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.

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Urgent Need In Bay Area For Convalescent Plasma From Recovered Coronavirus Patients
PLEASANT HILL — As the COVID-19 surge continues to wreak havoc in hospitals in the Bay Area and across the country, the American Red Cross said it has a critical need for donated plasma, the part of the blood that contains antibodies, from those who have recovered from the virus. In particular, Red Cross officials are asking people who have tested positive for COVID-19 who are now feeling better more than two weeks after their positive test, to donate their plasma. The plasma should contain COVID-19 antibodies, which are used for a transfusion treatment that is becoming more and more effective, but only if it is administered quickly. “If the patients can get this convalescent plasma from someone that recovered from coronavirus within the first couple days of them winding up in the hospital, a lot of times they get better really fast,” said Dr. Catherine Mazzei, the medical director at the American Red Cross, Northern California Region. Read More

No San Francisco Fireworks; Twin Peaks, Beach Parking Lots Closed For NYE
SAN FRANCISCO — As health experts urge people to ring in 2021 by staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19, San Francisco officials reminded potential revelers that there will be no New Year’s fireworks display and access to some landmarks will be closed. In a joint statement, the city’s Police and Fire departments, along with the Department of Emergency Management and Sheriff’s Office, said the sanctioned fireworks celebration along the Embarcadero would not take place due to the ongoing pandemic, which has surged in recent weeks. Officials also reminded residents and visitors to the city that the sale and use of fireworks are illegal in the city With the fireworks canceled, BART will not offer extended hours and the last trains depart at 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Service on New Year’s Day begins at 8 a.m. with a Holiday / Sunday schedule in effect. Read More

New, Highly Contagious Strain Found In San Diego County
SACRAMENTO — A new and highly contagious strain of the coronavirus that has forced new shutdown orders in England has now been detected in San Diego County, health officials confirmed Wednesday. Moments before a Facebook chat with Dr. Anthony Fauci Wednesday afternoon, California Governor Gavin Newsom was told the strain had been detected among those being tested for the virus in Southern California. “Just an hour or so ago, we were informed that this new variant, this new strain, that we have identified from the United Kingdom and some other parts of the globe, identified in Colorado yesterday, has been identified here in the state of California in Southern California,” Newsom said. Read More

Airbnb Tries To Discourage New Year’s Eve Parties Amid Pandemic
SAN FRANCISCO — Bay Area based Airbnb is taking new steps to keep large groups from ringing in the new year at vacation rentals by discouraging house parties. From coast to coast, authorities have been targeting people who choose to celebrate regardless of the pandemic, throwing so-called “COVID parties.” In Los Angeles, hundreds packed a vacation rental for an illegal house party. “It is frustrating and a little bit scary,” said Southern California Airbnb host Cy Pilkington, who has four vacation rentals near San Diego listed on the platform. His properties are booked for new years eve. He said he has made it clear parties are not allowed. Read More

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Newsom Unveils $2 Billion Program To Return To In-Class Learning
SACRAMENTO — California is rolling out a $2 billion-plan to return elementary school students to in-class learning by February which involves investments in PPE, ventilation and frequent COVID testing for students, teachers and staff members. Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday unveiled the “Safe Schools for All” plan which targets transitional kindergarten through second grade. The phased approach would also prioritize vulnerable communities and other students with special needs and retain a distanced learning option for families who choose it. Per the plan, other elementary school students start returning by March. But the schedule is subject to collective bargaining agreements between school districts and labor unions. “We’re confident in our ability to move through the pandemic and the challenges in front of us, particularly in the next 30 to 60 days,” said Newsom. “But we’re really looking at the Spring. Beginning in February or March — where are we going to be?” Read More

: McConnell Dashes Hopes For $2,000 Coronavirus Stimulus Checks
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday again rebuffed a push for the Senate to take up a bill increasing coronavirus relief checks to Americans from $600 to $2,000, saying instead that the increased direct payments would remain linked with nixing a legal shield for internet companies and creating a commission to examine election integrity. “Here is the deal,” McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor. “The Senate is not going to split apart the three issues that President Trump linked together just because Democrats are afraid to address two of them.” The Senate, the Kentucky Republican continued, “is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of Democrats’ rich friends who don’t need the help.” Read More

Stanford Gives COVID Vaccine To Non-Frontline Staff, Researchers In New Distribution Snafu
STANFORD — Stanford University is facing a new round of criticism over its handling of the COVID vaccine rollout after non-clinical and non-frontline staff and researchers were reportedly able to receive the vaccine following miscommunication about a purported excess of supply vaccines available. The Stanford Daily reported the non-clinical staff received the vaccine last weekend at Stanford Hospital atrium on a walk-in basis, though it was unclear how many. Hospital affiliates had mistakenly shared information on email and social media that Stanford Medicine had an “excess” supply of vaccinations and that faculty and students could walk in and receive vaccines, according to the report. Read More

Seniors, Staff At Walnut Creek Nursing Home Receive First Shot
WALNUT CREEK — One East Bay nursing home took a big step forward in the fight against the coronavirus Tuesday as residents and staff at a Walnut Creek facility received their first COVID vaccinations. The first dose of the vaccine was being administered to seniors at Viamonte in Walnut Creek. It is one of the first senior living facilities in the Bay Area to roll out the vaccines to all residents. The priority was to get front-line health care workers vaccinated first, then move on to seniors who are in these types of community living situations. Health care experts say they’re particularly at risk due to the fact that they can have severe complications from contracting COVID. Read More

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Sonoma County Reporting Increase in Cases at Jail
SANTA ROSA — Sonoma County officials said Tuesday they’re looking to change policies for new intaking inmates, which will hopefully stem an increase in COVID-19 cases at the county’s main jail. There have been 28 positive COVID-19 cases at the Main Adult Detention Facility on Ventura Avenue in Santa Rosa, with 11 inmates and two employees currently positive for the virus, according to county officials.
Most of the inmates who tested positive did so when they arrived at the jail, and county officials said their policy of testing and quarantining new inmates has been successful in reducing the likelihood of the virus spreading within the facility. The wearing of masks is mandatory by inmates and staff, and the county sheriff’s office has reduced interactions between inmates and also reduced visitation by people from outside the jail. Read More