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.

Thanksgiving Travel: Millions of Californians Drive, Fly Despite Surging Cases, Warnings To Stay Home
SAN FRANCISCO — As many as 50 million Americans are estimated to have traveled for Thanksgiving despite increased cases of COVID-19 and repeated warnings from public health officials to stay home. 2020 has been a year of cancelled plans. But for many at San Francisco International Airport on Wednesday, COVID-19 won’t stop them from heading home for the holidays. “We’re heading to Salt Lake City, Utah,” Madison Snow told KPIX 5 while waiting at the security line. “As long as everyone does their duty and wears a mask, it feels okay,” she added. Millions of Californians will continue to travel despite the state recording more than 1 million cases, a travel advisory for everyone in Purple Tier counties, which covers most of the state, and a strong urging from the Centers for Disease Control to stay home. Read More

UCSF, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Plan For Early Distribution Of Pfizer Vaccine
SAN FRANCISCO — The Bay Area could be weeks away from receiving the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, with two hospitals saying they are set to obtain doses. UCSF and Zuckerberg San Francisco General will be among the seven California hospitals to get an early allocation of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. But first, the Food and Drug Administration must grant an emergency use authorization. The next meeting is December 10th. “Until the FDA officially acts, no one will be getting the vaccine from that stockpile,” said UC Berkeley epidemiologist Dr. Art Reingold. If emergency use authorization is granted, UCSF said it is ready and could have the vaccine three to seven days after the authorization is granted. Read More

California EDD Fraud Victims, Lawmakers Frustrated About Latest Unemployment Scam Involving Prisoners
SAN FRANCISCO — Prosecutors and district attorneys from nine counties across California believe more than $140 million in state benefits have been paid out to prisoners, even those on death row. This comes on the heels of another big problem with unemployment insurance benefits from the California Employment Development Department (EDD). “The news was incredibly disturbing and disheartening. But unfortunately, it’s not a surprise. This is a department that has been failing California for many months, in many different regards,” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). As KPIX 5 has been reporting for weeks, people who lost their jobs during the pandemic and got their EDD benefits through Bank of America debit cards had their accounts drained of thousands of dollars and still haven’t received credits. Read More

San Mateo Health Officer Points To Careless Behavior For Rising Cases, ‘In Your Hands’ To Stop Surge
SAN MATEO COUNTY — Calling the holidays a “super critical time,” San Mateo County’s health officer appealed to residents to stay vigilant and called out careless behavior as COVID-19 cases surge ahead of Thanksgiving. Health officer Dr. Scott Morrow told residents in a statement posted Monday, “Right now, enough people are acting like they are individuals, carelessly, thoughtlessly, and I would add quite selfishly, whether by intent or not, resulting in a surge in new cases.” Morrow said due to such behavior, “everyone’s lives are disrupted, schools will not function properly, and your favorite businesses will close, likely forever.” The county, which had made it to the Orange Tier in the state’s reopening plan was among those moved back into the Red Tier last week. San Mateo, along with San Francisco and Marin, are the only Bay Area counties not in the Purple Tier, which has the most COVID-19 restrictions. Read More

‘Shop Concord’ Gift Cards Save Shoppers Big Money While Helping Local Businesses Survive
CONCORD — Small businesses all across the Bay Area are struggling due to the pandemic. The Concord Chamber of Commerce says they have a new idea they think can help. It’s a gift card program but this one is different. You buy a certificate online representing the “Shop Concord” gift card, then Concord will add 50 percent more value to it. This card has real financial teeth. “A consumer can go in, buy a gift card for $20 and then $10, or ten bonus dollars will come on to that gift card from the funds the city of Concord put into the program,” explains Kevin Cabral, President and CEO of the Concord Chamber of Commerce. Concord has pledged $10,000 to make this plan work. Nearly 50 small businesses have signed up to promote and accept the gift cards. Read More

Despite Warning That Santa Clara Co. Is Running Out Of ICU Beds, Many Still Gathering
SANTA CLARA — With yet another day of record new COVID cases, Santa Clara County health officials warned Wednesday that hospitals in their county were down to just 69 beds available for patients requiring intensive medical care. With multiple press conferences, Santa Clara County put the full court press on Wednesday, begging people, again and again, not to travel and not to gather for Thanksgiving. Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Testing Officer for the County of Santa Clara, said new cases were soaring with 512 reported on Tuesday and an even greater number expected on Wednesday. On Sunday, the county reported there were 122 ICU beds available. In 72 hours, that number has been almost cut in half. There were 240 available last Friday. Read More

Big Game: Cal Versus Stanford Game Looking Different During Pandemic
BERKELEY — The traditional Big Game between the Stanford Cardinal and the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears has seen plenty of changes over the 123 years it’s been held. But the adjustments have never been as drastic as they’ve been for this year’s game. California and Stanford both come into the rivalry matchup with both teams winless for the first time. They’re also playing on a Friday in another first, just the third game for each team when it should be the fourth. The teams have dealt with cancellations because of the coronavirus, the Cardinal losing out on playing last week’s scheduled home game with Washington State while the Golden Bears will finally get to play their first game at Memorial Stadium after the Nov. 7 opener with Washington didn’t happen. Stanford quarterback Davis Mills had to sit out the opener at Oregon because of a testing mistake. “We love our fans and we wish that they could be out at the games and enjoying being at the stadium and being around their friends and family as well,” Cal coach Justin Wilcox said.Read More

California Assembly Schedules New Session to Be Held In NBA Arena
SACRAMENTO — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to turn institutions on their heads, as the California Assembly announced this week that it plans to hold its next legislative session at an NBA arena. Speaker Anthony Rendon said Wednesday that when the session begins Dec. 7, the extra space and better air filtration at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center will help keep lawmakers, staff and the press safe. The Senate, meanwhile, will still convene in its regular chambers, President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins said in a statement. Neither chamber will allow guests, including lawmakers’ families. “Moving this event away from the Assembly Chambers and not allowing guests to attend were difficult decisions to make,” said Rendon, a Democrat. “Given the circumstances of rapidly growing COVID-19 rates across the state, we need to do everything we can to keep members, their families, staff, and the public safe.” The arena, home to the Sacramento Kings’ NBA team, is several blocks from the Capitol. Read More

Local Counties Moving to Shut Down Hotels for Homeless Program
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco, Alameda and other California counties are moving forward on plans to wind down a program that’s moved homeless people into hotel rooms amid the coronavirus pandemic. The moves comes despite an injection of emergency state funds aimed at preventing people from returning to the streets as the virus surges and winter approaches. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced $62 million for counties to move hotel guests into permanent housing or to extend hotel leases that were part of “Project Roomkey,” which he rolled out this spring as a way to protect some people experiencing homelessness from the virus. The Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to pick up 75% of the cost. But counties say that with federal relief funding expiring soon, it’s time to transition residents from expensive hotel rooms to cheaper, more stable housing. Officials hope to offer a place to every resident leaving a hotel, though they acknowledge not everyone will accept it and affordable housing is difficult to find. Read More

Other Local Coronavirus Trending Stories

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

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

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