SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With a surge in coronavirus cases, the information you need to know is coming fast and furious. Here’s a roundup of the COVID stories we’ve published over the last 48 hours.


Marin County Tells Restaurants To Reduce Indoor Dining Capacity Amid Rising Cases
NOVATO — Marin County said it’s seen a spike of cases and the Public Health Director is hoping the community will take steps before possibly slipping back into the more-restrictive Red Tier under the state’s reopening plan. Restaurants just started being able to fill half of their dining rooms at the end of October but it only lasted just about two weeks. The Public Health Officer is recommending restaurants scale back to 25% again. As soon as the recommendation came down from the County, Trek Winery in downtown Novato reduced its indoor dining to 25% capacity. “It’s definitely a large setback, very unfortunate. These last six months have been difficult for every small business,” said Michael Podshadley, the winery’s general manager. Read More

Neighbors Of San Francisco Shelter-In-Place Hotels Complain Of Increased Crime
SAN FRANCISCO — The city program directing $10 million a month to house homeless people in hotels is leading to increased crime in the form of shootings and break-ins, according to neighbors. “It’s just a safety issue, it’s not about judgment, it’s about safety,” Donna Aldrich, a resident of San Francisco’s Marina District, said. “I’m starting to think a little bit more about being aware of my surroundings,” Mike Olcese said. Olcese and Aldrich live near one of San Francisco’s Shelter in Place (SIP) hotels, they say they’re constantly on edge after experiencing an increase in criminal activity and blight on their block over the past several months. Read More

Christmas In The Park: San Jose Holiday Tradition Becomes Drive-Thru Attraction In Pandemic, Moves To New Location
SAN JOSE — One of the Bay Area’s most popular holiday traditions will go on despite the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year’s Christmas in the Park in San Jose will be a very different experience. “I think it’s going to blow people away, once they get there,” said Christmas in the Park Director Jason Minsky. The event has moved from Downtown San Jose, to History Park on Senter Road. It will also be a COVID-safe drive-through event. Read More

San Jose’s Franklin-McKinley School District To Continue Distance Learning Through June 2021
SAN JOSE — The Franklin-McKinley School District, located in one of San Jose’s COVID-19 hotspots, will continue distance learning until June 15, 2021. The school board voted unanimously in favor of the move during its Tuesday night meeting — stating that the safety of students, staff and families is the priority. “For me personally as a teacher, I am always going to prioritize safety and health of students and staff,” School District Board Vice President Maimona Berta said. “Our district continues to be one of the highest-impacted districts by COVID-19 based on our zip codes both in cases and fatalities.” Read More

California Nears Unwelcome Milestone Of 1 Million COVID-19 Cases
SAN FRANCISCO — A month ago, Antonio Gomez III was a healthy 46-year-old struggling like so many others to balance work and parenting during the coronavirus pandemic. This week, he’s struggling to breathe after a three-week bout with the virus. Gomez said he let down his guard to see his parents and contracted one of the nearly 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in California. For months, the virus has hammered the economy, disproportionately affected the poor and upended daily life — and now the state and the rest of the country are trying to curb another surge of infections. Read More

San Francisco Supes Criticize Plan To Rehouse 2,300 Homeless Staying In Hotels During Pandemic
SAN FRANCISCO — Several San Francisco supervisors and homeless service providers on Tuesday blasted a plan by city leaders to rehouse 2,300 individuals currently staying in hotels as part of the city’s COVID-19 response. Under the city’s Shelter-in-Place (SIP) program, homeless residents who were considered vulnerable to the virus, based on their age and underlying health conditions, were placed in at 29 hotels throughout the city over the last six months. On Monday, Mayor London Breed and the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing announced a new plan to close the hotels and offer permanent supportive housing options to more than 2,300 people over the coming months. As part of the first phase, 500 residents at 7 hotels would be moved into housing in the next weeks. Read More

San Francisco’s Union Square Retailers Hopeful Holiday Shoppers Will Return
SAN FRANCISCO — After enduring months of coronavirus shutdowns and looters taking advantage of unrest during the George Floyd protests, Union Square has had a rough 2020. On Wednesday, there were some positive signs of life in San Francisco’s cornerstone retail district. A Christmas tree is already up and drawing foot traffic back the often busy bellweather of San Francisco’s downtown shopping area. “Usually, you can find a spot after circling for five minutes, but today was crazy,” said shopper Amina Soulahi. Owners of businesses big and small told KPIX 5 the return of shoppers to the area isn’t coming a moment too soon. Read More

Fresno Mayor-Elect Jerry Dyer COVID-19 Positive After Attending Election Night Party
FRESNO — Mayor-elect, Jerry Dyer, has tested positive for COVID-19 after attending an election night dinner with a few officials, including a Fresno County supervisor whose diagnosis late last week prompted the Board of Supervisors to close its offices and postpone its meeting by a week. The former police chief told the Fresno Bee he went into quarantine after receiving the test result Tuesday. Dyer said he took the test after experiencing a light cough and that his symptoms developed with a headache, body aches, chills and a mild fever. “I would equate my symptoms, at least at this point, to a severe cold or mild flu,” he said. “I consider myself very fortunate as I know others experience severe sickness and unfortunately, death.”
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San Francisco Unified School District Plans Teacher Testing Program Ahead Of January Reopenings
SAN FRANCISCO — As San Francisco Unified School District prepares to reopen some of its schools starting in January for in-person learning, Superintendent Vincent Matthews announced Wednesday plans to provide COVID-19 testing for staff. Under a new agreement, biotechnology company Curative Inc. will provide testing to school staff, helping identify any staff member who may be asymptomatic, in order to limit the spread of the virus. “This agreement marks a significant step forward in our work to create an in-person teaching and learning environment where staff can feel safe,” Matthews said in a statement. “When we are in a hybrid in-person learning model, we plan to have a regular surveillance testing program and SFUSD will be by far the largest single testing entity in the city of San Francisco.” Read More

COVID Safety Guidelines For Holidays Jointly Issued By Bay Area Health Officials
SAN FRANCISCO — Health officials in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties and the city of Berkeley jointly issued guidelines this week for the holiday season, advising residents to keep gatherings short and small to prevent spreading the coronavirus. Gatherings are encouraged to be held outdoors and limited to three households or fewer for two hours, at most. People with symptoms or the coronavirus should not attend holiday gatherings. If symptoms develop after a gathering, all guests should be notified and tested for the virus. Read More

New Stanford Study Finds Significant COVID Risks From Indoor Dining
STANFORD — A new study authored by a Stanford computer scientist found that indoor businesses were the biggest spreaders of COVID-19 — providing bad news for a restaurant industry struggling during the pandemic. The study, published Tuesday in the weekly scientific journal Nature, found that around eight in every ten COVID cases diagnosed during the first months of the pandemic were infected while inside a public venue such as a restaurant or gym. “Restaurants were by far the riskiest places, about four times riskier than gyms and coffee shops, followed by hotels,” Jure Leskovec, a Stanford computer scientist and lead author on the study, told the New York Times. Read More

Santa Clara County Reminds Residents, Businesses Of Guidance Compliance
SAN JOSE — Santa Clara County health officials reminded residents and businesses Wednesday of the importance of complying with local guidance to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus after a countywide spike in cases in recent days. Santa Clara County established the Business Compliance Unit in August to monitor businesses for their compliance with local pandemic safety guidelines. According to Beatrice Santiago, an environmental health program manager with the county and the head of the compliance unit, county officials have sought to educate business owners about how to stay compliant rather than strictly dole out punishments.”From the get-go, we knew the importance of an education-first approach,” Santiago said during a Wednesday morning briefing on the Compliance Unit. “It wasn’t just about enforcement, it was about outreach and compliance as well.” Read More

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