SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — While the wildfires have raged in Northern California, the coronavirus outbreak, reopenings and school classes starting has continued. To keep you updated on the COVID-19 news you need to know here’s a roundup of the top coronavirus and reopening-related stories.

Good News — Neighbors Helping Neighbors

SONOMA COUNTY — Since the wildfires started over two weeks ago, firefighters have been stretched thin all across Northern California. “Long, long work shifts! Some of these guys,” International Association of Fire Fighters Union Rep, Thomas Moran said. “We normally start out with a 24, sometimes 48-hour work cycle. What happened this year is we were getting 72, 96-hour shifts, even longer.” To show his appreciation for their hard work, Master BBQ Chef Jim Modesitt, with help from the Gary Sinise Foundation, has been feeding the exhausted first responders. “They literally work their butts off so, I’m here to make sure they have a good meal at the end of the day,” Modesitt said. Modesitt and his crew planned on Thursday to serve nearly a hundred meals across three counties to firefighters, CHP, Sonoma County Sheriffs — even the Henry One Rescue Helicopter crews who recently saved two firefighters from a burning ridge at night. Read More

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


Santa Clara County Leaders Slam Brakes on Rapid Reopening
SAN JOSE — The Bay Area’s largest county may be on the verge of getting the green light from the state to reopen its economy a little more. On Thursday, county leaders confirmed that Santa Clara County had moved from the purple tier of widespread COVID-19 transmission into the red tier of substantial transmission two weeks ago and that the governor could announce as soon as Tuesday that the county could reopen its economy, including indoor personal-care services, restaurants, movie theaters, churches, gyms and fitness studios with modifications. The list in the red tier also includes schools. County leaders also said they would continue to keep its restrictions in place, because of the increase in COVID-19 cases. “There should be no mistake, we still have a significant amount of transmission in our community,” said Santa Clara County counsel James Williams. Read More

Landlords Receive Millions In COVID-19 Relief While Quarantined Students Forced To Pay For Vacant Apartments
SACRAMENTO — As the coronavirus pandemic closes college campuses across the country, students — and their parents — are still stuck paying rent for vacant apartments even as many of those property owners receive pandemic assistance. Some landlords near campuses aren’t allowing students to break their leases and aren’t passing any of the assistance they receive onto their students. “No one is caring for us students at all right now and it’s disappointing,” Sacramento State student Jaspreet Khatra said. Khatra secured her lease at Element Student Living, near Sacramento State University back in December, since June she’s been scrambling to get out of it. “It’s going to be a lot of pressure on me and my family, considering that my dad and I both don’t have any income right now,” Khatra said. Read More </a

Landlords Receive Millions In COVID-19 Relief While Quarantined Students Forced To Pay For Vacant Apartments
SACRAMENTO — As the coronavirus pandemic closes college campuses across the country, students — and their parents — are still stuck paying rent for vacant apartments even as many of those property owners receive pandemic assistance. Some landlords near campuses aren’t allowing students to break their leases and aren’t passing any of the assistance they receive onto their students. “No one is caring for us students at all right now and it’s disappointing,” Sacramento State student Jaspreet Khatra said. Khatra secured her lease at Element Student Living, near Sacramento State University back in December, since June she’s been scrambling to get out of it. “It’s going to be a lot of pressure on me and my family, considering that my dad and I both don’t have any income right now,” Khatra said. Read More

East Bay School District Pulls Online Program After Parents Complain of Racist, Homophobic Content
ALAMEDA — It’s not how but what kids are learning online that has concerned Alameda parents who reported racist and homophobic content they noticed in a remote-learning program. The Alameda Unified School District says it removed the learning program immediately from its curriculum after receiving complaints. “I have anxieties and a lot of frustration,” said parent Kat Nguyen who is one of many raising concerns with the Alameda Unified School District after hearing about racist and homophobic content in a learning program created by Acellus. Lydia, a teacher in the district says she was offended when she saw the lessons. “When I saw that there was a question about what was a traditional family — there was two white parents and two white children and that was the right answer versus a black parent with a child,” she recalled. Read More

Tearful San Francisco Salon Owner Denies Setting Up Pelosi
SAN FRANCISCO — The owner of the San Francisco salon that hosted a visit from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this week on Thursday gave an emotional denial that she set Pelosi up, despite having provided the surveillance video that prompted the controversy. Erica Kious, the owner of eSalon on Union Street where Pelosi had an indoor styling appointment on Monday afternoon, spoke about the accusations during a Zoom news conference with reporters Thursday. She insisted it was independent stylist Jonathan Denardo who made arrangements with Pelosi to visit the salon and that she was not involved. “I understand Mrs. Pelosi says she was set up by me to come into the salon and be filmed. Of course, since I had no contact with Mrs. Pelosi or her team for any of this and Jonathan is the only one they communicated with, if there was a set up, it only could have been Jonathan who orchestrated it,” said Kious. Read More

Cal Campus Closure Leaves Usually Bustling Berkeley A Ghost Town
BERKELEY — UC Berkeley is housing approximately 6,500 students for the fall semester, but with COVID-19 restricting in-person classes, that total doesn’t compare to the over 60,000 students who usually roam the area. Many of the businesses that depend on those students are struggling to stay afloat. Take a walk around UC Berkeley and it’s hard not to be struck by just how empty the campus is. What is even more striking is what’s happening on the edge of the campus. Take the intersection of Bancroft and Telegraph, for example. Ordinarily, those sidewalks can be nearly impassable from the crowds of students. On Thursday afternoon, people were scarce and there were certainly no crowds. Business owners see trouble ahead. Read More

Former EDD Director Suggests Fraud Behind ‘Ridiculously Outsized’ Unemployment Claims
SACRAMENTO — Concerns are growing about possible widespread fraud in California’s unemployment system following numerous reports of people receiving unsolicited letters, some with debit cards, from the state’s jobless agency, and a suspicious number of claims involving independent contractors. The California Employment Development Department has paid a staggering $76.9 billion in unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic, processing more than 11.9 million claims, most the result of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to shut down much of the economy to slow the spread of the disease. The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that California had processed more than 405,000 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims last week, accounting for more than half of all such claims nationally. Congress authorized the program earlier this year to help people not normally eligible to receive unemployment benefits, including independent contractors. Read More

Marin County Approves COVID Waivers for 15 Schools
SAN RAFAEL — Marin County officials announced Thursday that it’s allowing 15 schools to reopen as COVID-19 data improves in the area. The Marin County Public Health Officer approved waiver applications for 15 elementary schools, which could switch from online to in-person learning as early as Sept. 8, as long as coronavirus infection rates continue to trend downward. “We’re at a critical juncture, and our ability to get kids back into school is up to all of us,” said Dr Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer. The county currently remains in the first tier of the state’s reopening plan, but the number of coronavirus patients continues to drop and soon the county expects to be on the second tier. Read More

Avoid Social Gathering During Labor Day Weekend, Bay Area Health Officials Urge
SAN JOSE — Health officials in Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties on Thursday warned residents to avoid social gatherings during the upcoming Labor Day weekend to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Contact tracers in Contra Costa County found many coronavirus cases linked to parties and picnics that occurred during the Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends earlier this year. That included people who were asymptomatic and unaware they had the virus, later tested positive for the virus and infected family and friends at a gathering during those two weekends. “Humans are social beings and COVID-19 has interfered with our natural desire to see and hug the people we care about,” Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said. “At the same time, we’re in an unprecedented situation now and we can’t behave like it’s business as usual.” Read More

Los Gatos Teacher Accused Of Inappropriate Zoom Calls With Kids, Arrested For Lewd Acts
LOS GATOS — A teacher in Los Gatos was arrested Thursday after two students reported uncomfortable Zoom interactions with him, leading to an investigation that discovered evidence of “a plethora of behavior indicative of a pedophile,” according to authorities. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said in May, a 13-year-old boy reported to deputies that his teacher made him feel uncomfortable during a one-on-one Zoom meeting. The teacher was identified as the Joseph Houg, Director of the Los Gatos Youth Theater and a longtime fifth-grade teacher at Blossom Hill Elementary School in Los Gatos. The victim told investigators Houg repeatedly requested to see the boy’s abdominal muscles, the sheriff’s office said. The boy reported another 13-year-old boy felt uncomfortable with the teacher, and that boy confirmed the account, saying Houg requested to see a pair of the boy’s underwear during a one-on-one Zoom meeting. Read More

Pac-12 Conference Reaches Agreement For Rapid COVID Testing
SAN FRANCISCO — The Pac-12 has reached an agreement with a diagnostic testing company to implement up to daily COVID-19 testing for all close-contact sports across the conference. The deal with Quidel Corporation announced Thursday is a major step toward safe resumption of Pac-12 sports, Commissioner Larry Scott said. Tests and Quidel’s Sofia 2 testing machines are expected to be delivered to the conference’s schools by late September. “The availability of a reliable test that can be administered daily, with almost immediate results, addresses one of the key concerns that was expressed by our medical advisory committee, as well as by student-athletes, coaches and others,” Scott said in a statement. The Pac-12 announced last month it was pausing all sports until Jan. 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read More

49ers Expected To Stay At West Virginia Resort Between 2 East Coast Games
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — The San Francisco 49ers will stay at a West Virginia resort later this month rather than return to California between back-to-back games on the East Coast. The 49ers are scheduled to play road games Sept. 20 against the New York Jets and Sept. 27 against the New York Giants at the New Jersey Meadowlands.The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., said in a news release that the 49ers will stay at the resort the week of Sept. 21. “Further details will come from the 49ers at a later date, but The Greenbrier is excited about welcoming them to West Virginia and again showcasing our incredible football facility,” the resort said. Read More

Oakland A’s Pitcher Daniel Mengden Tested Positive for COVID-19
OAKLAND — The Oakland A’s placed right handed-pitcher Daniel Mengden on the COVID-19 injury list last week after he tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the team’s general manager. Oakland general manager David Forst told the media that Mengden, who lives in Houston, was asymptomatic and was self-isolating at home since his diagnosis last Thursday. After learning of Mengden’s positive test results, the team postponed its series against the Seattle Mariners to allow for additional testing and contact tracing. Major League Baseball said the games will be made up with a doubleheader in Seattle on Sept. 14 and another in Oakland on Sept. 26. The A’s added new left-hander Mike Minor to the 40-man roster after acquiring him Monday in a trade with the Angels. Read More

San Jose Casinos Prepare To Reopen With Outdoor Operations
SAN JOSE — Work was underway Wednesday at San Jose’s two cardrooms, Bay 101 and Casino M8trix, to prepare for outdoor operations. At Bay 101, crews were seen erecting a large, white vinyl tent directly adjacent to the main building, to house dozens of playing tables with clear plastic partitions. Electricians spent the day wiring multiple surveillance cameras above. At Casino M8trix, also underneath a white tent, the carpeted flooring was illuminated by chandelier lights above. The length of the tent was estimated to be at least half the length of a football field. “If there is a safe legal way for them to operate outdoors, that’s a no brainer. Absolutely,” said Raul Peralez, San Jose City Councilmember. Read More

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