CBS San Francisco Staff Report

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.


Bay Area Frontline Workers Set to Receive 1st Pfizer Doses Monday
PALO ALTO — Friday night, the FDA approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, the first in the country to get emergency authorization for use in battling the pandemic. Vials of the vaccine could be delivered to pre-designated sites across the Bay Area as soon as overnight Sunday, according to the Office of Emergency Services. The Department of Defense announced earlier Friday the Veterans Administration hospital in Palo Alto will be one of 37 VA medical facilities to get the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine. All of the doses will go to doctors and nurses who work there. “327,600 doses now are being shipped in real time to the state of California,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom in a video statement posted to Twitter not long after the FDA approved the vaccine. “They’ll use FedEx and UPS. They drop-ship through a very tightly controlled system to the 636 sites our governors have designated for this initial tranche,” said Alex Azar, U.S. Health and Human Services secretary. Read More

Bay Area Seniors Eagerly Await Newly-Approved Pfizer COVID Vaccine
GREENBRAE — The Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use authorization Friday evening. The federal vaccination program will help those living in long-term care facilities. There are nearly 10,000 CVS pharmacies across the country. That’s one reason, federal officials tapped the chain — as well as Walgreens — to start vaccinating the elderly, a process that’s likely to start in a few days. Rosellen Courtright, who resides at The Redwoods seniors facility in Mill Valley, has been waiting for months. “I’m eager to get it. It’s wonderful because I didn’t realize it was so early and coming so soon,” Courtright said. She’s one of more than 350 residents at the “The Redwoods: a Community of Seniors” who are at the top of the list to receive the vaccine. Read More

Ski Resorts Open For Season As Stay At Home Order Begins For Lake Tahoe Region
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The holiday exodus from the San Francisco Bay Area to the wintry wonders of Lake Tahoe was placed in the deep freeze early Friday as a stay at home order was issued for El Dorado County. The county has been grouped with the Sacramento area in one of California’s five COVID regions. Once a region falls below 15 percent in the level of ICU beds available, emergency shutdown measures must go into effect. Those measures began rolling out in South Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Tahoe City at 11:50 p.m. Thursday. Restaurants are limited to just take-out, hotels and other lodging restricted to just essential travelers and other businesses are also severely impacted. So far, ski resorts have been exempted from the order by Gov. Gavin Newsom, but they must operate with social distancing safety measures in place. Health officials across the San Francisco Bay Area are urging local residents not to travel until January, but the advisory has not reached the levels of enforcement as in March or April. Read More

Several Danville Restaurants Defy Outdoor-Dining Ban
DANVILLE — Outdoor dining is banned by the COVID stay-at-home order, but some East Bay restaurants are still serving customers in defiance, with owners saying it’s worth getting fined. A number of restaurants in Danville have decided to defy the outdoor dining ban. The Danville town manager said the police have already issued a handful of citations and a number of warnings to downtown restaurants. Kick N Mule Bar and Restaurant on Hartz Avenue received a $250 ticket on Thursday. “If we weren’t opened the way we’ve been opened, I wouldn’t have been able to pay my own rent. I wouldn’t have been able to pay my own bills. To have this lockdown right before Christmas, it’s not good,” said Joe Medeiros, bartender at Kick N Mule. That establishment and others have continued to offer outdoor dining with support from customers. Read More

Gov. Gavin Newsom Recall Supporters ‘Halfway There’ In Reaching Goal Of 1.5 Million Signatures
SACRAMENTO — The most recent effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom says it’s making progress towards its signature goals, with months to go. “The recall is halfway there,” says Orrin Heatlie of Folsom, near Sacramento. “The courts agreed with us that we need an extension to continue gathering signatures.” Heatlie is the man behind the recall campaign, which has until March 17th to collect about 1.5 million signatures. “820,000 people have weighed in on this already,” Heatlie says. “There’s going to be another 820,000 people, plus, in the next couple of months.” Gavin Newsom may have won his election with 62% of the vote, but 4.7 million Californians did vote against him in 2018. By raw numbers, he was starting with a sizable well of opposition. Read More

Over 90 Cases, 77 In Santa Clara County, Linked To NorCal Youth Basketball Tournament
SAN JOSE — More than 90 COVID-19 cases in three counties, including 77 in Santa Clara County, have been linked to a Northern California youth basketball tournament conducted against restrictions to slow the virus, health officials said. According to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, the outbreak was linked to teams from a South Bay youth program that traveled to Placer County for a tournament that took place on November 7 and 8. Officials said the tournament took place indoors, with players in close contact. Following the tournament, 33 of the 37 players and all three coaches from the Santa Clara County teams tested positive. As of Friday, the outbreak has infected 39 youth players, three coaches and 35 additional contacts in Santa Clara County, health officials said. An additional 17 cases have been found in other counties so far. “Public Health orders, directives, and guidance around contact sports and sporting events are in place for a reason. The risk of transmission in these settings can easily result in community spread that threatens the most vulnerable among us,” said Dr. Monika Roy, the county’s assistant public health officer. Read More

Oracle Moves Headquarters To Texas, Latest To Relocate During COVID-19 Pandemic
REDWOOD CITY — Longtime Bay Area software giant Oracle announced Friday that it has moved its headquarters to Texas, becoming the latest Silicon Valley firm to relocate during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a regulatory filing obtained by Bloomberg, the company based in Redwood City will be headquartered in Austin. In the filing, the software company said the move “means that many of our employees can choose their office location as well as continue to work from home part time or all of the time.” Oracle said it would continue to support other office locations throughout the country, including in California. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott celebrated the move, saying in a tweet that his state “is truly the land of business, jobs and opportunity.” Read More

Hospitals Across California Prepare To Get First Doses
SAN FRANCISCO — As California reported a record of nearly 35,500 positive coronavirus cases on Friday, there’s a glimmer of hope: The state is awaiting the first batch of coronavirus vaccine and plans to distribute it to hospitals to inoculate healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic. The state expects to receive 327,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine by early next week. Counties will have specific allotments that will be distributed to hospitals that have adequate storage capacity and the ability to vaccinate people quickly Among the Bay Area allotments, San Francisco is expected to receive 12,000 doses in its first allocation, while Santa Clara County is expected to receive 17,000. The doses will arrive in a state grappling with a spiraling number of COVID-19 cases, soaring hospitalizations and record death counts. To buy time, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has placed much of the state on a stay-at-home order due to dwindling intensive care unit capacity. Read More

San Jose Church Leaders Warn Congregants To Celebrate Our Lady Of Guadalupe At Home
SAN JOSE — Church leaders in Santa Clara County on Friday passed a message along to South Bay congregations, asking them to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe Day at home. Health officials in Santa Clara County are urging residents to stay committed to health orders as ICU capacity at South Bay hospitals continues to shrink. The warning comes ahead of a religious holiday that typically attracts thousands to local Catholic churches. Our Lady Of Guadalupe Church on East San Antonio Street in San Jose normally sees 10,000 visitors over the course of the two days of observance. This year, church officials have canceled all events and are urging everyone to stay home. Feast Day 2020 in the South Bay is shaping to be unlike any other, and not in a good way. Read More

Besieged San Francisco Bay Area County Launches Door-to-Door Coronavirus Testing Program
SAN JOSE –To help curtail the surge in COVID-19 cases, Santa Clara County has ramped up its testing effort, including sending out teams door-to-door to administer coronavirus tests. The county Public Health Department said Thursday the teams will focus first in East San Jose where 55% of the population is Latino and where many do not have the ability or means to get tested. Santa Clara County is partnering with neighborhood health workers known as promotoras to hand out tests in hard hit areas of East San Jose where language barriers and fear have stood in the way of testing access. “Going door to door, the promotoras will offer self-administered COVID testing to individuals in the household,” explained Dr. Analilia Garcia, Racial & Health Equity Director for Santa Clara County. “The plan is to canvass the area before arriving,” Garcia went on to say. “So families know to expect us, and that this is a legitimate service.” Read More

Other Trending Bay Area COVID Stories

San Francisco’s Latinx Population Continues To See Higher Case Rates
SAN FRANCISCO — The Latinx population of San Francisco continues to face higher positivity rates of COVID-19, especially among low-income and essential workers, according to a testing survey conducted in late November. The Unidos en Salud/United in Health initiative, organized by the University of California at San Francisco, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the Latino Task Force for COVID-19 and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, tested nearly 7,000 residents in the Mission District and the Bayview, Excelsior and Tenderloin neighborhoods before and after Thanksgiving. Test samples were collected Nov. 22-24 and Nov. 29-Dec. 1 through door-to-door canvassing by the LTF, according to UCSF. The four neighborhoods were chosen for their high case numbers relative to the rest of the city. Of those tested, 4.4 percent were positive for the virus, higher than the city’s seven-day average 2.9 positivity rate as of Wednesday. In addition, 79 percent of those who tested positive were Latinx despite just over half of those tested being Latinx. Read More

Sonoma County Prepares for Stay-Home Order Beginning Saturday
PETALUMA — Sonoma County is now joining five other Bay Area counties in imposing the stay-at-home order which will start Saturday just after midnight. Businesses are bracing for the next round of closures. Many of the business owners in Petaluma say they saw this coming. Starting Saturday, there will be no more outdoor dining and people will have to stay home for anything but essential activities. “Initially like anything else, you’re like ‘oh geez, not again!’” said Peter White, owner of Sugo Trattoria. White is not surprised by the latest round of closures announced by the county Thursday. “We need to act now before it gets worse in Sonoma County,” said Dr. Sundari Mase, the Sonoma County public health officer. Read More

California Unemployment Claims Spike Alongside Case Rates
SAN FRANCISCO — With businesses being forced to shut down amid COVID shelter orders across the state, unemployment claims are at their highest level in months. The latest numbers show California jobless claims have risen to nearly 178,000. Some experts are saying it could take months for the economy to bounce back in the wake of the latest coronavirus surge. With unemployment numbers jumping once again after a second lockdown, former EDD director Michael Bernick told KPIX 5 there is only one way out. “We won’t see any significant uptick in hiring until the vaccine,” Bernick said. Even with the FDA greenlighting the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use Thursday and doses arriving in the Bay Area as soon as next week, the job market will remain slim. “It will be until February or March until a larger part of the California labor force will be immunized. And even then, that’s only about a third,” said Bernick. Read More