SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The tsunami of news about the current coronavirus outbreak and now the reopenings can be overwhelming. To help you navigate through what you need to know here’s a news roundup of the weekend’s top coronavirus and reopening-related stories.

Good News — Neighbors Helping Neighbors

South City Pre-Teen Invents Virus-Blocking, ‘Safe Touch’ Utility Device
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — Ever since the pandemic began, scientists have been trying to get a handle on preventing the spread of the disease. It looks like a 12-year-old kid may have beaten them to it. These days, people are looking for ways to keep from touching the same objects as everyone else. As a little kid, Mizan Rupan-Tompkins had a knack for figuring stuff out and, at age 12 when the pandemic hit, he saw his mother using her sleeve to avoid touching door handles and elevator buttons. “Because once you touch your face — now all those germs are on your face.” Mizan explained. “He was like, ‘I could make you something!'” Mizan’s mom, Ronica, remembers. “I said, ‘sure, make me something.'” Read More

For Uplifting Stories Of Neighbors Helping Neighbors Visit Our Better Together Section

Alameda County

New Cases Rising; Alameda County Added To State’s COVID-19 Watch List
LIVERMORE — Alameda County was added to the state’s COVID-19 watchlist Sunday in the wake of rising new cases of the virus among local residents. If those numbers don’s so improve after the next three days, state officials will begin reimposing COVID-19 business restrictions. Alameda, which has had the largest number of positive COVID-19 cases in the Bay Area, already has been slow to rollback those restrictions. “Definitely observing in the community people outside are kind of just walking around not wearing masks, so I definitely understand why we’re on a watch list. But I know in here, we’ve been keeping everything as safe as possible,” said Hostess at Strizzi’s Restaurant Isabella Montanaro. Read More

Alameda County Health Officials Shutting Down Outdoor Dining
OAKLAND — Alameda County health officials announced late Friday night they were being forced to once again prohibit outdoor dining during a surge of new cornavirus cases across California. For several weeks, local residents have been able to enjoy a meal with social distancing and outside seating at local restaurants as Alameda County health officials began rolling back COVID-19 restrictions. Nowhere was the rush to outdoor dining more visible than in the city of Alameda. Workers re-striped a segment of Park Street to cordon off space for outdoor dining and shopping. Read More

4 Cities Will Support Outdoor Dining Despite Alameda County Suspension
LIVERMORE — Four cities in Alameda County pushed back on Saturday after the Alameda County Health Department suspended outdoor dining due to stricter state guidance. In late June, the county had freed up restaurants, bars and wineries to provide outdoor dining but it shifted gears Friday night in a press release, saying that only takeout and delivery would be allowed until a variance could be obtained from the state. On Saturday, Livermore and Hayward announced they wouldn’t enforce the revised order and would proceed with planned street closures this weekend that allow more space for outdoor dining in their cities. Oakland city officials said street closures would not take place but added that the revised order wouldn’t be enforced. Read More

Widespread Confusion, Anger Over Alameda County’s Outdoor Dining Ban
OAKLAND — It’s been in place for less than 24 hours, but restaurant owners, local polticians and county residents seemed bewildered, angered and confused Saturday night by an Alameda County health official’s order banning outdoor dining. If you live in Alameda County can you meet your friends for an al fresco dinner Saturday night? Many of the downtown Livermore and Pleasanton restaurants were ignoring the new state guidelines and continuing to offer outdoor dining. “This is really going insane. There’s no way that we can just like shut down and throw away food, money,” said Esteban Blancas, the general manager of Nonni’s Bistro in Pleasanton.’ Read More


San Francisco Bay Area Churches Deal With Changing COVID-19 Requirements
WALNUT CREEK — After weeks of gathering to worship, Contra Costa County churchgoers enjoyed their final day of services inside local churches Sunday as restrictions were being reimposed during a surge in COVID-19 cases. County officials announced that starting Sunday night indoor worship services are again prohibited. The culprit — a recent surge in new cases. The 7-day average number of new cases in the county jumped from 38 to 146 in one month’s time, according to county data. Hospitalized patients increased from 17 to 54 during the same period. “I think the public health officials in Contra Costa County are being sort of careful in not wanting Contra Costa County to go the wrong way. Of course you know Contra Costa was on the watchlist for awhile, then it got off, and now they’re kind of looking at things more seriously once again,” said UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong. Read More

Reopened Then Shut, Contra Costa County Cancels Indoor Religious Gatherings
CONCORD — A rise in COVID-19 cases has prompted Contra Costa County to once again cancel all indoor church services just days after they were allowed to reopen. In the Bible, God tests the faith of a man named Job by subjecting him to one misfortune after another. In the story, there is the line: “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” They know how that feels at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Concord. “We were so excited — hopeful, you know?” said Fr. Ismael Gutierrez. Sunday was a day parishioners were looking forward to for months: the first indoor Mass since the stay-at-home began. They had been holding drive-in services in the school parking lot and offering communion to people in cars but, to many, watching a live stream of a Mass on a screen just wasn’t the same. Read More

Other COVID-19 Related Stories

State Imposes Restrictions On Sonoma County Indoor Dining, Bars, Tasting Rooms, Movie Theaters
SANTA ROSA — Citing rising COVID-19 cases, state health officials Sunday ordered Sonoma County to once again prohibit indoor dining, shut down indoor winery tasting rooms and movie theaters and allow bars to remain open only if they also serve food at outside tables. The order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday and will remain in place until the state takes further action, which will be no earlier than Aug. 2. “The state health order prohibits indoor activities that bring residents into prolonged contact with people who are not members of their own household,” Sonoma County officials said in a press release. “These gatherings have been identified as helping spread the coronavirus.” Read More

San Quentin COVID-19 Outbreak Continues To Grow; More Than 1,600 Active Cases Among Inmates, Staff
SAN QUENTIN — The COVID-19 outbreak at San Quentin State Prison continued to escalate Sunday with more than 1,600 active cases among inmates and staff. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation COVID-19 tracker, the number of active cases among inmates had increased to 1,485 by Sunday. Another 27 inmates had been released from the facility while infected, 372 inmates once infected had recovered and seven inmates have died. While many inmates had been refusing to be tested, prison officials said 1,290 have now been tested within the last 14 days. Dozens of critically ill inmates — many the old and frail from San Quentin’s Death Row — remain in local hospitals. Some are under ICU care with ventilators. Read More

Santa Clara Unified School District To Start Upcoming Academic Year At Home; Officials Cite Surge In New Cases
SANTA CLARA — Students in Santa Clara Unified School District will begin the new academic year next month at home with classes being conducted remotely, officials announced Saturday. While district officials said they were hopeful they could give parents a variety of opinions when it came to the school year, a current surge in COVID-19 cases made it impossible to bring students safely back into the classroom. “Our community was clear in wanting options for their children’s instructional model during the pandemic,” school officials said in a statement. “Every family will be able to choose from distance learning, hybrid learning, in-person learning, and independent study for the 2020-2021 school year. However, due to the recent increases in COVID-19 cases in Santa Clara County, and out of concern for the health, safety, and wellbeing of our students, staff, and community, all students will start the school year in distance learning.” Read More

Contra Costa County Gets Tough On Facemask Restrictions As New COVID-19 Cases Surge
CONCORD — A rise in positive cases of COVID-19 in Contra Costa Country has triggered public health officials to reconsider pausing reopening activities and tightening its mask requirements. Official say that more than 8% of COVID-19 tests are now returning positive. In mid June, the positivity rate was 4%. “I think the public health officials in Contra Costa County are being sort of careful in not wanting Contra Costa County to go the wrong way. Of course you know Contra Costa was on the watchlist for awhile, then it got off, and now they’re kind of looking at things more seriously once again,” said UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong. Concord resident Rachelle Kamm said its not uncommon to see poor behavior. Read More

Locals Applaud Oakland Strategy to Keep Lake Merritt Crowd-Free
OAKLAND — Just as Alameda County was rolling back outside dining at restaurants, the city of Oakland was trying to roll back crowds at Lake Merritt. “It was pretty crowded last weekend,” said Preston Pinkney, a park ambassador for the city. “Tons of people out here celebrating, barbecueing — all types of festivities and stuff.” By all accounts, it was a good time. “Yeah the last couple weekends,” said a Lake Merritt visitor named Dave. “It’s a good thing to have fun but who knows at whose expense?” Those big weekends reached a crescendo over the 4th of July when massive crowds lingered into the night. Read More

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott Tests Positive For COVID-19
SAN FRANCISCO — Hours after Pac-12 officials announced their sports teams would only be playing conference opponents this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic, commissioner Larry Scott revealed he has tested positive for the virus and was suffering from ‘flu-like’ symptoms. In a twitter post the league said: “After experiencing mild flu-like symptoms late this week and out of an abundance of caution Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott was tested for COVID-19. The test for Commissioner Scott came back positive, and as a result he is self-quarantining at the direction of his physician.” While being quarantined, the league said Scott would still be handling his duties as commissioner. On Friday, the Pac-12 CEO Group announced it was following the Big Ten Conference, which opted to eliminate nonconference games for all fall sports on Thursday. Read More

South Bay Health Officer Warns Coronavirus Could Soon Spread Out of Control Across State
SAN JOSE — One of Santa Clara county’s top health leaders said Friday the state’s approach to the pandemic isn’t working and the virus is just weeks away from spreading out of control in California. “We really need the state to uniformly do something dramatic to stop the spread,” said Santa Clara County executive officer Dr. Jeff Smith. “Otherwise, if we continue the way that we’re going now it’s only four to five weeks before we have the virus totally completely out of control, spreading like wildfire.” Smith said county leaders have reached out to state officials to suggest a more universal risk-reduction plan for California, however, they’ve been brushed away. “At this point they’ve made it clear they’re not interested in that right now,” Smith said. Read More

San Jose Teachers Tell School District They Will Not Return to Classrooms in August
SAN JOSE — San Jose teachers will not return to the classroom for in-person teaching in August, the school district announced Friday. Following “marathon” negotiations, San Jose Teachers Association president Patrick Bernhardt presented the superintendent of the San Jose Unified School District, Nancy Albarra, with a letter saying “Teachers do not feel that it is safe to return to teaching in person and, in large majority, they are unwilling to do so at this time.” In the letter, Bernhardt urged the district to “use the time remaining to prepare a rigorous, robust distance learning program for all students.” On Friday evening, the SJUSD emailed parents about the teachers’ decision and asked for input. Read More

San Francisco Zoo Preparing To Open Gates Amid City’s COVID-19 Reopening Pause
SAN FRANCISCO — While the San Francisco Zoo is preparing to reopen its gates for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began in March, many businesses awaiting reduced health order restrictions remain in limbo as the city’s pause in reopening continues. On Friday, Mayor London Breed and city health officials confirmed that the planned reopening of the businesses that started on June 29 would remain paused “until the COVID-19 Key Health Indicators improve and the spread of the virus is brought under control once again.” While San Francisco County has not been added to the state’s monitoring list, the city and county are experiencing a rise in coronavirus transmission, cases, and hospitalizations that are forcing the city to slow down reopening. Read More

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