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 24 hours.

COVID Cravings Drive Us To The Fridge In Search Of Comfort Food
SAN FRANCISCO — COVID-19? How about the COVID 15? That is all the extra pounds you’ve gained? This pandemic is driving us to the fridge or pantry with some pretty intense cravings for comfort food. But there is good reason: we’re nearly 9 months into the pandemic and life is full of restrictions and fears. KPIX 5 spoke to folks on Chestnut Street in San Francisco who were trying to enjoy some fresh air. “Things aren’t getting better as we thought,” said Brian Goebel. “You can’t see your friends. You feel paranoid all the time,” noted high schooler Nastasia Hoppe. “I haven’t even started school yet, you don’t want to get COVID, but you want to spend times with your friends,” added her friend Sasha Briones. Read More

Nearly A Third Of Nurses Dying Of COVID-19 Are Filipino
SAN FRANCISCO — There is an alarming statistic when it comes to COVID-19 death among nurses. Nearly a third of those who have died are of Filipino descent. Sixty-three-year-old Francis Dadis worked as a nurse at a rehab facility in San Rafael. His family says he loved his work but it believes that is where he came in contact with the deadly virus. His niece Olivia recalls a conversation with her uncle.
“He said you know what, I don’t believe in COVID because I don’t have any symptoms. I said you coughed a little bit and he said, Olivia it’s just a cough.” Francis may not have had severe symptoms but his niece says he tested positive for coronavirus on September 10. Two days later, he passed away. Olivia was stunned when her mother called with the news. “Did you not hear me. He’s dead. I said ‘what the heck are you taking about?’” says Olivia. According to National Nurses United, Filipino nurses only make up 4 percent of the nursing population nationwide but account for nearly a third of coronavirus deaths. Read More

SF’s Iconic Flower Mart Tries New Strategies To Survive The Pandemic
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s iconic Flower Mart has been hit hard by the pandemic. General Manager Jeanne Boes says 2020 has been a year for the record books, but not one for the bank ledgers – even in the flower industry. “We are integrated with hotels, restaurants, events, celebrations so we lost about a million dollars worth of product while we were shut down,” said Boes. That was just for the month of March. The Flower Mart reopened just before Mother’s Day, but even still, Boes says they’re doing about 30 percent of their usual business. It’s a similar story for florists. “We went from having a whole season of weddings booked to nothing, no work,” says one florist. She says she did a big business pivot and resurrected her floral subscriptions business, Bloom Tuesday, and started doing virtual and socially distant floral arranging classes. Read More

South Bay Hospitals Brace For Rise In Coronavirus Cases, ICU Patients
SAN JOSE — While counties in the Bay Area are generally doing much better than the rest of the state as far as rising COVID-19 cases during the surge, hospital officials are still taking steps in preparation. Hospitals in Northern California aren’t close to crisis levels where there is a shortage of ICU beds, but since no one really knows how long the current case surge will last, health officials are bracing for the worst. Hospitalizations spiked across California by more than 81 percent over the last 14 days. “I’m definitely concerned. My parents are in the high-risk category, so I’d be terrified and scared if they got sick,” said San Francisco resident Solveig Barnes. “Hospital systems are stretched. I talk to many hospital leaders everyday to hear how things are going on the ground,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly during his Tuesday update on the state’s response to the pandemic. Read More

Prosecutors: Over 35,000 Unemployment Claims Filed In Names Of Prison Inmates, Including Scott Peterson
SAN MATEO COUNTY — California’s system for paying unemployment benefits is so dysfunctional that the state approved more than $140 million for at least 20,000 prisoners, local and federal prosecutors said Tuesday, detailing a scheme that resulted in claims filed in the names of well-known convicted murderers like Scott Peterson and Cary Stayner. The discovery of more than $140 million in unemployment fraud and counting could be traced back to the San Mateo County Jail, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told KPIX 5. Back in July, an investigator with the San Mateo district attorney’s office was listening to a call recorded inside the jail from an inmate, when the scam came into focus. “The word spread faster than the pandemic, that there’s a scam where you can get money put into your account,” Wagstaffe said. Read More

East Bay Groups Give Away Hundreds Of Meals Before Thanksgiving Amid Overwhelming Need
RICHMOND — Ahead of Thanksgiving, groups across the Bay Area are seeing overwhelming need due to the pandemic, including two groups in the East Bay. A thousand Thanksgiving meals were being given away by the Bay Area Rescue Mission in Richmond on Tuesday. The mission, which has been helping families with food for more than 40 years, said they can barely keep up with demand. During all that time, they’ve never seen so many people needing food. “People are shut in, people can’t go to various different places. They can’t be with their families, right?” said Mike Lubcyik, Chairman of the Bay Area Rescue Mission. “Families can’t get together and help and so there’re congregating here to get the meals.” Read More

Dr. Grant Colfax Says San Francisco At ‘Critical Moment,’ Expects Purple Tier Later This Week
SAN FRANCISCO — Although San Francisco has yet to reach the purple tier — the most restrictive tier in California’s COVID-19 reopening system — the city’s Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said Tuesday he expects it to do so by later this week. The city currently remains in the red tier, despite predictions made by Colfax last week that the city would reach the purple tier by this past Sunday. During a Tuesday briefing, Colfax said although the number of daily new COVID-19 cases in the city remains below state and national levels, the recent surge is nonetheless concerning. Just as of Nov. 18, the city was seeing an average of 118 new cases daily, a jump from 95 new average cases daily as of Nov. 11 and just 73 a week before that, on Nov. 4. “We’ve seen an aggressive increase in our cases week over week,” Colfax said. “We are at a critical moment. We cannot let the virus get so far ahead of us, or we will never catch up.” Read More

Santa Clara County Ups Enforcement For Thanksgiving, Suspends Grace Period For Businesses
SAN JOSE — Black Friday shopping, just like almost everything else in 2020, will look very different this year — no crowds, no late-night in-person sales and no camping out in front of stores before they open. The statewide curfew for counties in California’s purple tier, the most restrictive in California’s tiered system to respond to the pandemic, requires retailers to close their doors from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and residents to shelter in place as well, with some exceptions such as for grocery stores. But Santa Clara County will also be stricter in enforcing capacity limits and social distancing protocols this weekend by suspending the grace period for fines starting on Thanksgiving and lasting until Sunday. “Normally, when we go out and do compliance, we provide a grace period, we provide warnings. People know the rules by now,” County Counsel James Williams said. “With the rising number of cases and rising number of hospitalizations, we are suspending the grace period. We are serious about the enforcement and we will be out there proactively.” Read More

Dr. Ghaly Commends Bay Area For Holding Steady Amid Case Surge
SACRAMENTO — California Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly updated the public on the state’s COVID cases Tuesday, announcing that more counties had moved backwards into the purple tier while commending some Bay Area counties for holding steady in their tier positions. Though the news of still surging COVID-19 cases in the state remained grim, on a more positive note, the Bay Area counties that were at the red tier — Marin San Francisco and San Mateo — have not moved to the purple tier. When asked about those counties, Ghaly replied, “I think each county has a slightly different story. I will remind you that just a couple weeks ago San Francisco was in the yellow tier, so let’s not make any mistake; they’ve seen a significant surge in cases, and we believe that some of the tools they put in place will be helpful. And we hope to see them hold steady where they are, but we are fully prepared that they may not. I think we have seen it from the beginning that certain communities, certain counties do take some of the guidance more to heart than others.” Read More

Los Angeles Considers Stay-At-Home Order Amid ‘Alarming Surge’ Before Thanksgiving
LOS ANGELES — Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday and warnings from officials to avoid non-essential travel, officials in Los Angeles will discuss a possible stay-home order after a spike of coronavirus cases surpassed a threshold set by public health officials to trigger one. An “impressive and alarming surge” of more than 6,000 new cases put Los Angeles County over a five-day average of 4,500 cases per day, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday. She declined to take action until county supervisors meet Tuesday. If the county orders residents to stay home, it would be the first such action since mid-March when Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom followed the lead of several counties and issued a statewide order that closed schools and severely restricted movement, except for essential workers and for people buy groceries or pick up food. Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have been rapidly rising across California in November. The state recorded its highest day of positive test results on Saturday with more than 15,000. It had more than 14,000 cases Sunday. Hospitalizations have increased 77% over the past two weeks. Read More

How Will COVID Affect Black Friday Sales? Stores ‘Significantly Scaling Back,’ Says Expert
SAN FRANCISCO — COVID-19 will have a huge effect on Black Friday this year, much as it has on everything else. Some of those effects can already be seen in the expanded holiday shopping season, which has been going on since mid-October. Other effects will become more evident over the long Thanksgiving weekend. At one time, Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The name is derived from the day retailers see their balance sheets turn from red to black. According to Jie Zhang, Professor of Marketing and Retail Management at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, “the legend was that retailers work their heads off for much of the year, and it’s only the beginning of the holiday shopping season, that is, the Friday after Thanksgiving, that they turn black. So they turn red to black, meaning that this is first day they’re going to start to making profits. Obviously, it’s by no means precise.” Read More