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.

Struggling SF Chinatown Businesses Ask Mayor Breed for Relief
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Chinatown small businesses have been hit extremely hard during this pandemic and they’re asking the mayor for help. A week before Christmas, the storefronts are nearly empty and businesses are struggling. They’re asking for a relief package they feel is desperately needed. David Ho is pretty much a one-man band these days at Sam Wo restaurant which has been serving up steamy, stir-fried dishes since 1908. “It used to be busy but now it’s very quiet,” Ho said. “Mr. Ho is the main cook the whole day and when we have deliveries he’ll take the 50-pound bag of rice — he’s doing it all on his own,” said Stephen Lee. Earlier this year, the owners quickly used up its Paycheck Protection Program loan and they say getting extra help from the city has been difficult. Read More

Apple Temporarily Closes All Its California Stores as Pandemic Worsens
CUPERTINO — Cupertino-based Apple has temporarily closed all of their retail stores in California amid the pandemic. According to the Apple website the 53 stores statewide are temporarily closed. Customers with pre-scheduled appointments for in-store pickups, Genius Bar appointments and previously reserved one-on-one shopping sessions with a specialist will be able to visit stores through Tuesday. All online services are available and most Apple products are available at Apple-authorized retailers, such as Best Buy, Costco and Target.
Apple did not immediately return e-mails seeking comment Saturday. Read More

COVID Surge Forces CFP Semifinal To Be Moved From Rose Bowl To Texas
LOS ANGELES — The College Football Playoff semifinal scheduled to be played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Jan. 1 is relocating to the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium in Texas, a move prompted by California’s ban on spectators at sporting events during the pandemic. College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said Saturday night that conference commissioners who make up the CFP management committee and the Tournament of Roses mutually agreed to relocate the game because of the “growing number of COVID-19 cases in Southern California.” “The game in Dallas will still be played in the mid-afternoon window on New Year’s Day,” Hancock said in a statement. “We are pleased that parents and loved ones will now be able to see their students play in the game.” The decision, announced about 13 1/2 hours before the playoff field was scheduled to be set Sunday, is just the latest twist during a college football season played through myriad COVID-19 disruptions. The Rose Bowl, know as the Granddaddy of all college football’s postseason games, has been played every year since 1916. Read More

San Jose Sharks Appear Ready To Join 49ers In Exodus To Arizona
SAN JOSE — The NHL is preparing for a pandemic-altered regular season limited to divisional play while trying to determine if the league’s seven Canadian teams will be allowed to play in their country. Taxi squads also are coming back as part of a tentative return-to-play plan reached Friday, and at least one team won’t be opening its season at home. The San Jose Sharks will open training camp and start the regular season in Arizona, a person with knowledge of discussions told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday because details of the plan haven’t been made public. The deal has already received support from the NHL Players’ Association, and features a 56-game regular season beginning Jan. 13. Training camps for the seven teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season would open Dec. 31, with the remaining 24 teams opening camps Jan. 3. Read More

Staggering Surge In Drug Overdose Deaths Far Outpacing COVID-19 Fatalities In San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO — A record 621 people died of drug overdoses in San Francisco so far this year, a staggering number that far outpaces the 173 deaths from COVID-19 the city has seen thus far. The crisis fueled by the powerful painkiller fentanyl could have been far worse if it wasn’t for the nearly 3,000 times Narcan was used from January to the beginning of November to save someone from the brink of death, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday. The data reflects the number of times people report using Narcan to the Drug Overdose Prevention and Education Project, a city-funded program that coordinates San Francisco’s response to overdose, or return to refill their supply. Officials at the DOPE Project said that since the numbers are self-reported, they are probably a major undercount. Last year, 441 people died of drug overdoses—a 70% increase from 2018—and 2,610 potential overdoses were prevented by Narcan, a medication commonly sprayed up the nose to reverse an opioid overdose, according to data from the city Medical Examiner’s office and the DOPE Project. Read More

Other Weekend Bay Area COVID Stories

Travelers Arriving At SFO Learn About San Francisco’s Mandatory Quarantine Order
SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT — Travelers visiting San Francisco and residents returning to the city on Friday faced strict new guidelines for the mandatory quarantine order that just went into effect. KPIX 5 spoke to some travelers who found out about the new rules just after they landed. The timing of the new 10-day quarantine order for travelers is no accident. Christmas is a week away, and health officials know people are going to be coming into the city even though they’ve been told to stay home. The only notifications about the quarantine at the San Francisco International Airport came in the form of PA announcements played about once every 30 minutes and digital signs displayed at baggage claim. Read More

Plan to Return San Francisco Students to Classrooms in January Nixed by School District
SAN FRANCISCO — Plans for some kids to return to school in San Francisco have hit another roadblock and now some parents are left wondering if their kids will see the inside of a classroom at all this school year. The goal was to start reopening schools on January 25 but, according to the district, it just can’t meet the latest round of demands from the teachers union. Mayor London Breed weighed in Friday with some heavy criticism of the latest stalemate between the teachers union and the school district. “The people who are suffering are our children because we can’t get grownup business together to do what’s best for their interests,” Mayor Breed said. “Protecting people’s lives against this virus has to be paramount and it has been and we have been conservative but we should already have a plan in place as soon as time presents itself to open the doors,” the mayor added. The San Francisco Unified School District says labor unions have proposed significant new requests that go beyond Department of Public Health guidance. One calls for San Francisco to hold back from in-person learning until the city has been in the orange tier for two weeks. Some parents are frustrated at how the demands keep changing. Read More

Stanford Medicine Staff Say Residents, Fellows Passed Over for First COVID-19 Vaccinations
PALO ALTO — On the same day the FDA granted emergency approval for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, disputes are breaking out over who should be prioritized. Stanford Medicine doctors and nurses protested Friday over the distribution of coronavirus vaccinations to frontline workers. Protesters said vaccines have not been given to some doctors who are in close contact with coronavirus patients. Stanford Medical Center was scheduled to start vaccinating frontline health care workers Friday morning with the 5,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine already on hand. More than 100 doctors staged a demonstration Friday morning, saying the way Stanford Medicine is prioritizing who gets those doses doesn’t make sense. “First in the room, back of the line!” That’s what the residents and fellows were chanting as they demonstrated at Stanford. They said that, even though they’re the ones who are taking care of COVID patients, they are not included in the first round of vaccinations. Read More

Oakland Nurse, Coronavirus Victim, Remembered For Her Work Helping People And Dogs
OAKLAND — A beloved Oakland nurse who worked at Highland Hospital for more than 30 years and had a passion for saving more than one kind of life is being mourned after she died of COVID. When away from the hospital, Valerie Louie spent much of her time volunteering at Rocket Dog Rescue in Oakland, helping rescue dogs to give them a second chance. Her friends say she saved thousands of dogs during her lifetime and brought them joy. She spent most of her days and nights working as a nurse for over three decades. “I knew she worked until 10 or 11 o’clock at night. We would be out looking for a dog that was missing and here she would come,” said Rocket Dog Urban Sanctuary volunteer and friend Tammy Hilrich. Read More

Models Plot Dire Scenarios For California Hospitals In Coming Weeks
SACRAMENTO — When Gov. Gavin Newsom provided a dire view of California’s out-of-control surge of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations at his weekly COVID-19 briefing, he referred to projection models of future death and misery that he said were becoming “alarmingly” more accurate. If true, then over the next four weeks the state’s hospitals could be overflowing with 75,000 patients — about five times the current level — and an average of 400 people will die every day. Hospitals were on the brink of being overrun with nearly 15,000 patients with COVID-19 when Newsom made the announcement Tuesday. The hospitalization projection is based on cases continuing to increase at the current rate of infection without people taking additional precautions to prevent spreading the virus. At that trajectory, it doesn’t take long before the state is in a very bad place, said Marm Kilpatrick, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Read More