a facility
- Health care workers without symptoms
- People who work in essential health and public safety jobs who have symptoms
- People older than 65 or with chronic medical conditions who have symptoms
- People who work in essential infrastructure jobs who have symptoms
- All low-risk people with symptoms
- People without symptoms
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Tuesday that he’s extending the closure of the state’s schools until the end of the academic year and that the state is not close to relaxing the restrictions put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, the Associated Press reports.
Sisolak and state experts said that there would need to be at least two weeks of consistent drops in new COVID-19 cases and deaths in Nevada before any business closures or stay-at-home rules would be eased.
Sisolak did not provide a date when that might happen, and said that it was also too soon to say whether or not schools would open for the new school year in the fall.
Tuesday, April 21
Californians are experiencing cleaner air because of the stay-at-home order, but a new report looking at data for three years prior reveals a different reality when cars are on roads and when the effects of climate change are at play.
“What we would hope would come out of this is that we learn more about what it means to have roads with fewer tailpipes and people having more options for getting around,” said Will Barrett, the director of Clean Air Advocacy for the American Lung Association in California.
The American Lung Association's latest ‘State of the Air’ report finds that climate change is a major factor in creating unhealthy air, especially in California where California has 10 of the 25 most polluted cities in the country when it comes to air quality.
“The 'State of the Air' finds that far too many people are still breathing unhealthy air," said American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer. "This year's report shows that climate change continues to degrade air quality and increase the risk of air pollution harming health.
The results come from data that was collected from 2016 to 2019. The report revealed that the top spots for the most particle pollution in the entire country are for these areas: Bakersfield, Fresno, Visalia, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Those particles get stuck in lungs and can cause asthma attacks and even lung cancer.
“Unfortunately we see the clear impacts of climate change not only increasing our air pollution but threatening all the great progress we know we've made in the state over the last five decades,” Barrett said.
The results were similar for ozone pollution, or smog, but Los Angeles was number one and Sacramento came in fifth.
Some places, like the Fresno area, witnessed their cleanest annual averages, but were still among the top polluted in the country, the authors noted.
California and other states say child abuse hotlines are getting fewer calls, and that has officials worried that cases are going unreported.
Child welfare agencies have lost some of their best eyes and ears since the coronavirus pandemic triggered school closures and stay-at-home orders.
"There are a number of people who would normally be in contact with families and with children who really don't have that opportunity right now," said Sheila Boxley, who heads the Child Abuse Prevention Center in Sacramento. She said that includes teachers and child care providers.
The California Department of Social Services says there was an 18% drop in referrals over this time last year. Nevada saw a 14% drop.
Boxley and other advocates are asking people to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services.
"Whether they hear their next-door neighbor's children crying all the time or they believe the children are being left alone or anything else that might concern them," Boxley said.
Officials say child abuse and neglect are likely to increase during the pandemic.
An Associated Press investigation has found that a relief fund Congress created to protect small businesses amid the coronavirus crisis has helped companies with thousands of employees. The investigation also found that some loan recipients have past regulatory run-ins and risks of financial failure even before the economy got walloped.
The Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to help small businesses, which typically have less access to quick cash and credit. Its $349 billion in emergency loans are intended to keep workers on the job and bills paid on time. But the AP found 75 companies, which collectively received $300 million, were publicly traded, and some had market values well over $100 million.
A new study indicates that COVID-19 is much more widespread — and less deadly — in Los Angeles County than we thought, LAist reports.
The study from researchers at USC and LA County Public Health tested adults for antibodies to COVID-19, and found that about 4% of adults in the county have antibodies to the virus, meaning they’ve already been infected.
That would mean that somewhere between 221,000 and 442,000 people in the county have been infected. As of April 20, the county had only reported 13,816 confirmed cases.
This much higher count of people who may be infected would seriously impact the county’s current mortality rate, as it would mean many more people are surviving the virus than previously thought.
Traffic accidents, as well as injuries or deaths related to crashes, were down by half in the first three weeks of California’s stay at home order, a new UC Davis report finds.
The report from UC Davis’ Road Ecology Center also found that these reductions save the state about $40 million per day in property damage, injury treatment, lost time at work, emergency response, insurance claims and lives lost that were avoided due to the reduction in crashes. This adds up to about $1 billion over that three week time period.
“The reduction in traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities is a bit of a silver lining for people who are staying at home and who are impacted by the pandemic,” UC Davis Road Ecology Center director and project lead author Fraser Shilling wrote in a news release.
This change was accompanied by a 55% reduction in traffic on some highways, as well as a 40-50% decrease in injuries for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists in Sacramento-area hospitals.
“The reduction in traffic accidents is unparalleled,” the report states. “There is no equivalent in our recent transportation history to such large changes in vehicle movement on our state and local roads.”
The biggest Fourth of July celebration on the north shore of Lake Tahoe has been canceled because of COVID-19.
The town of Incline Village determined it was too risky to move forward with vendor contracts that need to be signed for the annual fireworks show. Fireworks are still planned on the south end of the lake.
According to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, officials were concerned not only about visitor safety, but also about the need to raise community funds while many residents are financially insecure.
Monday, April 20
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says thousands of city workers must take 26 furlough days, or the equivalent of a 10 percent pay cut, over the next fiscal year.
The move comes as the city deals with the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis. Garcetti says that tax revenues will come in far short of projections and warned of an economic blow far worse than the recession.
Garcetti’s announcement provides a glimpse of what cities across California can expect as the state copes with the loss of nearly one-hundred thousand jobs last month because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Vice President Mike Pence says the federal government is working around-the-clock to help states ramp up coronavirus testing. But the head of Sacramento County's Public Health Department says there's still a shortage of resources.
Dr. Peter Bielenson says they're currently testing about 50 to 100 people a day in the county's public health lab, and about 190 to 350 people a day in a drive-thru run by the company Verily.
"Then there are probably 200 to 300 or so tests being done through doctor's offices that are sent out to national lab companies that still have significant waiting periods," Bielenson said Monday on Insight with Beth Ruyak. "So we're probably testing close to several hundred people a day, which is up from 50 to 100 people a day about a month-and-a-half ago but still way too few."
He said in order to reopen the economy, health officials will need to know how many people test positive and how many people are asymptomatic, or don't have symptoms but can still be contagious.
"We do not have enough testing available in California or anywhere else around the country for that matter," Beilenson said. "We would like to be able to do at least 25,000 to 50,000 tests in the near future of our long term care facilities, that being nursing homes and assisted living sites as well as the congregate shelters for the homeless, because those are two of the most vulnerable populations."
As of Sunday afternoon, Sacramento County had 925 positive cases and 34 deaths. But Beilenson said the true number could be "10 times that."
"It's hard to make a really good estimate because we simply have not been testing virtually any asymptomatic patients and a large number of the folks with this virus are clearly asymptomatic," he said.
The Sacramento City Unified School District is opening a fully online registration process for the 2020-2021 school year.
Starting on April 20, parents can use the district website to submit all required registration paperwork.
Hard copy forms will still be available at the district's Enrollment Center at 5601 47th Avenue from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting April 20. Parents can submit the paperwork in a sealed envelope in a secure box at the Enrollment Center, which will be picked up each Friday and processed the following week.
For more information, contact the enrollment center here.
A prison inmate has died after contracting the coronavirus at the California Institution for Men in San Bernardino County.
He is the first prison inmate to die in California from what appears to be COVID-19 complications.
There are currently 59 people at the California Institution for Men who have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. As of April 18, 115 incarcerated people in California have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the department.
With fewer cars on the road, law enforcement throughout California are seeing a big spike in speeding and drunk driving arrests during the stay at home order.
While streets and highways are far less crowded now, people are still going to work, to the grocery store and to pick up takeout orders. The Stockton Police Department has cited over 120 drivers in just three days this month for traffic violations.
Before the pandemic, people would more likely pace their car speed with those around them. But emptier roads can make that difficult, Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva says.
“When people are normally driving, they see cars next to them or cars in front of them but right now since there’s not too much vehicle traffic, we are actually seeing drivers driving 10-15 miles an hour over the speed limit,” Silva said.
Speeders should be wary, Silva said, as there are plans for more enforcement this month.
Sunday, April 19
As of Sunday, nearly three months since the first confirmed case of the coronavirus was reported in the United States, there are over 746,300 confirmed cases of the virus in the country, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and reported by NPR.
Cases of COVID-19 have been reported in at least 212 countries and territories, according to the World Health Organization. And according to the Johns Hopkins data, over 2,382,000 people have been infected globally.
In the U.S., which has more cases than any other nation, another 32,491 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported on Saturday and nearly 1,900 more people infected with the virus died.
In California, there are 28,963 cases confirmed as of Saturday, and 1,072 deaths.
Saturday, April 18
Placer County’s historic courthouse in Auburn will beam blue to honor essential workers and those battling COVID-19.
Nearly two dozen blue lights were installed on the enclosed base of the courthouse dome. The lights were turned on at 7:45 p.m. Friday and will light up each night throughout the pandemic.
“We want to thank and show our deep appreciation for our health care professionals, first responders and essential workers during this time of crisis,” said Hon. Alan V. Pineschi, the presiding judge of the Superior Court of Placer County. “Their support of our individual and public health and safety demonstrates their courage and dedication.”
Historical buildings and area landmarks across the nation have been displaying blue lights in solidarity with those on the frontlines of the pandemic. The Mercury News reports that the #LightItBlue campaign started in the United Kingdom a couple of weeks ago when over 100 landmarks were lit with blue light.
In Sacramento, Old City Hall, Memorial Auditorium and the Capitol Mall have also been bathed in blue to honor health care workers.
“Blue is the color of England’s national health service,” Mayor Steinberg said earlier this month in a Facebook Live. “It’s also the color used by most health care providers in their logos. It’s considered a calm, steady color, qualities we really need right now.
Steinberg encouraged residents to join in by lighting up their homes with blue.
Friday, April 17
The California State University system is temporarily suspending its use of ACT and SAT exams to determine admission eligibility.
The change will affect fall 2021 through spring 2022 applicants.
CSU’s chancellor says the temporary change should provide some relief to those students and their families during these trying times.
“The California State University has provided access to a high-quality education for millions of Californians from all walks of life, and we will continue to fulfill our academic mission even during these most trying of times," CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said. “This temporary change will ensure equitable access to the university, and should provide some measure of relief to prospective students and their families."
The system is the largest of its kind in the country, with nearly a half-million students.
Public health officials in Nevada say the state may have already hit its peak of COVID-19 cases.
Washoe County’s District Health Officer says a predictive model shows the numbers of new infections might start to level off — and there’s just a 20 percent chance that the peak is still to come.
But, the county says this does not mean Nevadans can relax social distancing efforts.
The Sacramento, Roseville and Arden Arcade area’s unemployment rate rose to 4.7% in March 2020, up from 3.8% in February and from 4% this time a year ago, according to the California Employment Development Department.
However, these numbers were surveyed the week of March 12, which means they were calculated before schools and many businesses were forced to close due to COVID-19. This means job losses directly tied to stay-at-home orders in the second half of March are not reflected here.
This compares to an unemployment rate of 5.6% for California and 4.5% for the nation during this period.
The largest losses in Sacramento, El Dorado, Yolo and Placer counties came from the leisure and hospitality sector.
More than 250 people are tested for coronavirus daily at two Stockton homeless shelters to keep the spread of the disease down.
Community Medical Centers tended to almost 8,000 homeless patients at their clinics throughout Northern California last year.
In Stockton, Community Medical Center is going out to the Stockton Homeless Shelter and Gospel Center Rescue Mission screening those who are looking to spend the night.
Randy Pinnelli with Community Medical says the screening is mandatory, especially since the homeless population is more at risk than the general public.
“They tend to have more advanced chronic diseases, substance use, and mental issues are also factors that weaken individual ability to fight the infection,” Pinnelli said.
Pinnelli says each person is evaluated for symptoms and their temperature taken. He says if someone appears sick they can be evaluated the next day at a nearby clinic.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Thursday to make sure that farm and food workers impacted by COVID-19 get two extra weeks of paid sick leave.
The order only applies to workers who have been infected with or exposed to the virus, or who are otherwise ordered to isolate.
“These workers on the front lines of this crisis are our unsung heroes for continuing to work to ensure that Californians have food on their tables during these challenging times, and we must do everything in our power to make sure they are taken care of at home and in the workplace,” Newsom wrote in a press release.
Thursday, April 16
A Central California nursing home has 154 coronavirus cases and eight residents have died in an outbreak that has prompted authorities to prepare to evacuate residents if adequate staffing can't be maintained.
Redwood Springs Healthcare Center in Visalia reported 106 residents and 48 staff members tested positive for the virus. The outbreak is the latest of many reported at skilled nursing facilities. They are especially vulnerable because many residents are elderly, have existing health problems and live in close proximity to each other.
The government's paycheck protection loan program for small businesses is on hold.
The Small Business Administration says it has reached the $349 billion lending limit for the program.
Business owners whose loans have not yet been processed must now wait for Congress to approve a Trump administration request for another $250 billion for the program.
At least 2,789 California health care workers have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to the California Department of Public Health. Cases among health care workers now make up about 11 percent of California’s total cases.
These cases include on-the-job exposures as well as other exposures, such as through travel and family contact.
Want to track the spread of COVID-19 in your county? Head to our California COVID-19 Tracker here.
Wednesday, April 15
Your next medical appointment may likely be a "virtual visit" done through a web-based portal—if you aren't already seeing your doctor that way.
Doctor Stephen Lockhart, the Chief Medical Officer at Sacramento-based Sutter Health, said virtual visits have skyrocketed in the past month during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lockhart said virtual visits are a way of managing larger numbers of patients without exposing them—or hospital staff—to the potential for infection.
"We have gone from what used to be about 20 to 30 video visits per day to 5,000 per day," Lockhart said. "And I believe going forward it's going to be a way in which a lot of medicine, particularly in an ambulatory space is delivered."
You can hear the full interview here.
The California Fish and Game Commission has given the state Department of Fish and Wildlife director the right to temporarily delay, suspend or restrict recreational fishing.
The commission says the action is necessary, based on government health officer orders, to protect against the threat from COVID-19.
Last week’s meeting was not held as the phone system couldn't handle the volume of calls, and derisive public comment before the meeting even began was enough to convince the commission to postpone.
Anglers have expressed concern about losing multiple seasons of fishing throughout the state.
"I understand Californians desperately need the outdoors for solace, reinvigoration and spirituality, especially so right now," said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham in a statement. "The proposal was never about a statewide permanent closure. It is about being responsive to local needs in this public health emergency.”
The temporary authority expires May 31, 2020.
The FBI says background checks last month were up 41 percent compared to March of last year.
Sam Paredes heads the gun advocacy group Gun Owners of California. On "Insight with Beth Ruyak" Wednesday, he said people want to protect themselves.
"When you have an economic slowdown like we have, you have the government that is admittedly releasing convicted criminals from jails and prisons, there's going to come a point in time there where the crime rate will begin to escalate," Paredes said.
Early numbers, however, show that street crime is actually down right now as people stay indoors. UC Davis Dr. Garen Wintemute is an expert on gun violence. He says risk-factors for suicide — which include isolation, unemployment and illness — are all up
"The spike has adverse health effects," Wintemute said. "There is grounds for concern that there will be an increase in intimate partner violence. To be honest, I'm most concerned about an increase in suicide."
The Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office release joint statements on Monday that its officers and deputies will be doing more to enforce California’s stay-at-home order.
In a press release, the agencies say they’ve had to shut down “large house parties” and “sideshow” incidents involving more than a 100 onlookers watching vehicles in the streets.
The agencies will target repeat or obvious violators of the state order with possible misdemeanor charges, including up to six months in jail and $1,000 fines.
“This move towards limited enforcement addresses those that blatantly put the community at risk by engaging in obvious violations of the Public Health Order,” Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn wrote in a statement.
This past Sunday, agencies say they responded to “multiple” sideshow events.
You can read the department’s full press release here.
In a briefing Wednesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed his outline for eventually lifting the state’s coronavirus restrictions.
Newsom said he wants to see hospitalization numbers decline before he starts rolling back stay-at-home orders in the state.
Life will continue to be very different for Californians even once the orders are lifted, with waiters at restaurants likely wearing masks and gloves and public schools potentially staggering start times, according to Newsom.
“Normal, it will not be, at least until we have herd immunity and have a vaccine,” the governor said of post-quarantine life.
Read more about Newsom’s six-point plan to gradually reopen the state here.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has activated more than 700 National Guard members to help respond to the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
Originally, the state called up 106 soldiers and airmen last week to manage donations and supply distribution operations in Reno and Las Vegas, according to state officials. This new round of guardsmen will provide medical support, food bank and warehouse help, transportation assistance and alternative care facility setup, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
This will bring the state’s National guard activation to about 800 total, the largest activation in the state’s history, according to a tweet from the Nevada National Guard.
Tuesday, April 14
There are now seven COVID-19 cases among crew members of the Navy hospital ship Mercy that is docked at the Port of Los Angeles.
The ship was sent to Los Angeles to help free up room at hospitals in the area and was not treating any coronavirus patients. A Navy spokesman says those who've tested positive have been isolated off the ship, and the ability to receive patients has not been affected.
Colleges have switched to on-line instruction-only now that campuses are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, some students want to see tuition cuts.
Rosie Oganesian is a freshman at UC Irvine majoring in bio-science.
"I'm a first-generation college student so I'm experiencing everything for the first time," she said. "I understand the situation that's happening right now but I didn't want to go to an online school, I wanted to go to a school where I could go sit in class."
Oganesian has started an online petition pushing for a partial tuition refund.
But the University of California says it's facing increased costs. Classes are online now and campuses are paying for video software licenses. The California State University system has a similar position.
"The revenue from tuition is critical to the university operations," said Mike Uhlenkamp is with the CSU Chancellor's Office. "While some of the facilities, you can no longer visit in person, we still have the ability to conduct some sort of virtual accommodations."
Both CSU and the University of California system have been giving students refunds for housing, dining and parking fees.
Three Southern California churches are suing Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials after being told to close their doors under the state’s stay-at-home order, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The churches want to block Newsom’s statewide order and two county orders designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 by having people stay home except for essential activities. The orders do not list houses of worship as critical infrastructure where face-to-face contact is permitted. Many churches have begun holding virtual services to meet their congregations’ spiritual needs during this time.
The suit also names Attorney General Xavier Becerra and officials in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The churches are arguing that the social distancing orders violate their First Amendment right to freedom of religion and assembly.
Riverside and San Bernardino counties, where the churches are located, had 1,751 and 977 confirmed cases of COVID-19, respectively, as of April 13. Track the spread of COVID-19 in California’s counties here.
More than 70 detained immigrants in 12 states have tested positive for COVID-19 and hundreds more are under quarantine, according to the Associated Press.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has begun reducing the population of detention centers to prevent more people getting sick. But detainees and their advocates say there isn’t enough protective equipment, cleaning supplies, or space for social distancing in detention centers. They fear the number of cases will rise sharply in the coming weeks as it has in jails and prisons. Detainees in at least four states say they’ve been denied protective face masks in detention.
Monday, April 13
Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced more than $40 million to support foster children and help keep families together during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re not giving up on our focus and our oversight and our legal responsibility to protect our children at this very difficult period of time,” Newsom said during a press conference.
Vulnerable families will get an extra $200 per month to help them stay together. Some of the money will also help pay for social worker outreach.
Newsom says he’s extending foster care payments so teens who would age out of the foster system can keep their current living arrangements during the crisis.
Read more about Newsom's remarks Monday here.
There will be no more newspapers in driveways in Yuba and Sutter counties on Sunday morning. The Appeal Democrat announced it will publish print editions Tuesday through Saturday only. Online content will be available for subscribers.
In a notice to readers on Monday's front page, the paper noted the expense of printing operations and the effect of the coronavirus stay-at-home orders on the revenue side of the paper.
Editor Steve Miller said the paper had been struggling with daily production after laying off several employees two weeks ago.
“The Sunday paper is probably the most profitable issue but the Saturday paper will become a combination Saturday Sunday. It will be a weekender edition," Miller said.
There will also be no Monday paper, but stories will be available online. The paper currently has a circulation of about 8,500.
Papers across the country and in California have also made significant cuts or layoffs since the stay-at-home orders were issued by local, state and the federal government. The Sacramento News & Review recently announced it was suspending its print publication.
A nursing home in Yolo County is reporting 35 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including the death of one resident.
All positive cases have been isolated and staff and residents are being monitored, county health officials said. Of the 35 cases, 23 are residents and 12 are staff.
“Nursing homes are at very high risk for COVID-19 outbreaks," Yolo County Public Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman said in a statement. "In most nursing home outbreaks, the virus is introduced from visitors and staff. Unfortunately, this means that people need to stay at home and not visit their loved ones.”
Chapman said nursing home staff in Yolo County are required to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before starting a work shift. The county currently has 93 confirmed cases and three deaths from COVID-19.
To protect patient privacy, the name and location of the nursing home are not being released.
COVID-19 has led to the highest unemployment rates on record in California.
According to the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, California’s unemployment rate has jumped to almost 19% with a loss of almost 4 million jobs.
Northern California fared slightly better than the rest of the state at 17.7% unemployment.
Thomas Pogue with the Center said the jobs most affected were personal care and service-related such as at restaurants and bars. He said he expects an economic rebound in time but certainly some job losses will be permanent.
“Yes, unfortunately, it seems there will definitely be," Pogue said. "I use analogies like walking through a forest, some are not going to make it back at the other side, unfortunately.”
Pogue says Silicon Valley unemployment was only 15.3% with many tech employees able to work remotely.
The hardest-hit counties in Northern California were Napa and Sonoma which depend upon tourism and where unemployment soared to over 22 percent.
Sunday, April 12
The U.S. coronavirus death toll has surpassed Italy's, putting America at No. 1 globally for the number of people killed by the virus.
Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center show that in the U.S. more than 20,600 patients have died as of early Sunday morning. Italy has nearly 19,500 deaths.
In California, there are now more than 21,000 confirmed cases, and at least 651 deaths as of Saturday.
Saturday, April 11
The Internal Revenue Service says it will begin making automatic COVID-19 relief payments in the next week to eligible American taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 and chose direct deposit of their refund.
The Economic Impact Payments, part of the CARES Act signed by President Trump, are for U.S. citizens or resident aliens who have a valid Social Security Number, cannot be claimed as a dependent by someone else and have income under certain limits.
These one-time payments, starting at $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples, plus an additional $500 per child, will be based on your, or you and your spouse’s, adjusted gross income.
To receive the full payment you must have income under:
- $75,000 for individuals
- $112,500 for head of household filers and
- $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns
You’ll get a reduced payment if your income is between:
- $75,000 and $99,000 if your filing status was single or married filing separately
- 112,500 and $136,500 for head of household
- $150,000 and $198,000 if your filing status was married filing jointly
The IRS says people who receive Social Security retirement, survivors or disability benefits, SSDI or who receive Railroad Retirement benefits but did not file a return for 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive a payment in the “near future.”
In addition, the agency has launched a new web tool for those who don’t normally file a tax return to register for an Economic Impact Payment.
A second web tool to allow everyone to check the status of their payments is expected to be launched by April 17.
Friday, April 10
The mayor of Oakland announced Friday that 74 miles of city roadways will be closed to vehicles during the pandemic.
Mayor Libby Schaaf says it will create safe spaces for people to get outside to walk, jog and bike — all while keeping socially distant.
The closure comes as officials worried that Easter coinciding with sunny weather will bring more people outdoors.
California is entering its fourth week of stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of conoravirus.
Ahead of Easter Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned that the distancing guidelines apply to “everyone across the spectrum” including faith communities.
“As you pray, move your feet six feet apart from someone else,” he said. “Practice your faith but do so in a way that allows you to keep yourself healthy, keep others healthy.”
Newsom pointed to a Sacramento-based church as a “cautionary tale:” about one-quarter of all confirmed cases in the county were tied to the church.
“They were continuing to practice their faith in a way that did not serve God or each other and put the entire community at risk,” Newsom said.
On Friday, the state had 19,472 confirmed cases and 541 deaths. The number of hospitalized patients grew slightly to 2,897. The number of ICU patients, which saw a slight decline Thursday, grew by 1.1% to 1,145.
Yosemite National Park closed down to human visitors three weeks ago. Since then the animals at the park have gotten more comfortable.
Employees at the park recently posted a video showing how Yosemite's year-round residents have been faring without the millions of guests who travel to the park every year.
While so much has changed for humans in recent weeks, it's reassuring to see that nature carries on as it always has. Relax with us for a moment as we share a peek into Yosemite Valley during the current park closure. pic.twitter.com/WiQDLbCogV— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) April 2, 2020
Traffic and overcrowding have been an issue at Yosemite in recent years. You can hear more about the park's struggles with tourism and other issues in our Yosemiteland podcast.
The chief executive of the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games says he can't guarantee the postponed Olympics will be staged next year because the coronavirus continues to spread in Japan.
The country issued an emergency declaration this week to battle the virus. The Olympics, which were originally set to take place this summer, were postponed last month with a new opening set for July 2021.
According to ABC News, Japan reported 500 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.
Thursday, April 9
Sacramento County health officials and Bethany Slavic Missionary Church leaders say they are working together to stop the spread of COVID-19. This agreement comes after the church said it was not responsible for members’ religious gatherings that led to at least 71 members testing positive for the coronavirus.
The church said in a joint statement with the county that public shaming has led it to close its food closet.
“They shut down operations because of the social criticism, feeling like they couldn’t do anything that included people anywhere near each other,” Sacramento County spokeswoman Janna Haynes said. “(Providing food to members in need) is an essential service. It’s obviously the same type of service that other organizations are providing. It is our hope that they are able to re-open.”
The church and the county promised they would continue to communicate and share materials and outreach tactics to slow the spread of the virus.
Gov. Gavin Newsom says starting this Sunday, California workers receiving unemployment benefits will begin getting an extra $600 on top of their weekly amount.
The money was included in the $2 trillion federal CARES Act.
The extra money comes as the state sees a record number of people apply for benefits.
In the last four weeks, California has processed about 2.3 million unemployment claims. The state says that's more than the total number of claims filed all of last year.
Stockton’s homeless are getting some major help in staying healthy and clean during the coronavirus pandemic.
Twelve hygiene stations have been placed in different areas around the city, providing 50 porta-potties and outdoor handwashing stations.
Connie Cochran with the city says the stations give homeless people who may be camped out around-the-clock protection to help keep the spread of coronavirus down.
“The toilets and sanitation stations were placed close to where the encampments already are and it depends upon where the location is,” she said. “We may have more in one location than another.”
Cochran says the city is also partnering with United Way to provide people with sanitation kits when they are away from their outdoor campsites.
She adds that reaching everybody in the community with the same message about staying safe benefits all.
The number of coronavirus ICU patients in California has declined for the first time in weeks.
The news left Gov. Gavin Newsom cautiously optimistic.
“One data point is not a trend. One data point is not a headline,” he warned. “Nonetheless, it is encouraging.”
There are currently 1,132 ICU patients in California, which represents a 2 percent drop from Wednesday.
The state’s number of positive coronavirus cases now exceeds 18,000.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation anticipates California will see its surge of cases in mid-April. However, Newsom says the state's model continues to show the surge occurring in mid-May.
In other updates, Newsom announced vouchers and discounts for health care workers staying in hotels to be closer to their hospitals or to protect their families from exposure to the coronavirus.
With schools and restaurants closed, California dairy farmers are looking at alternatives.
This is the time of the year when milk production is at its peak, but prices have slumped as the demand plummeted. Some farmers have even resorted to dumping milk, but they may soon have some alternatives.
The Second Harvest Food Bank in Manteca serves food pantries in Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties. The USDA distributes milk to schools but now it is working with Second Harvest to give that milk to families in need.
Second Harvest CEO Keenon Krick is hoping supplies will be forthcoming this week.
“We’ll get some of it out here to the local community but we’re also connecting to our other food banks through either the region or the state to get milk to them," Krick said. "They lack the milk.”
Manteca is surrounded by more than a dozen local dairy farms and milk is the No. 3 agricultural commodity in San Joaquin County.
Krick says Second Harvest had been serving the community with 230,000 pounds of food per week before the pandemic, but that the demand has now grown to 340,000
The steep drop in air travel because of the coronavirus outbreak is passing a milestone.
Fewer than 100,000 people went through airport checkpoints on Tuesday, the lowest number since the Transportation Security Administration started keeping track. That's down 95% from a year ago.
According to the Associated Press, the last time the U.S. averaged less than 100,000 air travelers was 1954. Daily passenger levels were last this low after air travel was halted following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Wednesday, April 8
Communities of color in California do not appear to be disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus, like in some other states.
Gov. Gavin Newsom released data Wednesday that shows cases of the virus generally mirror the racial makeup of California’s population. But he warned it’s not a full picture due to inadequate testing and incomplete data.
“In Louisiana, 37 percent of the state’s population is black, while African Americans make up 70 percent of the people who have succumbed to the virus,” he said. “Based upon the 37% of our data that’s in, we are not seeing that. But I caution you, the data is limited to that current sample size. We will get more of that information in.”
Newsom also announced Wednesday the state has worked out a deal to buy 200 million masks each month to help in the fight against COVID-19.
Property owners throughout California, including businesses upended because of the coronavirus outbreak, are having a hard time meeting Friday's county property tax deadline.
"We certainly have had business let us know that some of them are struggling,” said Chad Rinde, Yolo County's chief financial officer.
He says even though the payments are due Friday, they're funding government operations for the period of January through June.
"So some of those services that you've been receiving and some of the COVID response that's been going on for the last month or so has been funded with the payment that you're making on Friday or the payment that maybe you've already made,” he said. “So it really is critical."
Rinde says people unable to pay can fill out a waiver form on Yolo County's website. Counties don't have the authority to change the April 10 due date. The California Taxpayers Association had asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to issue an executive order for property tax relief. But it doesn't look like that will be happening.
Hear the full interview with Rinde on Insight With Beth Ruyak.
The Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce has created a loan “triage” program to help small business owners get connected to loan and grant opportunities. The program is a hotline that interested businesses can call, and it will help navigate people to local, state and federal resources. The number for the hotline is 833-391-1919.
“One of the things that we’re trying to do is figure out ways to get capital into folks’ hands immediately that may not be able to go through federal programs, or may not be able to find a bank that’s able to lend to them,” Chamber president Pat Fong Kushida said.
The hotline will be able to provide business owners with guidance in a number of different languages and will be staffed by people fluent in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Mandarin. It will also have business counselors there to help owners navigate the federal SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and the Paycheck Protection Program in addition to helping business owners find smaller local grants from funds like Donate4Sacramento.
The Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce has also launched a Rapid Response Hub for businesses in Sacramento County that provides information about business loans and daily updates about COVID-19.
San Joaquin County residents will be able to drive up and get a free test for the coronavirus starting Wednesday in French Camp, south of Stockton.
The new plan is part of Project Baseline, which is expanding to San Joaquin County in testing for COVID-19. Initially, no walk-ins are being accepted and people who want to be tested have to sign up in advance by going to projectbaseline.com.
Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs reached out to the governor’s office and to Verily, a Google sister company, which is doing the testing to include the county and area cities.
People who want to be tested must exhibit symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath or have other risk factors.
Tubbs said the free testing will help to stop the spread of the disease.
“It’s important that we increase the testing capacity so folks know quickly who has COVID-19, who doesn’t so we are able to get people the appropriate treatments,” Tubbs said.
He adds that results should come back within three to four days.
At Tuesday’s press conference with Gov. Gavin Newsom, state Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris announced newly developed guidelines developed by her office to help people with their physical and mental wellness during the outbreak.
The resources provide a “playbook” to avoid negative health impacts of isolation and stay-at-home orders, such as anxiety, stress and dietary habits.
Meanwhile, Newsom says about 2.3 million Californians have filed unemployment claims with the state.
Tuesday, April 7
Gov. Gavin Newsom is scrapping his $222 billion budget proposal and coming up with a new one to address sweeping impacts of the coronavirus on the state’s economy.
“I’m putting together a new budget for the state of California,” he said in an interview with NPR, after his previous proposal became unworkable with 2.3 million new unemployment claims since March 12.
Typically, California lawmakers would soon be set to begin their own budget revision process. But the coronavirus prompted lawmakers into a recess, which has since been extended to at least May 4. The legislature is constitutionally mandated to pass a balanced budget by June 15.
Complicating things further, lawmakers won’t have a clear picture of the state’s finances until after June 15 because tax deadlines have been extended until July.
Nevada County has issued new orders for people who have been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19 in order to slow the spread of the disease in the county.
The county is now ordering that people who have been diagnosed with or likely have COVID-19 to self-isolate in their homes until three days have passed since their fever resolved and respiratory symptoms improved, and at least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared, whichever is later.
The county is also requiring that people who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 self-quarantine for two weeks from the last time they saw the person.
The only exception for these orders is for someone to receive medical care. The county asks that people who have been exposed to, are likely to have or are confirmed to have COVID-19 call ahead before visiting their doctor to let them know.
The main differences between isolation and quarantine are the amount of time a person is required to stay in their home without going out even for essential services, and the requirement that people who have been diagnosed with or are likely to have COVID-19 must notify anyone they had close contact with while symptomatic and 48 hours before symptoms began so those people can self-quarantine.
“Both self-isolation and self-quarantine mean staying at home,” the county wrote in a news release. “Do not go to work, school, or public areas; separate yourself from other people and animals in your home and avoid sharing household items.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak says the state's use of ventilators has grown as more coronavirus cases have been reported, with 44% of the state's ventilators in use.
The machines help struggling patients breathe, and are a necessary part of hospital care for some people with COVID-19, which attacks the lungs. The White House says Nevada will get 100 ventilators from California, which is loaning them to other states as well.
Yesterday California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state would be sending 500 ventilators to the National Strategic Stockpile.
REI announced Monday it will keep its 162 retail locations closed and furlough some of its roughly 14,000 employees without pay for 90 days beginning on April 15 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to halt much of the retail industry.
The company says furloughed employees will continue to receive health benefits during the 90 days.
"We believe this will be the most challenging period for our business, and we have to make some immediate decisions that impact REI employees," CEO Eric Artz wrote in a blog post announcing the decision.
Artz wrote that he would forfeit his salary for the next six months, and other senior executives would reduce their salaries by 20% over that time.
In the post, Artz said the company hopes to start curbside pickup in the next 45 days and reopen stores in the coming months "when it's safe to do so."
Monday, April 6
Two northern Nevada tribes are the first governmental entities in the state to order mandatory curfews punishable by fines and potential jail time in response to the spread of the coronavirus.
The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony curfew requires members to stay in their homes from nine at night until five the next morning. This is in effect at least through April 30, and has exemptions for those making essential trips.
California's courts have suspended eviction proceedings in the state until 90 days after the coronavirus state of emergency is lifted.
Assembly Housing Chair David Chiu says the decision by the state Judicial Council does not eliminate a landlord’s ability to start an eviction, but gives tenants more time to deal with it.
“Today, the courts took a very major step forward in clearing up a lot of confusion that has existed around what is happening to tenants during this time period,” Chiu said.
Chiu along with several tenant advocates said the move goes much further than Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order on evictions last month. They said that order only pushed the process back until after May and did not halt eviction proceedings in court.
The Judicial Council is the policymaking body of the California courts.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that California will loan 500 ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile to help other states hardest hit by the coronavirus.
“We still have a long road ahead of us in the Golden State – and we’re aggressively preparing for a surge – but we can’t turn our back on Americans whose lives depend on having a ventilator now,” Newsom said. “I know that if the tables were turned and we were experiencing a hospital surge, other states would come to our aid and provide ventilators just as we are today.”
Newsom is working to secure additional hospital beds and equipment for an expected patient surge in California. He has said he is looking to add an additional 10,000 ventilators to the state’s inventory.
States including Washington and Oregon are also lending ventilators directly to New York and other states facing shortages.
Update: The Judicial Council has voted to approve the new rules
BIG NEWS: In an unanimous vote, the Judicial Council is suspending all eviction cases in CA!— David Chiu (@DavidChiu) April 6, 2020
CA courts will not be issuing summons or judgements in unlawful detainer cases.
This means no CA tenant will be evicted unless it's necessary to protect public health & safety.
California judicial leaders are expected to adopt a statewide emergency order setting bail at zero for lower-level offenses and suspending evictions and foreclosures to deal with the COVID-19 crisis that has crippled the state's court system.
The Judicial Council is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting today to vote on nearly a dozen temporary rules, including a proposal to hold criminal and juvenile proceedings by video or phone. The new rules would go into effect immediately.
Over the weekend a federal court refused to free thousands of inmates to ease crowded conditions in state prisons. The court told the group seeking the release to file the request in district court.
Among the actions the council will consider are:
- Suspending the entry of defaults in eviction cases
- Suspending judicial foreclosures
- Allowing courts to require judicial proceedings and court operations be conducted remotely, with the defendant’s consent in criminal proceedings
- Adopting a statewide emergency bail schedule that sets bail at $0 for most misdemeanor and lower-level felony offenses
- Allowing defendants to appear via counsel or remote technologies for pretrial criminal hearings
- Prioritizing hearings and orders in juvenile justice proceedings and setting up a structure for remote hearings and continuances
- Extending the timeframes for specified temporary restraining orders
- Extending the statutes of limitations governing civil actions
- Allowing electronic depositions in civil cases
Sunday, April 5
El Dorado County has issued a no-travel order to reduce the number of visitors and non-full-time residents to the Lake Tahoe basin.
Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams said the order is in response to non-essential travel that is still occurring, and having an impact on the availability of groceries, supplies and other resources.
“Visitors whom we enthusiastically welcome during normal times are further impacting an already decreased availability of essential supplies and food, and putting the entire Lake Tahoe population at greater risk of being able to receive proper health care,” Williams said.
“It’s time to take this very strong message to those who are not already residing in South Lake Tahoe: if you have no essential function and you are here, please go home; if you have no essential function and you are not here, please stay home."
Read the full public health order on the county website.
Saturday, April 4
California has made a dent in its backlog of unprocessed COVID-19 tests, resulting in a spike in the number of cases in the state.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said in his update Saturday at noon that cases jumped by 12.4 percent in the past 24 hours, to 12,026 positive patients.
Some 2,300 are hospitalized, and 1,008 are receiving intensive-care treatment, a number that went up by double digits again in the past day. Deaths in the state increased by 35 on Friday to 285.
Newsom urged residents to continue to be patient while remaining at home. “We cannot allow cabin fever to come in, we cannot allow people to start congregating again,” he said. “We’re not out of the woods.”
You can keep track of COVID-19 cases in California by county using our tracker.
Friday, April 3
California's legislative leaders say lawmakers will not reconvene later this month as they had planned.
Sen. Toni Atkins of San Diego says guidance from the governor and others make it clear returning on April 13 is not feasible.
The Legislature recessed on March 16 shortly after approving a $1 billion spending package to address the COVID-19 outbreak. It is believed to be the first unscheduled work stoppage for the Legislature in 158 years — with no end in sight.
While there are a lot of uncertainties over the coronavirus, the constitution does require lawmakers to do one thing this year: pass an operating budget by June 15.
Asm. Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said lawmakers will “absolutely” meet that deadline, though the budget will likely look “very different” than the $222 billion proposal Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out in January.
Businesses in Reno that remain open in violation of the statewide order for all non-essential businesses to close might soon face fines.
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve announced the city will step up enforcement of the emergency order put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. The statewide directive has been in place since last month, but Schieve says city officials have been issuing warnings to some local businesses that have stayed open.
“The next step is to absolutely issue fines and I would support that 100 percent right now,” she said.
Schieve says the coming month will be very difficult for Reno and urged business owners and residents to take precautions now, so the health care system wouldn’t be overwhelmed.
She also asked everyone to wear a mask in public, even if they aren’t experiencing symptoms of the new disease.
The former home of the Sacramento Kings that was famous for being full of basketball fans could soon be home to a field or “surge” hospital full of 360 COVID-19 patients.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, state department of public health, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Kings have been in discussions for some time. The Kings announced the decision Friday, though the Sacramento Bee first reported last week that the Natomas arena would be used in response to the COVID 19 pandemic, if hospitals were to become overwhelmed.
The Kings are donating $250,000 to response efforts and 100,000 masks.
All 13 Sacramento County school districts will remain closed through the end of the school year, the Sacramento County Office of Education announced Friday. It’s part of the effort to suppress COVID-19.
“I commend our districts and their fine staffs for doing everything possible to provide distance learning,” said David W. Gordon, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools.
The announcement aligns with comments from Gov. Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond asking that all California districts focus on distance learning for the remainder of the current school year.
- Arcohe Union School District (K–8)
- Center Joint Unified School District (K–12)
- Elk Grove Unified School District (K–12)
- Elverta Joint School District (K–8)
- Folsom Cordova Unified School District (K–12)
- Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (K–8)
- Galt Joint Union High School District (9–12)
- Natomas Unified School District (K–12)
- River Delta Unified School District (K–12)
- Robla School District (K–6)
- Sacramento City Unified School District (K–12)
- San Juan Unified School District (K–12)
- Twin Rivers Unified School District (K–12)
California is ramping up testing for coronavirus even as a backlog of nearly 60,000 pending tests grows.
Lags in getting results can be as long as 12 days, which delays treatment and isolation of the sick and gives an incomplete picture of how widespread the outbreak is in the state. The state has reported that results of nearly two-thirds of the 92,500 tests administered are still pending.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that the backlog is part of a broader national problem. The state has more than 11,000 cases of coronavirus and at least 246 deaths.
The curtain has closed on the Music Circus before the shows even had a chance to open.
Broadway Sacramento says for the first time in its 70-year history there will be no Music Circus due to uncertainties and risks associated with the coronavirus.
Among the shows that had been scheduled for the 2020 season: Kinky Boots; Carousel; Kiss Me, Kate; Annie; Spamalot; and The Color Purple. All are being postponed until next summer.
Broadway Sacramento says Music Circus season ticket holders will have the opportunity to transfer those tickets to the 2021 season. Single-show tickets had not yet gone on sale.
Thursday, April 2
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a statewide moratorium Thursday on water shutoffs to homes and businesses while the state responds to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This executive order will help people who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring they have water service,” Newsom said in a statement. “Water is critical to our very lives, and in this time, it is critically important that it is available for everyone.”
The executive order came after a coalition of advocacy groups representing 172,000 people sent a letter to the state this week. They urged swift action to make sure all Californians have access to safe, clean and affordable drinking water during this time.
The groups released a statement saying: “We also strongly support the provision requiring reconnection for households who have had their water shut off since March 4 and urge water agencies that have not already done so to expand their reconnection efforts to all occupied homes previously shut off for nonpayment.”
The order builds on the steps already taken by the California Public Utilities Commission for private water systems. It also addresses the more than 100 public water systems that have adopted their own policies for not shutting off water service to residents.
“A lot of communities and families are having their water shut off,” said California Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld. “This will do a huge amount to change that.”
Thursday Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is seeing an average of 111,000 new claims each day. Overall, the state Employment Development Department has reported 1.9 million new claims for unemployment insurance since March 12.
Newsom announced onwardca.org — a website created by Fresno-based tech company Bitwise — where laid-off employees can go to be matched with a job during the coronavirus crisis.
The governor also announced relief packages to help small businesses stay afloat and continue paying employees. Companies that continue payroll will be eligible for up to $10 million in forgivable loans.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak activated the National Guard Wednesday to lead the state’s fight against the coronavirus.
Sisolak is also extending his order closing the state's casinos, schools and nonessential businesses an additional two weeks through April. The new order keeps Nevada's hospitality industry and most other businesses shuttered in line with national social distancing guidelines.
The mayor of Los Angeles is now urging that city’s 4 million residents to wear masks to combat the coronavirus when they're in public. Riverside County has the same message.
Mayor Eric Garcetti asked residents Wednesday to wear non-medical cloth masks when they go out to get essentials. Otherwise, he says people should stay home.
But state health officials are shying away from any mask requirements. The California Department of Public Health still says social distancing is your best bet to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
While most churches in California have suspended in-person worship services, one congregation in Lodi continues to gather for prayer, and is fighting the city to stay open on the basis of religious freedom.
Lodi is home to over 70 churches that have closed their doors. Yet at Cross Culture Christian Center, 25 to 50 church members have been attending services since the stay-at-home order.
Lodi Mayor Doug Kuehne says police visited the church last week at a Wednesday night service.
“They informed the congregation, the pastor, that gatherings of 10 or more were prohibited during this outbreak and the pastor resisted the information and continued to meet,” Kuehne said.
Cross Culture Attorney Dean Broyles filed a cease and desist order against the city.
“Religious congregations don’t forfeit their fundamental rights … even during a COVID-19 pandemic,” Broyles wrote in the filing.
Kuehne says the church gatherings go beyond just the health risks to the congregation.
“I hope they understand the seriousness of what they’re doing, endangering not only themselves but the rest of the citizens of Lodi," he said. "Based on the projections we’re seeing currently, just in Lodi, we will potentially run out of bed space for those that have contracted the virus.”
As of Wednesday night, San Joaquin County had reported 161 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and eight deaths.
But in a letter to the city, Church Pastor Jon Duncan says they are practicing social distancing, hand washing, and telling the elderly to stay home.
Police will be posting a notice at the church that prayer gatherings are not allowed. Nonetheless, the Church plans to celebrate with the congregation this Palm Sunday.
Yesterday, Sacramento County announced that one-third of its 314 confirmed cases were tied to church-related gatherings.
Wednesday, April 1
According to guidance from the state superintendent of public instruction and Gov. Gavin Newsom, California school districts should plan on teaching from afar for the rest of the school year. It’s not a mandate, but it gives districts the cover to do what many already felt was necessary.
Google says it will provide internet access to 100,000 rural households and Chromebooks for 4,000 students in need to assist with online learning. Newsom says the state is still working to ensure all students can be connected.
“I am so proud of every sector of our state—private, public, labor—coming together to meet this moment, and I am calling on other companies to match Google’s investment today to ensure our students and teachers have the resources they need to continue their education during this time,” Newsom said in a statement.
The DMV will reopen in an online-only capacity tomorrow, after closing its doors to the public last week. It also announced that it would be granting extensions and allowing people to renew licenses online or by mail.
For seniors over the age of 70
Seniors over 70 who have a license that expires between March 1 and May 31, 2020 will be given a 120-day extension to renew to keep them from having to make an in-person DMV visit.
Typically, California law requires drivers over 70 to visit the DMV in person for renewals, but the DMV is making an exception during this time. The expiration dates will reflect a minimum of 120 days before renewal is required.
The DMV estimates about 860,000 seniors visit their offices every year for in-person renewals.
Extensions and waivers for others
Drivers who have safe driving records will be given a 60-day waiver on renewing their license in-person, beginning March 30. This would also temporarily waive in-person renewals for identification cards. Starting on April 8, these drivers will also be able to complete a license renewal online here.
Drivers who may have had a driver’s license lost or stolen and need a duplicate license can also go online to request one rather than visit in person.
All California DMVs closed their offices to the public for an unspecified amount of time last week, after an employee at an office in Riverside tested positive for COVID-19. Workers will be returning to the office on April 2, but will be conducting virtual services only.
For the more than 2 million Californians who are self-employed, including those who work in the gig economy and are classified as independent contractors, there’s help in the federal coronavirus relief bill passed last week — approximately $900 per week for workers who qualify.
But that money isn’t ready yet. That’s because the state agency charged with administering the program says it hasn’t received instructions from the federal government on how to make the benefits available.
“We are awaiting direction at the federal level. We haven’t gotten instructions on how to implement the benefits,” Aubrey Henry, a spokesperson for the California Employment Development Department, or EDD, said this week. “We’re waiting for them anxiously like all states are.”
Henry said the state agency would make those details public as soon as they get them from the U.S. Department of Labor. Spokespersons for the federal department did not respond to requests for comment.
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act, self-employed workers who have lost work due to the outbreak can qualify for $600 per week in unemployment payments plus half each state’s weekly average unemployment insurance payment, which in California is $333.
University of Massachusetts Amherst economist Arin Dube has studied the federal bill. To get money to people faster, he’s called on states to use a “pay now, verify later” approach to paying out claims.
“This is a really important and good policy that I think the Congress has passed,” Dube said. “Now the issue is to make it work and make it work in a way that is relatively fast and can help fill the gaps in those family budgets.’
Dube estimated it will take states about a week to get the federal benefit program ready for people to send in applications.
Employment departments have already seen a flood of applications for benefits. In “normal times,” Henry of the California EDD said, his department takes about 3 weeks to process applications, but it could take even longer given the recent surge.
More information about benefit programs for workers affected by the coronavirus is available at the EDD’s website.
The Santa Rosa Police Department announced that Detective Mary Lou Armer died Tuesday, the first death of a police officer linked to the COVID-19 in California. She was 43.
Armer has been with the SRPD for 20 years. Her death is also the first in Napa County connected to the coronavirus.
Citrus Heights Police Chief Ron Lawrence, the president of the California Police Chiefs Association, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat the organization has started tracking the number of officers who have tested positive for the disease, but the numbers aren't ready to release.
Of the 314 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Sacramento County, one-third are linked to church-related gatherings, county health officials announced Wednesday.
Officials continue to ask residents to follow the county's stay-at-home order, which restricts people to their home unless for essential activities. They urge residents "from all faiths and all backgrounds to stay home."
The county has not released the names of the churches. For one church, investigators say it appears parishioners and not the church itself are at fault.
Janna Haynes, a spokeswoman for the county, said it is not releasing the names of churches, but there is one in particular that had a number of people test positive.
“From what we know the church itself is not holding the services," Haynes said. "It’s the parishioners that are likely meeting together with others from the church. So the general public is not at risk of stumbling into this church.”
In a statement, Dr. Peter Beilenson, director of the Department of Health Services, said that gatherings of people outside an immediate household are a violation of the stay-at-home order.
"If we do not slow the spread of cases, a surge of sick people could have the potential to overwhelm our hospitals, doctors and equipment resources and could result in additional deaths,” Beilenson said.
There have now been nine deaths in Sacramento County related to COVID-19. You can follow case numbers for all California counties here.
In a letter to school superintendents throughout California yesterday, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said that it is likely that students will not be able to return to school before the end of the academic year.
Schools throughout the state closed last month due to the continuing spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in California.
Thurmond noted that this means schools should now work toward or continue strengthening their distance learning programs to continue serving students.
“This is in no way to suggest that school is over for the year, but rather we should put all efforts into strengthening our delivery of education through distance learning,” Thurmond wrote.
Schools in Sacramento County announced last week they would be closed through at least May 1, though some districts are still trying to implement distance learning plans.
Tuesday, March 31
California is planning to release within days as many as 3,500 inmates who were due to be paroled in the next two months.
The early release is part of an effort to free space in cramped prisons in anticipation of a coronavirus outbreak.
It comes a week after Gov. Gavin Newsom halted intakes from jails. That decision is expected to lower the state's prison population by about 3,000 inmates over the next month.
Those expected to get paroled early are not currently serving a sentence for a violent or sex crime.
— The Associated Press contributed to this post
Selland Family Restaurants says it has temporarily closed all three Selland's Market-Cafe locations and OBO Italian Table and Bar. Those sites had been offering takeout and delivery for the past few weeks.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, the family thanked customers and said they hoped to reopen as soon as possible.
"We feel it is safest to allow our staff to stay at home during this time," the post reads. ‘We will continue to keep you informed, as to when we re-open."
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the creation of a statewide hotline for seniors Tuesday.
Those looking for help or assistance can call 833-544-2374 to get services such as grocery or medication delivery. The state is also mailing a list of resources to seniors.
Newsom called on all Californians to check in on or call seniors unable to leave their home during the statewide stay at home order. He also asked nonprofits and faith-based organizations to call seniors in their networks.
In his speech Tuesday, Newsom also gave an update on the new Health Corps, saying more than 25,000 licensed individuals have signed up for the service since it was announced yesterday.
The Next Generation Jazz Festival, scheduled to take place starting Friday in Monterey, will now be held all online from April 3-9.
NGJF is an education-focused jazz festival that includes a competition for middle, high school and collegiate groups. Numerous ensembles from the Sacramento region have grabbed top honors over the years at the festival.
Participating schools’ submission tapes are being judged remotely, with winners announced April 9. The festival, put on by the Monterey Jazz Festival, has a full listing of online events here.
All events and content, including premieres of archival live concert footage from the Monterey Jazz Festival, will be available through the festival's Instagram Stories, Facebook and YouTube Channel, with additional content on SoundCloud.
Monday, March 30
As the number of people out of work increases during the coronavirus self-isolation, Sacramento is looking at ways to make sure those in need don’t go without groceries.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg visited the Sacramento Food Bank to announce the city would be dedicating almost $170,000 to the organization to ensure that residents have enough to eat. In addition, the Sierra Health Foundation has also raised over $600,000 to go to other relief efforts. Steinberg says the funds should be enough to give families two bags of groceries once a week for eight weeks.
"$169,000 will get two bags of groceries to 1,380 families for 8 weeks," Steinberg said. "This should allow people who are really hurting to breathe just a little easier knowing that there’s food on the way."
The food bank has also partnered with Sacramento City Unified School District to distribute groceries where schools have been giving out meals to children who receive free and reduced lunch.
The city and county of Sacramento have released a joint plan to protect homeless residents during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The plan includes expanding shelter space and leasing up to 800 motel rooms in the coming weeks.
Emily Halcon is the homeless services coordinator for the city of Sacramento. She says the state is also providing more than 60 trailers.
“Some of them may be larger, in which case we could use them for a couple or a family if need be," Halcon said. "But we intend to use the trailers primarily for isolation and quarantine.”
The plan also calls for distribution of food and medicine to high-risk people in the homeless population.
Advocates, including the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, have been critical of the city and county’s response in recent weeks. They have called for more proactive outreach, including providing tents to people who remain unsheltered and portable bathrooms and showers at encampments.
There are now 224 cases of the coronavirus in the county with 140 of them between the ages of 18 and 64. There were 81 cases of people 65 and older. Only three of those infected were minors. There have been seven deaths due to complications stemming from COVID-19.
California coronavirus hospitalizations have doubled statewide to 1,432 over the past four days, while the number of intensive-care patients had nearly tripled to 597, up from 200 four days ago.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the new numbers Monday at a press conference where he also encouraged retired or inactive doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to register as part of the newly created California Health Corps system.
Overall, the state had 5,763 COVID-19 cases as of Monday, Newsom said.
Sunday, March 29
California state parks announced it is temporarily closing vehicular access to all 280 state parks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This comes after many state parks again saw high levels of visitors on Saturday, making it impossible for visitors to socially distance.
The California Department of Parks and Recreation is reminding people to stay close to home when they’re outdoors and maintain a distance of 6 feet or more. Sick people are to remain at home.
Saturday, March 28
As of Friday night, 101 Californians had died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference Saturday.
ICU visits are up 105 percent overnight, in addition to a 38.6 percent increase in hospitalizations and more than 3,000 “persons of interest” who are waiting for test results, according to Newsom, who said officials are confident that the vast majority will not test positive.
“Physical distancing remains the most important thing we can do to meet this moment,” he said of the state’s stay-home order.
The governor says he has still not been tested for COVID-19 and has no symptoms. Before the tour of the Bloom facility in Sunnyvale on Saturday, his team had their temperatures checked, which he said was protocol every day for his administration.
“I’m confident at the moment that I’m healthy,” Newsom said. “But, you know, check in tomorrow.”
Read more of what Newsom had to say in our full article.
Friday, March 27
The former home of the Sacramento Kings could be used as a field hospital if regional emergency beds are overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it has been conducting site assessments and planning, and has been examining the Sleep Train Arena to see if it might be suitable as a temporary site to provide medical care.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said Friday no decision has been made as to whether Sleep Train would be used.
“It is one of the options that they’ve been looking at,” spokesman Brian May said. He added that there is a meeting scheduled for Saturday with state and federal agencies to make a final decision.
“This situation changes by the hour,” May said. “[As for any reports] that a decision has been made, that is not the case. At this moment, no decision has been made.”
Disneyland will remain closed indefinitely, Disneyland Resort announced Friday.
The park initially shut down on March 14 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, with a plan to stay closed through the end of the month. Now, park officials say it will remain closed until further notice.
“While there is still much uncertainty with respect to the impacts of COVID-19, the safety and well-being of our Guests and employees remain The Walt Disney Company’s top priority,” a statement reads.
President Trump signed a historic $2 trillion economic recovery package into law Friday afternoon, shortly after the House of Representatives approved the bill, NPR has reported.
The CARES Act will offer relief to state and local governments, individuals, small and large businesses, and hospitals affected by the coronavirus crisis.
The House vote comes a day after the U.S. overtook China to lead the world in the number of coronavirus cases.
"This is an emergency, a challenge to the conscience as well as the budget of our country, and every dollar that we spend is an investment in the lives and the livelihood of the American people," House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters a day earlier on Thursday.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also lauded the plan.
"This is not another day in Congress; this is a time when we have to come together to deliver results," McCarthy, R-Calif., said.
Researchers at UC Davis are involved in two federally funded clinical trials for new drugs that could potentially treat severe cases of COVID-19.
The health system is one of 75 sites testing remdesivir, a drug that has shown promise in animals for treating MERS and SARS. UC Davis physicians got emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to try this drug last month. They used it to treat the critically ill patient who arrived with the first known community-acquired case of COVID-19. That patient is now recovering at home.
There are about 440 patients enrolling in this study nationally, including at least 10 from UC Davis.
UC Davis will also be one of 50 sites to test sarilumab, another drug that could slow the inflammation that COVID-19 causes in the lungs. That drug was originally developed to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Roughly 400 patients nationally will be chosen for this study.
Only a small number of COVID-19 patients at UC Davis will be selected for each study.
The FDA has not yet approved any specific treatments for COVID-19. People who arrive at the hospital in severe respiratory distress are given supportive care such as ventilation and IV’s.
President Trump said in a letter to U.S. governors on Thursday that his administration is working to publish new guidelines for state and local governments to use when making decisions about "maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures" for the coronavirus epidemic.
Trump said officials are gathering testing data that will suggest guidelines categorizing counties as "high risk, medium risk or low risk" for the virus. The data will drive "the next phase" of the response, he said.
Trump has indicated that he wants to adjust his 15-day social distancing guidelines so that more parts of the stalled U.S. economy can reopen by April 12. The 15th day of the original guidelines is Monday.
Thursday, March 26
The number of people in the U.S. with the coronavirus has surpassed the number of cases being reported by China.
According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. had 82,404 cases as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday, while China had reported about 81,800 cases. In China, where the epidemic started in December, almost 3,300 people have died, while in the U.S., the toll stands at about 1,200. In Italy, there have been about 8,200 deaths.
The number of cases being detected in the U.S. has risen rapidly as more tests for the coronavirus have become available. But in many areas, people report long waits for a test, and many hospitals and health departments say there is a shortage of supplies for conducting the tests.
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
The Sacramento Republic FC professional soccer team says one of its players has tested positive for COVID-19.
The club says the player is isolated at home, and is recovering. The team says it, along with UC Davis Health, will monitor the health of all players and staff.
The team suspended all team training sessions, and closed offices and training facilities on March 13.
The club says it has been informed by public health officials that this case “does not present a risk to fans in attendance of our match on March 7.”
A group of 15 attorneys general, led by California’s Xavier Becerra, has sent a letter to the Trump administration requesting the repeal of a 2019 ban on fetal tissue for medical research. The attorneys are arguing the change could speed up the development of COVID-19 vaccines and therapies.
The ban, which took effect last June, applies to National Institutes of Health research that relies on fetal tissue from elective abortions. There has been a long-standing ethical debate about this research in the medical world.
Opponents say it encourages the destruction of human life. Supporters argue it’s one of the most valuable tools scientists have for developing treatments for HIV, Parkinson’s and other illnesses. Fetal cells were also used in development of vaccines for polio, rubella and other now-preventable diseases.
At least one NIH scientist is also appealing to the Trump administration for the green light on fetal tissue research he feels could lead to a COVID-19 treatment.
Becerra’s letter is signed by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
Sacramento County has a new, mobile COVID-19 testing site. It's currently accepting referrals from health care providers, but no walk-ins.
Samantha Mott is a spokeswoman for the county and says the Verily Life Sciences company is providing the tests.
“The goal on the outset is to provide an avenue for healthcare providers for their patients who are displaying mild to moderate symptoms who maybe don’t meet the criteria for the county public health lab to test," Mott said. They’re able to send them to the Verily website to see if they meet their criteria for testing.”
The location of the site is not being made public to avoid unscreened walk-ins as healthcare providers identify people who should be tested.
“The California community-based COVID-19 testing program is state-directed with federal input,” said Verily spokeswoman Kathleen Parkes. “Their criteria are focused on operating in the places where the public health will be most improved through testing.”
The screening process takes place online on the Verily website. “Once you go through the screening process, if you meet their criteria, then you follow their instructions as to what time and where to go to get the testing,” Mott said.
Verily says nurses and nurse practitioners perform the test while the individual remains in the car and the samples will be sent off.
“Testing is performed by lab organizations like Quest, and individuals will receive their results through partner health care organizations within several days,” Parkes said.
Verily used to be known as Google Life Sciences and previously launched pilot testing programs in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Riverside also has a mobile testing site.
Within a few days, Parkes says Sacramento’s mobile site will be able to process a couple of hundred people each day.
As of Wednesday night, 113 people in Sacramento County had tested positive, and five had died.
Since March 13, more than 1 million Californians have submitted claims for unemployment insurance, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.
In his announcement that more than 200 banks and credit unions would be providing 90-day waivers for mortgage payments and foreclosures, Newsom also provided an update on the worsening situation for workers in the state.
The state has taken some measures to make it easier for workers to get benefits, including waiving the one week waiting period for workers to apply for unemployment insurance. You can find more resources on how to apply for assistance here.
California's figures track with the national jobs outlook. Thursday's Labor Department report showed 3.3 million people filed for unemployment nationwide last week, shattering records.
Wednesday, March 25
A judge has ordered the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office to release more than 400 inmates with less than two months remaining on their sentences.
There are exceptions: no inmate can be serving time for a domestic violence-related offense, DUI or a sex offense that requires registration as a sex offender.
Sheriff Scott Jones said he was expecting the order, which was granted at the request of the county public defender’s office.
“In the interim, we have released some folks early because I directed that a housing unit in each of our jails at the mail jail downtown and the one in Elk Grove our branch jail be kept vacant,” Jones said. “So right now we have a vacant facility in each facility just in case we have a positive case of coronavirus we could rapidly isolate folks that they may have come in contact with.”
The order says 421 inmates at the Sacramento County Main Jail or the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center will be released on or before March 30, 2020.
An employee of the Sacramento Fire Department has tested positive for COVID-19 and is at home resting and monitoring symptoms.
The person has not been on duty since March 11 due to previously scheduled time off. The department is following recommendations from the Sacramento County Public Health Department and the policies of the Sacramento County Emergency Medical Services Authority.
Yesterday, the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District said an employee also tested positive for COVID-19.
Though Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state stay-at-home order covers the closure of certain state parks, Sacramento’s city parks remain open to the public and vehicle parking. You can find a list of city parks available here.
"Social distancing is essential to help lessen the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Mario Lara, Sacramento parks director. “But that doesn’t mean you must stay inside all the time. Walking, exercising or relaxing in your neighborhood park is a great way to unwind during this stressful time period."
The city is installing signs and barriers to discourage residents from using play structures at parks. Public health experts recommend avoiding play structures, park benches, water fountains and other park features.
San Joaquin County, East Bay Regional Parks, and the cities of Stockton and San Diego among others have closed public parks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
And though the stay-at-home order does allow for people to go outside for exercise or mental health, the National Recreation and Parks Association recommends the following rules when going to a park during the coronavirus outbreak:
- Wash your hands and carry hand sanitizer, and don’t use park trails if you’re feeling sick. Also cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Observe social distancing of six feet between yourself and other park goers.
- Warn other park users of your approach by signaling with a bell or a call, or stepping off the path to let others by.
- Avoid playgrounds and play structures if possible.
- Bring food and water, and take any trash out with you.
- Be aware that some public bathrooms may be closed during this time, and plan accordingly.
Some staff at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento have become infected with the coronavirus, a physician with the medical center said on Wednesday.
“We’re seeing cases in hospital staff as expected because we know we have widespread community transmission,” UC Davis infectious disease specialist Dr. Dean Blumberg said on CapRadio’s Insight. “I think the chances of getting infected in the community are much greater than being infected in the hospital setting.”
The email said that dozens more may need to stay home in the coming days and weeks as the virus spreads.
Hospital officials would not say how many staff were infected or what positions they held.
“We can't share the number of employees because it's considered to be protected health information, although I can tell you the number is low,” Charles Casey, a spokesperson for UC Davis Health, wrote in an email.
Blumberg said he did not have information about the Bee’s report that an emergency room nurse told the paper she believes she was infected by a patient brought to the ER from a skilled nursing facility.
UC Davis Health issued a written statement in response to the Bee’s article. It said, in part, that, “No female employees at our hospital have reported testing positive for COVID-19, and no patients in the Emergency Department on the dates and conditions described tested positive for COVID-19.” Even so, the medical center said it is launching an investigation into the report.
“We’re actively screening, all hospitals are actively screening visitors and health care workers for illness.,” Blumberg said on Insight. “Patients are placed in appropriate precautions. So, I feel that the hospital setting is probably safer than many businesses that are open such as grocery stores and other stores where they’re not doing this kind of active screening.”
While President Donald Trump has said he is looking to reopen the country by Easter, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he is looking at a much longer timeline.
“Early April, I think, that would be misleading to represent, at least for California,” he said. “We clearly, based upon the curve, have a lot more work to do.”
In a 20-minute update on Facebook Live, Newsom said he planned to give “a more formal update” on testing and other numbers regarding the virus’ spread on Wednesday.
San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation has closed the county’s parks through April 30.
The closure includes Micke Grove Regional Park in Lodi, Oak Grove Regional Park in Stockton, Mossdale Crossing Regional Park in Lathrop and the Regional Sports Complex in Stockton. It also includes day-use and campground facilities at Dos Reis Regional Park in Lathrop, Westgate Landing Regional Park in Lodi and Stillman Magee Regional Park in Clements.
These temporarily closed parks join Micke Grove Zoo and the Oak Grove Nature Center, which have already been closed to the public due to the coronavirus.
You can find the latest information on park closures in San Joaquin County here.
Tuesday, March 24
The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District says an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee had provided care to a patient during a 911 call and was transported to a local emergency department for further treatment.
Metro Fire was notified a few days after that the patient tested positive for COVID-19. The employee had already been placed off work due to developing symptoms and was tested which led to the positive test result received today. Sac Metro says this all happened within the last week.
The Sacramento City Council is expected to vote to ban evictions of commercial tenants, who are suffering losses as a result of measures designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The change to ordinance 2020-0015 would expand protections for people affected by such measures. Last week, the council passed the ordinance to protect residential tenants from being evicted.
The council is also expected to approve $10 million in funding for homeless services with increases to housing, outreach and medical services. That includes a COVID-19 Emergency Homeless Funding grant allocation of more than $2 million.
One of the smaller things in Gov. Gavin Newsom's executive order asking Californians to stay at home is an extension for counties to certify results from the March 3 election.
The order allows an extra three weeks, meaning counties now have until April 24 to deliver final results to the Secretary of State.
In Yolo County, election officials said they have sent home the usual extra election staff who would help with the count. Members of the public who want to observe the process are still able to do so, as long as they observe social distancing protocols.
“The safety of staff and residents is our primary concern while we continue to work diligently towards certifying the election,” Yolo County Registrar Jesse Salinas said.
The International Olympic Committee has decided that the Tokyo Summer Olympic set for late July cannot go ahead as scheduled this year because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Debbie Meyer is an Olympic swimming champion who won 3 gold medals during the 1968 Mexico games. She's a swim coach in Truckee now.
"I am happy. I'm ecstatic that they postponed it," Meyer said today on Insight with Beth Ruyak. "It gives athletes that are injured right now whose trials aren't until July or end of June, a chance to recover. It helps athletes, that are right on the cusp of making trials to make the Olympic team, to have a little more time to prepare."
Sacramentan Jeff Float knows what it's like to train for the summer games only to have them put off. Float won a gold medal in swimming during the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. But four years earlier he qualified for the Moscow games boycotted by the United States.
"With the boycott it was about what the Russians were doing invading Afghanistan in a war and we're kind of in another type of war. And I feel for these college athletes," Float said. "I can see how they're very emotionally challenged in this time of understanding what's going on — you know, 'This shouldn't be happening to me.'"
The International Olympic Committee says the games, originally scheduled for late July, will be held no later than summer 2021 but they'll still be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento has gotten some criticism for continuing to perform non-emergency surgeries such as cataract surgeries, hernia repairs, breast implants and nonmalignant mass removal in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
The U.S. Surgeon General asked hospitals to delay these procedures earlier this month, and the American College of Surgeons is recommending some of them be postponed to reserve staff and equipment for a surge of COVID-19 patients.
The Medical Center defended the decision on social media after Kaiser Health News published a story about it. The article included comments from health policy experts and anonymous UC Davis staffers criticizing the choice to continue elective procedures. One Harvard Business School professor suggested hospitals were continuing elective procedures because they tend to be lucrative.
Pamela Wu, director of media relations for UC Davis, has taken to Twitter to refute the article, arguing that many procedures the story defines as “elective” are vital to patient care. Editor’s note: Pamela Wu is an occasional fill-in host of CapRadio’s Insight.
“Which cancer patients get to hope their tumors don’t grow further in the next 3-6 months?” she wrote. “Which patients in severe pain have to ‘just live with it’ until this is over? These are the kinds of decisions our providers face within the constraints of the current situation.”
Other health systems in the Sacramento area are making different choices. Physicians at Kaiser Permanente are “clinically evaluating all elective procedures scheduled for the next few weeks to determine those that can be safely postponed,” according to an emailed statement. Sutter Health is postponing “all elective surgeries that can be safely rescheduled,” and Dignity Health has temporarily postponed elective surgeries.
Jan Emerson-Shea with the California Hospital Association said hospitals can make their own decisions about postponements based on their caseloads and their capacity.
“If they’re doing elective procedures, it’s because a person’s health is still at risk,” she said. “Elective procedure does not mean it’s not medically necessary, it just means it’s not an emergency.
Monday, March 23
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the closure of all city parks, beaches and boardwalks Monday to prevent gatherings that could spread the coronavirus.
I have directed the @CityofSanDiego to move forward with closing all City-owned parks, beaches and trails. There were far too many ignoring physical distancing rules this weekend. The actions of a few can cost the lives of many. Please stay at home, San Diego.— Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) March 23, 2020
“We encourage outdoor exercise as long as people maintain 6 feet of social distancing,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s Public Health Officer. “It looks like people are not able to do that.”
On Sunday, the county’s health department officials reported the first COVID-19 death of a San Diego resident.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced it has suspended many field operations until April 1 due to COVID-19 concerns.
Census officials say the count is on track in spite of the virus with people answering the questionnaire online, on the phone, or by mail. More than 18 million households have already responded and been counted.
At field offices, most workers are operating from home, and census takers going from door to door won’t be making their rounds until the end of May.
Tim Olson with the Census Bureau says even then they will be following the direction of local and state health officials.
“We certainly will be practicing safe distancing, very strong safe distancing,” Olson said.
He says 2.8 million applicants have applied to be census takers, which was the goal, but the Bureau is still accepting applications.
“There could be a greater loss of individuals out of fear. We’re monitoring that very closely," he said. "We will be over-hiring once we resume the hiring process.”
He adds that the goal remains to finish the census count by December 31.
The city of Sacramento has launched a new fundraising campaign for people affected economically by the coronavirus.
Donate4Sacramento gives people a place to give money to people and businesses that have been affected economically by government restrictions related to the coronavirus.
People who donate can pick one of five government or non-profit-run funds that provide childcare, meals, rental assistance, hygiene stations, or other methods of response.
The five funds are:
- family support that goes to the United Way California Capital Region’s COVID-19 Local Relief Fund
- homeless support through area nonprofits by providing emergency shelters, hygiene stations and other solutions
- non-profit support through the Sacramento Region Community Foundation
- general support on an as-needed basis
- the city’s small business emergency relief fund
The top public health official in Marin County has tested positive for COVID-19. Dr. Matt Willis was tested Friday, when he started feeling symptoms. The test came back positive Sunday.
Willis is the county’s 39th case. He said his diagnosis is proof that the coronavirus is spreading in the Bay Area and pleaded with people to stay home and limit trips.
“While my symptoms are now milder, as most peoples’ will be, we also know that for many, especially our elders, the same illness can be life-threatening," Willis said. "That’s why it’s so important for us to take special care not to expose our older and other vulnerable residents,” he said.
In a video message, Willis said he is “frustrated to be sidelined at this important time” as he self-quarantines at home and away from his family.
Sunday, March 22
An older adult with underlying chronic health conditions has died in Yolo County after contracting COVID-19, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported Sunday. It’s the county’s first coronavirus-related death.
The infection was community acquired and was previously reported as the sixth of six confirmed Yolo County cases.
Yolo County issued a countywide health order on March 18 for residents to shelter in place from March 19 through April 7.
The National Guard has been activated in California, New York and Washington state to support efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, President Trump said at a Sunday press briefing. The costs of deployment will be funded by FEMA.
“It enables the governor to provide robust National Guard support to the state," Trump said. "So, they’re going to have control over the National Guard.
Trump also said the federal government would build eight large medical stations with 2,000 beds in California. Respirators, masks and other protective equipment will also be provided.
In addition, the president says the U.S. Navy hospital ship Mercy would be dispatched to Los Angeles immediately and arrive in a week or less. It will be used to take pressure off hospitals, not to treat COVID-19 patients.
On Sunday Gov. Gavin Newsom requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to assist in California’s COVID-19 preparedness and emergency response efforts. The request was approved by the Trump administration Sunday evening.
Public health officials confirmed the first 2 cases of COVID-19 in the county on Saturday. They are unrelated to each other, and both patients are at home—neither had to be hospitalized.
“We knew that confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Yuba-Sutter were not a matter of if, but when,” Yuba-Sutter Health Officer Dr. Luu said. “Our bi-county Public Health/Emergency Operations team, in collaboration with our healthcare partners, is working to ensure that these individuals are properly isolated, monitored and receive the best care while recovering.”
Officials have identified people who may have been in close contact with the individuals, to assess and monitor them for signs of virus. Dr. Luu will direct testing if it is indicated as a proper measure.
Saturday, March 21
In his Saturday update, Gov. Gavin Newsom shared new figures on the spike in California unemployment claims.
On Friday, he said the state received 135,000 claims; yesterday, it received 114,000 claims. That’s up from an average of 2,000 claims a day.
Economists say the coronavirus could hit the Sacramento region especially hard. Here he's a look at what they expect, and resources for workers affected by the coronavirus. Workers affected by the coronavirus have several options to apply for financial assistance through the California Employment Development Department, as outlined at this EDD website.
Friday, March 20
Medi-Cal, California's low-income health program, is extending its renewal period so people don’t get bumped off their coverage, and Covered California, the state’s individual insurance exchange, is taking new sign-ups until the end of June, instead of the end of April.
State health leaders announced the changes Friday. There are thousands of Californians who’ve lost their jobs, and possibly their job-based health coverage, due to the threat of the virus.
You can read more here.
Yosemite National Park is closing its gates to park visitors until further notice, park officials announced Friday. The closure began at 3 p.m. and will be enforced 24-hours a day and seven-days a week.
“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Yosemite National Park is our number one priority,” park officials said in a press release. “We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels.”
Yosemite National Park is announcing modifications to operations at the request of the local health department. As of 3:00 pm today, Friday, March 20, 2020, Yosemite National Park is closed to all park visitors until further notice. https://t.co/H4W3mueY5w— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) March 20, 2020
Even though the park will be closed to visitors they are encouraged to explore Yosemite digitally through the park’s website, app and webcams. Some of the park’s most iconic features — Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and El Capitan — can be seen in real time.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak strengthened measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 Friday, ordering some businesses to close.
The governor originally requested that all non-essential businesses close their doors. He also shut down the state’s casinos, which are the second-largest source of state revenue after the sales tax. But Friday’s address escalated his request to a mandate.
“I am no longer asking them to do that,” Sisolak said. “I repeat: If you are not an essential business, I am using my power as governor under an emergency declaration to order you to close.”
He explained that the newest emergency declaration — the third he’s signed since the novel coronavirus arrived in Nevada — would give local governments the authority to revoke business licenses and pursue other civil penalties for noncompliance.
Gov. Sisolak said the strict measures are necessary to prevent the state’s already-strained health care system from being overrun. He said 80 percent of acute and intensive care beds are currently taken up with confirmed COVID-19 cases and other patients.
“That means we have only 20% of beds available,” Sisolak said. “We have similar limits when it comes to ventilators.”
The governor’s order will take effect at midnight on Friday and last until April 16.
The battle over AB5, the California new worker reclassification law, continues even amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Some rideshare drivers are calling on their companies to comply with the new law to classify contact workers as employees so they can have health insurance and sick leave. They’re also asking for the five companies that have pledged a combined $110 million to fight AB5 to instead put that money toward supporting drivers.
Some companies are offering sick leave, but only to drivers who have tested positive for the virus or who are individually quarantined at home by a health official or doctor.
A spokeswoman for the ballot campaign points out that the companies are considered essential services right now in order to deliver supplies and take people to medical appointments, and that the companies are putting together resources for drivers.
While there are some ways for independent contractors and the self-employed in California to apply for unemployment insurance, the options are limited.
Two Northern California prison workers have reported testing positive for the coronavirus. One works at the California State Prison, Sacramento, next to the Folsom State Prison; the other is an employee at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County.
The California Department of Corrections says in cases of potential exposure at facilities, it will restrict movement and investigate possible contact. The agency did not specify the current status of these two cases.
As of Friday, no inmates had tested positive for the disease.
The state has canceled all family visits until further notice. Visits for rehab, educational and religious programs are also paused.
Thursday, March 19
Sacramento County libraries will be closed at least through March 31 after a vote by the library board Wednesday to shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
As part of the closure, the library is extending the due dates for all items and eliminating fines. The Meals at the Library program is also shutting down, though meals are available through some Sacramento-area schools.
Residents can still access digital resources from the libraries here.
A collection of Asian American groups have created a website to document coronavirus-related hate crimes following reports of xenophobia and racism around the virus.
The site allows Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to report "hate violence, adult harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying." The site is run by the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) and San Francisco Asian American Studies Department.
The groups plan to use the information to monitor incidents in California and around the country, and provide "assistance, advocacy and education."
Earlier this month officials in Sacramento held a forum at Sacramento State to address concerns around xenophobia directed at the Asian American community because of the virus.
Last week Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakerfield called the novel coronavirus “the Chinese coronavirus,” causing some lawmakers to call for him to apologize for what they described as a racist, xenophobic tweet. McCarthy responded by saying he stood by the description.
Schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District will remain closed at least through Monday, April 13, the district announced Thursday.
The district is encouraging everyone to comply with the Sacramento County public health order going into effect on Thursday to stay at home unless absolutely essential. The new date extends the closure announced by the district last week.
The district will continue to provide free meals for families with children under 18 years old to pick up. You can find the sites and hours those are available here.
Wednesday, March 18
Effective 11:59 p.m. Thursday, March 19, everyone who lives in Sutter and Yuba counties are being directed to stay in their homes as much as possible and to cease non-essential business operations.
The order prohibits all non-essential gatherings of individuals and of non-essential travel.
Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu said the order was made after the number of Sacramento County COVID-19 cases tripled in the past week. There are currently no confirmed cases in Yuba-Sutter.
“We need to do this and we need to do this now, “ Luu said
The definitions of essential activity include work in health care, infrastructure, food distribution, and businesses that provide health care, food or services to the economically disadvantaged.
Luu says normal course-of-life trips to the doctor, grocery store, and bank are allowed.
Homeless people are exempt from the directive.
Every attempt should be made to keep a distance of six feet between people.
Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday announced the launch of a new COVID-19 public awareness campaign. It includes a new website, volunteer opportunities, and public service announcements from State Surgeon General Doctor Nadine Burke Harris and Doctor Sonia Angell, California Department of Public Health Director and State Health Officer.
The announcements focus on a variety of topics from information for high-risk Californians to economic resources available. The messages are also being distributed on state websites, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
“The state is mobilizing at every level to proactively and aggressively protect the health and well-being of Californians, but we cannot fight this outbreak alone,” Newsom said. “We need the participation and support of every Californian, and that’s why we’re providing recent, relevant and reliable information. Californians need to know how to stay healthy and where they can get help. These actions are critical, and there is no doubt our collective efforts will save lives.”
Sacramento Regional Transit is cutting back on some services now that schools are closed and more people are staying home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Officials say ridership has dropped by nearly half this week. The agency says riders should check its website for the latest updates on changes to service.
Meanwhile, Yolobus says that with the exception of service to the Adult Day Health Care Center, it will continue to operate all existing bus service, including trips to Sacramento International Airport. But, the service warns that the situation could change rapidly.
The Mondavi Center announced on Wednesday that its entire 2019 to 2020 season, with events scheduled through June 7, is canceled.
“This challenging decision aligns with guidance from the State of California, the University, and actions taken by the UC Davis Music Department, the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum and UC Davis Athletics,” a press release read.
The Mondavi has closed its ticket center on campus, but employees are currently contacting ticket holders. “Due to the high call volume we are experiencing in our Ticket Office, we ask for patience as we work to resolve our patron's concerns,” the press release read.
They hope to announce plans and a schedule for the 2020 to 2021 season in May.
Bishop Jaime Soto of the Diocese of Sacramento announced on Wednesday that mass will be suspended until further notice.
The Diocese will livestream mass on its Facebook page in English every Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
A press release from the Diocese states that parish churches will still be open for personal prayer.
Soto previously stated that all Catholics were excused from attending Sunday mass.
The Sacramento County District Attorney's office is asking people to go online and fill out a complaint form if they witness any price gouging during the coronavirus crisis.
Whenever federal, state, or local authorities declare a state of emergency, it is against the law to raise prices for essential consumer goods and services by more than 10 percent of what they were before the emergency.
California is currently under Gov. Gavin Newsom's declaration of a public health emergency due to the COVID-19 virus.
People who are found guilty of price-gouging face a year in county jail, a fine of up to $10,000 or a civil penalty of up to $2,500 per violation.
Essential goods include but are not limited to: medical supplies, emergency supplies, food, fuel, lodging, transportation, pet food, repair services, construction services, building materials, and housing rental prices.
Yolo County has issued a countywide health order for residents to shelter in place from March 19 to at least April 7.
The order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs. It affects all of the county's approximately 220,000 residents.
To date, there have been four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Yolo County, including both travel and community transmission.
“These are extremely difficult times. The COVID-19 virus continues to spread around the world and in our local communities,” Yolo County Public Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman wrote in a statement. “We need to do everything we can to protect our most vulnerable people from the harmful impacts of the virus.”
A similar health officer order was released among the Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties as well as the city of Berkeley on March 16. Sacramento and Santa Cruz counties also released similar orders Tuesday, as did the cities of Davis and Manteca.
“Essential” is defined by the county as certain governmental functions, healthcare, and infrastructure, law and safety, businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, fresh and non-perishable food retailers (including convenience stores).
Other essential businesses and activities include pharmacies; child care facilities; gas stations; banks; laundry businesses; restaurants and other facilities that prepare food and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out; businesses that supply other essential businesses with support or supplies necessary to operate or ship/deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residents; and any form of agricultural production and processing, including the cultivation of products for personal consumption or use through farming, ranching, livestock, and fishing, including, but not limited to, transportation, manufacturing, chemicals, equipment and services; and the services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence.
Tuesday, March 17
The Sacramento City Council voted on Tuesday to enact protections for residents suffering financially from coronavirus-related closures, including a temporary halt on tenant evictions and a fund for small business loans.
The move came after Sacramento public health officials issued a directive to all Sacramento County residents urging them to stay at home.
Under the emergency protections, residential tenants will have a four-month grace period to pay back their rent after the city lifts its emergency rules. City Council also approved a $1 million fund for small business loans.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the million dollars is “just a start” for a fund that he hopes to pool with money from the state and federal government.
“People are going to be displaced economically because of the coronavirus, we already see that happening, so we do not want anybody to be evicted or out of their place of living because they can’t pay the rent,” Steinberg said.
The eviction protections do not extend to commercial tenants or to landlords who may fall behind on mortgage payments, but Steinberg said that is under consideration.
The mayor also warned that Sacramento may not know the full impact of the outbreak for months, but that he hoped to have many resources available.
Nearly 99 percent of California schools are closed, and it will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.
“This is a very sober thing to say,” he said, telling parents: “Don’t anticipate schools will open in a week. ... Few, if any, will open before the summer break.”
That means more than 6 million California students will continue home-schooling and distance-learning for several weeks.
Newsom made the announcement during an update on the state’s efforts to battle the coronavirus.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a billion dollar emergency aid package to fight the coronavirus.
The two bills passed both chambers of the California Legislature Monday evening. They allocate at least $600,000 to shore up hospitals, sanitize schools and provide hotel rooms for the state’s unsheltered population.
The governor can spend up to $1.1 billion. In a statement, Newsom praised the Legislature for acting quickly to approve the funding.
"It's simply remarkable," he said. "In just one day’s time, members of the California Legislature came together across party lines to unanimously pass emergency legislation authorizing over $1 billion to fight COVID-19."
Sacramento State University is postponing its graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus, university President Robert Nelsen announced Tuesday.
“This decision was not one that we wanted to make, but I believe it is the only choice in light of the current health and safety concerns,” Nelsen wrote in an email to the campus community.
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, health and government officials have urged organizations to cancel or postpone large gatherings. Nelsen wrote that the ceremonies were being postponed due to the unpredictable nature of this crisis, which makes it hard to know whether or not it will be safe to gather by the ceremonies’ originally scheduled dates of May 15-17 at the Golden 1 Center.
The university has not yet announced a new date for them, saying that the celebration will be rescheduled “this health crisis passes and we can safely gather again.”
UC Irvine also made the decision to cancel its upcoming graduation ceremonies due to the virus.
Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order allowing local governments to suspend evictions and slow foreclosures for people affected by the virus.
“People shouldn’t lose or be forced out of their home because of the spread of COVID-19,” he said. “Over the next few weeks, everyone will have to make sacrifices – but a place to live shouldn’t be one of them.”
A separate executive order allows state agencies to direct staff and resources toward hospitals and nursing homes.
During a Facebook livestream, Newsom discouraged any social gatherings and announced he was adding gyms, movie theaters and restaurants — unless they can focus on takeout and delivery — to the list of public places that should close.
“We think it’s very rational under these circumstances — disruptive, I know, for some — but rational,” he said.
The state announced there are now 11 deaths in the state related to COVID-19, though one was not a California resident. There are 472 positive cases in the state, though officials have said that without more testing it's difficult to know how many cases there may be.
Monday, March 16
The closure will affect restaurants, bars and gyms, among others.
Mayor Hillary Schieve said the city based its request on guidelines from Washoe County health officials. But she sought to assure residents they’d still have access to daily necessities.
"We will make sure that we have food available from our grocery stores, to our pharmacies, gas stations will remain open," Schieve said. "Those are essential services that will remain open."
The announcement comes one day after Governor Steve Sisolak announced all Nevada schools would be closed through April.
Public health officials also confirmed the state’s first death connected to coronavirus, an elderly man in Clark County.
A substitute teacher and volunteer who worked in the Sacramento City Unified School District has died due to complications related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, the district said Monday.
“This is a devastating loss to our community,” wrote Sacramento City Teachers Association President David Fisher in a news release. “Our schools are filled with young people, but it’s important to remember those in our school community are also older and perhaps more vulnerable at the time of this virus crisis.”
This is the seventh reported death in California, and the second in Sacramento County.
The district announced Friday that its schools would be closing for two weeks starting today as a part of a coordinated effort across Sacramento County to close schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The Sacramento City Unified School District is working with Sacramento PBS station KVIE to provide students with access to standards-based educational programming while schools are closed due to the coronavirus.
Starting Monday, KVIE will be broadcasting content aligned with California’s educational standards for grades pre-K through 12 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on its KVIE 2 channel. Students in school districts throughout the Sacramento region can access the programming.
“While our schools are closed to slow the spread of Coronavirus, we are working hard to minimize the disruption in learning for our students,” Sacramento City school district President Jessie Ryan wrote in a news release. “This exciting partnership with KVIE will give all Sacramento area students access to free, standards-based instruction. We must not let a digital divide or lack of access to in-person instruction set our students back during school closures.”
Sacramento City school district joined the partnership started by the Los Angeles Unified School District and PBS SoCal announced last week when the Los Angeles district moved to close schools.
Sunday, March 15
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Sunday afternoon that all Nevada schools will be closed from March 16 until at least April 6 in efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Sisolak said that over the past 48 hours it became clear that in order to contain the virus, school closures were needed. He said starting Monday all of Nevada’s K-12 schools will close for students. The closure will impact all public, charter and private schools.
“This difficult decision was made in coordination with education leaders, your district superintendents and public health officials across the state. I realize that this will cause hardships and complications for our families, our students, and our school staff,” Sisolak said. “I assure you we have not reached this decision lightly.”
He said schools may not reopen until the state chief medical officer evaluates the public health risk and determines it is safe for each school district to reopen.
The Sacramento Municipal Utilities District is allowing residents to keep their power on, even if they can’t pay their bills. The district says it’s acknowledging the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Customers who are behind on payment will still owe SMUD money, but they won’t lose power right away. The leeway period will last until March 31. The utility district is asking customers to reach out to ask about payment arrangements or assistance programs.
At a press conference Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom called for home isolation for seniors 65 and older, and for all bars, brewpubs and wineries to close in California to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Read more about the updated guidelines in our full story.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is holding a press conference about the developing coronavirus situation in California. Watch live below.
Sacramento State faculty and staff soon will be working remote, part of a plan to “transition to virtual operations” this week, according to the school’s president.
All employees will start moving their work to online beginning Monday.
“Not all work can be done remotely,” President Robert Nelsen wrote. “Many of you will be designated as essential staff due to the critical nature of your work. Our Student Health and Counseling Services, for example, must stay staffed and operational to provide critical health services for our students.”
Last week, Sac State announced that classes would move online.
Nelsen says his administration’s decision was influenced by the fact that every school district in Sacramento County has announced it will close for up to three weeks, which impacts faculty and staff who “will be struggling to take care of their children who are not in school.”
“There are no easy answers here. At this moment, I cannot tell you that I know what it looks like for Sacramento State to go virtual, but I do know that I believe in the Hornet Family,” Nelsen wrote. “I believe that we care about our students, staff, and faculty, and this is what we must do.”
Saturday, March 14
Tahoe ski resorts Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar will be shut down March 15 through March 22 due to coronavirus spread, their operator Vail Resorts announced Saturday.
The company said guests can stay at their hotels until the end of their reservation, but new reservations would not be taken. Full refunds are available for anyone who made reservations during the planned closures. Events at the resorts during that time period will also be canceled.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and other ski resorts operated by Alterra Mountain Company, including Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California, will also be closed starting Sunday, March 15, until further notice.
The Yolo Food Bank will begin a free home-delivery service Monday to bring groceries to low-income seniors and other vulnerable groups disproportionately affected by social-distancing measures.
County residents can call 530-668-0690 or email [email protected] to participate. The program will continue indefinitely.
CalMatters has reported that food banks throughout the state, particularly in Northern California, are experiencing severe volunteer shortages as the coronavirus pandemic grows.
UC Davis announced on Saturday it was implementing remote classes for the spring, joining most of the University of California system in canceling in-person class.
For the spring quarter, which begins March 30, all lectures and discussion classes will be remote, and the university is urging labs and other active studio classes to develop online curriculum.
Some graduate program courses may be allowed to continue limited in-person instruction so long as social-distancing guidelines are followed, according to the university.
The school anticipates that dorms and student housing will remain open during the quarter, but the annual Picnic Day celebration next month has been canceled.
Winters Joint Unified School District and Esparto Unified School District will be closed for 3 weeks due to coronavirus concerns. Winters will be closed through April 3, while Esparto will be closed through April 5. Sacramento Country Day School will suspend in-person classes through April 3.
Additionally, all El Dorado County public schools will be closed March 16-20. Officials said they would reassess at the end of next week whether an extension is necessary.
Schools across the Sacramento region and the state announced yesterday they would close amidst the rise of coronavirus.
The Franchise Tax Board announced relief measures for California taxpayers affected by COVID-19, giving them an extra 60 days to file their taxes. The June 15 date may be pushed back even further if the Internal Revenue Service grants a longer relief period.
Friday, March 13
Members of the public will not be permitted to enter the state Capitol this Saturday and Sunday due to coronavirus risk, according to a memo from Legislative leaders. Staff members can enter using a badge.
The United States Capitol Building closed to the public earlier this week, but California's has remained open until now. It's unclear if the Capitol will be closed to the public beyond Sunday.
State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, also announced that the state Senate would be canceling all scheduled legislative hearings next week.
Due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, the Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego school districts are closing schools temporarily.
Schools in Los Angeles will be closing for two weeks from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27 while officials evaluate the path forward. Schools in San Francisco will be closing for three weeks from Monday, March 16 through Friday, April 3, the end of their regularly scheduled spring break. San Diego schools close starting Monday March 16 through at least April 6.
Locally, the Sacramento City Unified School District is closing schools for three days starting Monday. The Elk Grove Unified School District moved up its spring break to this week, but will announce today its plan for next week. The San Juan Unified School District is still open.
Thursday, March 12
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak declared a state of emergency Thursday, the latest governor to take the step in order to access federal funds to help mitigate the effects of the coronavirus.
Nevada now has 11 cases of COVID-19 in the state. They join more than 30 states that have declared emergencies, including California.
The state has also created a website for information about #COVID19 in Nevada.
If you go by the California Capitol, you'll notice a new look for "Bacteria Bear," the bronze grizzly bear statue Arnold Schwarzenegger placed in front of the governor's office.
The bear, a common stop for photos and school groups, isn't known for its cleanliness. This week Capitol staff roped off the statue with a reminder for guests to not touch the bear and to wash their hands.
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will close March 14 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Disney announced Thursday. The closure is set to continue through the end of the month.
Disneyland Resort hotels will stay open through March 16 to allow guests to make travel plans.
Disney made this statement after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced an executive order to cancel or postpone all gatherings of more than 250 people through the end of March and likely longer. Disneyland was originally excluded from the requirement, but Newsom said he was engaged in conversations with Disney and other companies about how to meet the new policy.
“Using that policy, Disney made the right call in the interest of public health and agreed to shut down their California parks,” Newsom tweeted. “Expect more announcements like this shortly.”
Disney is working with guests who want to change or cancel visits, and will refund hotel bookings during this closure period. You can contact The Walt Disney Travel Company at (714) 520-5050 for any questions or cancellations.
You can read more about the closure from LAist here.
The NCAA announced Thursday it would cancel all winter and spring sports championships, including the Division 1 men's and women's basketball tournaments.
The association originally said it would play the tournaments without fans, only allowing limited staff and family members into the arenas. Sacramento's Golden 1 Center was scheduled to host part of the first two rounds of the men's basketball tournament later this month.
Sacramento State University President Robert Nelsen announced Thursday that all of the university’s classes will be transitioning to online-only on March 20.
Certain classes, such as small labs, studios, clinicals, field placements and performing arts, may be approved to continue in person. Campus is not closed, however, and campus business offices and other resources will remain open.
Read more about the move to online-only classes here.
The NBA has suspended the remainder of the basketball season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for COVID-19. The Sacramento Kings game last night was also cancelled because one of the referees in Sacramento also worked a Utah Jazz game earlier this week.
The MLB has also cancelled the rest of spring training and will be pushing back the start of the baseball season by at least two weeks, according to a statement released Thursday. Minor League Baseball, which includes the Sacramento River Cats, also announced it would delay the start of its season.
Schools in the Natomas Unified School District will be closed on Friday, March 13 and Monday, March 16 for the district to take time to address its policy and protocol around the coronavirus.
No one in the district has been diagnosed with coronavirus as of Thursday, but two of the school’s “most medically fragile” students came to school at Natomas High School with potential symptoms.
The district will reassess if extended closures are needed this weekend, according to a note sent out to the community. Parents will be notified of their plans for Tuesday on Sunday evening, and Natomas High School will be deep cleaned.
All field trips, professional development and extracurricular activities for Thursday except for after school programs are cancelled. All of these programs will be closed Friday and Monday, and next week’s open houses will be rescheduled or potentially cancelled.
Wednesday, March 11
Elk Grove schools announced they plan to observe their originally scheduled spring break, which is set to start April 6. The district moved the break up and canceled classes for this week after a family in the district tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.
In a statement, district officials said they would apply for a waiver from the state of California to not make up the days of instruction. They expect to announce March 12 their plans for next week.
If the waiver is not approved, the district will have to make up the lost days later in the year.
"If the District is unsuccessful in its pursuit of State relief through the waiver process, the District will need to make up the days of instruction. It is all of our hope that the State will approve the waiver," EGUSD officials wrote in a statement. "In the meantime, the District will be working with labor groups on a contingency plan."
Meanwhile, a person who worked as a volunteer and substitute teacher in a classroom at Sutterville Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Sacramento City Unified School District.
Two adult men in Stanislaus County have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency. Their test results will be checked and confirmed by the CDC.
One of the men was a passenger on the Grand Princess cruise to Mexico, a separate cruise voyage but the same ship as the one currently docked in Oakland. He was on the same ship where the Placer County resident who died of COVID-19 was exposed to the virus.
The county does not yet know where the second man was exposed to the virus, but is working to find out. County workers are also doing contact investigations for both men.
“With over 100 cases statewide and cases identified in surrounding counties, we’re unfortunately not surprised to see a case here in Stanislaus County,” said Stanislaus County Public Health Officer Dr. Julie Vaishampayan in a news release.
A person in their 90s living at Carlton Senior Living facility in Elk Grove died Tuesday from complications of COVID-19. This is the first coronavirus-related death in Sacramento County.
Sacramento County is urging people over the age of 60 to stay away from large gatherings, and is asking anyone with cold-like symptoms to avoid contact with seniors. The facility is implementing isolation protocols for the next 14 days.
You can find more information about the death at Carlton Senior Living here.
Sheldon High School’s boys basketball team won a semifinal game against Dublin High School last night, meaning the team will advance to the finals in the California Interscholastic Federation tournament.
The game was rescheduled when Elk Grove Unified School District cancelled all classes and activities for the week of March 9 after a family in Elk Grove tested positive for coronavirus. The school and the California Interscholastic Federation moved the game following discussions between parents and regional leaders. Sheldon’s team is currently ranked No. 1 in the region.
San Joaquin County has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in a county resident. The person was a passenger on a past trip of the Grand Princess cruise ship, but not the voyage currently disembarking in Oakland.
The person came down with symptoms and was hospitalized several days ago, according to San Joaquin County Public Health Services. Public Health workers are beginning contact tracing of the person and will be looking into their travel history and reaching out to anyone who may have had close contact with them.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging Californians to avoid sporting events, concerts and large gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The warning came yesterday as Newsom gave an update on the painstaking process of disembarking more than 2,000 passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship struck by the coronavirus and moving them to military bases around the U.S. for quarantine.
Newsom warned the elderly to stay away from cruise ships, and is considering measures to restrict cruise travel off the California coast.
"It is incumbent upon seniors and those with any medical conditions not to go on cruise ships and to begin to socially isolate themselves from larger crowds," Newsom said. "It's just common sense."
Newsom also criticized professional sports teams in the state, which he said aren't doing enough to protect the public as well as their players.
"I found it quite curious that the four major organizations, NHL, soccer, Major League Baseball, and the NBA, put out guidelines to protect their athletes but not their fans," he said.
Tuesday, March 10
Both San Jose State and San Francisco State universities are moving away from in-person instruction within the week, according to Mike Uhlenkamp with the CSU Office of the Chancellor. He said that most other campuses could do the same thing, if they wanted.
"We have a very robust online offering system and so, it depends on the availability of each campus, but they would likely ask the faculty and staff to come over a number of days, and then they'd work to move the coursework and to be able to offer those things online, " Uhlenkamp said.
The CSU system has also stopped all non-essential travel and is dealing with study abroad students on a case-by-case basis.
The University of California system is also leaving this choice up to its campuses. UC Berkeley was the first to shift mostly to online instruction, and that will last through spring break. UCLA announced Tuesday afternoon it would do the same.
The private Stanford University also moved classes online. UC Davis advised instructors on Monday they had "maximum flexibility" to move classes online, but was not requiring it.
The California Community College system is working to speed up the process for its colleges that may want to convert to online instruction.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state health officials will give update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and the Grand Princess cruise ship today at 1:45 p.m. Watch the update live here.
Monday Sacramento County announced it was no longer requiring a 14-day quarantine for people exposed to COVID-19 but who weren't showing symptoms. It's part of a shift away from containment and instead focusing on protecting those who are most seriously at risk for this virus.
Who's most at risk? Seniors and people with underlying health conditions, according to Dr. Peter Beilenson, director of health services for Sacramento County.
For people in those groups, Beilenson suggests:
- Avoiding large gatherings
- Avoid crowded places such as malls and grocery stores
- Buy two or three weeks of groceries at a time to limit the number of trips
- If you need to go out, try and do so at off hours to limit exposure
Monday, March 9
The Sacramento County Department of public health has released new guidelines for the public. The county said it is shifting its strategy from containment to mitigation, which includes "cessation of 14-day quarantines."
"With the shift from containment to mitigation, it is no longer necessary for someone who has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days," the new guidelines read. "This applies to the general public, as well as health care workers and first responders. However, if they develop respiratory symptoms, they should stay home in order to protect those who are well."
The Elk Grove Unified School District also released new information about the district student who tested positive for COVID-19.
It's important to note that children are not more at risk due to COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you need to talk to your kids about coronavirus, NPR has a comic that helps explain the virus to children.
5:23 p.m.: Davis couple hopes to leave Grand Princess cruise ship soon
A couple from Davis is aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that is docked in Oakland after at least 21 people aboard tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Denise and David Morse are hoping to leave the boat Tuesday. Officials said Sunday that it could take two to three days to get all the passengers off.
"We feel well-taken-care-of," she said. "We feel really lucky that we have a balcony. There are families on this ship that have five kids. I hope they have bigger rooms or bigger balconies than we have. I can't complain."
Morse said she was told they are likely to go to Travis Air Force Base. On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that most the 962 California passengers would go to Travis, except for those who are showing symptoms or need medical attention.
A Elk Grove elementary school student has tested positive for COVID-19, according to district officials.
District officials say they were told by the Sacramento County Public Health Department on Friday that a family with students in Elk Grove schools was under quarantine after two people had tested positive for COVID-19. Today health officials told the school that one of the family's four children, an elementary school student, had also tested positive.
EGUSD announced Saturday it was cancelling classes and activities following the positive tests in Elk Grove. The district is the largest in Northern California with more than 64,000 students.
UC Davis has told instructors they have "maximum flexibility" to move classes online for the rest of the winter quarter, which ends Friday, March 13. Finals will continue as scheduled next week, but instructors can also use a take-home exam or other assignment.
The university reiterated that there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases on the UC Davis campus. Yolo County reported its first case last week and declared a local health emergency.
The University of Washington and Stanford University have gone to all-online classes recently because of concerns related to the coronavirus. Sacramento State announced Sunday it would continue classes as scheduled. Sierra College has also declared a state of emergency and will be limiting the people allowed on campus to only students, faculty, staff and other persons required by employment to be there.
Port of Oakland officials told KQED that the Grand Princess cruise ship is expected to dock at noon. The process to get passengers off the ship is expected to take two to three days. You can follow the position of the ship here.
Sunday, March 8
Passengers aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship will disembark at the port of Oakland sometime Monday, after it was quarantined off the Northern California coast following positive COVID-19 tests, state officials announced Sunday.
“We recognize that this is a time when we must be guided by facts and not fears," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said at a press briefing Saturday. “It is our duty to help these people.”
After a discussion between parents and regional leaders Sunday, Elk Grove school officials reached out to the California Interscholastic Federation. Now the Sheldon High School boys basketball team, seeded No. 1 in the region, is tentatively scheduled to play Tuesday.
During Saturday’s press conference, Sacramento leaders stopped short of criticizing Elk Grove’s decision but urged stronger collaboration going forward on decisions such as school closures.
“We are not here to second-guess any decision that’s been made,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said, adding that he was “concerned about the potential of going too far” with decisions.
“Don’t panic. There’s no reason to. Let’s live our lives while we are dealing with this very serious issue,” the mayor said.
Saturday, March 7
A family in Elk Grove has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, prompting the district to close schools and cancel classes next week.
After the announcement, the Sacramento County Office of Education and Sacramento County Public Health Department released a statement saying they respected and would support Elk Grove's decision, but were not yet recommending any school or district shut down since there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Sacramento County students or school staff.
The Sacramento City Unified School District also released a letter stating that no SCUSD students or staff members had tested positive. The letter also noted that the district had not been advised by the county health department to close or cease current activities.
Friday, March 6
Twenty-one people aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California have tested positive for the coronavirus disease COVID-19, Vice President Mike Pence announced Friday.
The Grand Princess had been returning to San Francisco after a cruise to Hawaii and has been kept away from port while a small portion of the roughly 3,500 people on board are tested for the coronavirus.
Pence said of 46 tests conducted so far on the ship, 19 crew members and 2 passengers tested positive, while 24 people were negative and one was inconclusive.
On Wednesday, health officials in California's Placer County said that a passenger on a recent trip of the Grand Princess had died from COVID-19 — the state's first known death from the coronavirus.
Yolo County confirmed Friday its first case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
According to Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency, the patient is an older female with underlying health conditions who acquired the disease through community transmission. Officials say she is currently hospitalized but her condition is improving.
The county is also issuing a local health emergency and local emergency to gain access to state or federal funding.
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