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.


Stay-At-Home Order Extended After Bay Area ICU Capacity Drops To 3 Percent
SAN JOSE — California health officials provided an update Friday afternoon on the state’s ICU capacity, confirming the Bay Area had dropped to its lowest level yet and would remain under the current stay-at-home order until capacity improves. As of Friday, four regions — San Joaquin Valley, Southern California, Greater Sacramento and the Bay Area — remained under the Regional Stay at Home Order due to the ICU capacity of each respective region. While both the an Joaquin Valley and Southern California regions remain at zero percent capacity, the Bay Area region dropped to only 3% and the Greater Sacramento region was at 6.4%. Only the Northern California region remained above the state’s 15% ICU capacity threshold for the regional stay-at-home order “At this time, the Bay Area remains under the Regional Stay at Home Order,” the release issued by the California Department of Public Health said. “The state will assess the region’s ICU projections in the coming days and announce a formal decision on whether Bay Area meets criteria to exit the order.” Read More

Sonoma County Prepares For Worst With ‘Mobile Morgue’ Trailer
SANTA ROSA — As deaths from COVID-19 have hit a new record of 4,000 a day in the United States Friday, Sonoma County is preparing for a possible increase in coronavirus casualties. In the past week alone, there were 22 new deaths in Sonoma County attributed to COVID-19. That is more than twice the fatalities compared to the last surge over the summer when the average death toll for a week was 10 people. Last weekend, a refrigerated trailer from the California Office of Emergency Services was delivered to the coroner’s office. County officials are hopeful they won’t have to use the so-called “mobile morgue,” but it is available if things get more dire in Sonoma and the surrounding North Bay counties. “In reality. it is a gut check to anybody and everybody in the county that this thing is serious. And we just want people to regulate themselves,” Juan Valencia of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office told KPIX 5. Read More

Newsom Budget Targets Post-Pandemic Economic Revival
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his latest proposed budget Friday for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, with an estimated $4.5 billion earmarked to help the state’s economy recover once the COVID-19 pandemic fades. At a press conference Friday morning where he unveiled his new budget, Newsom described how it addresses problems that came to light this past year during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our budget reflects the realities of this recession, this pandemic-induced reality, Newsom said. “Those pre-existing conditions around race and ethnicity, pre-existing conditions around wealth disparities and income disparities — obviously they’ve come to the fore and they must be addressed. I want folks to know that our budget reflects an understanding of those realities, and an intentionality in addressing those realities.” Newsom noted that the budget provides economic support in the wake of the pandemic, but also directs resources to other problems that arose over the past year. Read More

Health Officials Must Speed Up Slow Rollout In Santa Clara Co. For Herd Immunity
SAN JOSE — Santa Clara County health officials have given out fewer than 50,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since the first shipments arrived nearly a month ago. At the current pace, it would be mid-September 2023 before the county’s nearly two-million residents would receive a vaccine. Public health officials had hoped a rapid distribution of the vaccine would begin to slow the spread the virus that’s raging across the Bay Area. “All of the vaccine is not in the arm’s of everyone. But they’re all working very hard,” says Dr. Marty Fenstersheib with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. Santa Clara County has on average, administered just under 2000 doses of the vaccine a day since the initial shipments were first received on December 15. Dr. Sara Cody says upwards of 85 percent of the county’s population would need to be vaccinated to achieve so-called herd immunity. Read More

Pandemic Ravaged San Francisco Small Businesses Hit With Burglaries and Vandalism
SAN FRANCISCO — Vandals, thieves and burglars have been preying upon financially strapped small businesses in San Francisco’s Richmond District since last October. K-Elements BBQ shared surveillance video with KPIX 5 which shows a man on a bicycle pulling up outside the boarded up dining platform on Clement Street. He stops and looks around several times before tagging the plywood. This happened in the evening the day after Christmas, and it’s happened about eight times since the city’s first COVID Shelter-in-Place was issued. “Definitely sad, because as a small business owner right now, we literally don’t have anymore income coming in,” said K-Elements BBQ Co-Owner Tony Lau. “The business is shutting down, we are not able to open, and now with this extra expense, it’s definitely harsh for us.” Co-Owners Lau and Alfred Lee say they’ve spent hundreds of dollars painting over graffiti. They recently spent Thanksgiving day cleaning up the mess left behind with their families. Read More

Doctors Make Medical Breakthrough In Treating Severe Cases Of COVID
MIAMI — Doctors in South Florida say an experimental treatment involving stem cells has been incredibly successful in treating severe cases of COVID. The study involved patients at Jackson Memorial Hospital and at the University Miami Tower. Many of them had acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). “I think this could be a turning point,” said   Dr. Camillo Ricordi, director of the Cell Transplant Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. According to Ricordi, the groundbreaking treatment uses stem cells from a baby’s umbilical cord. The treatment has shown to safely reduce the risk of death and has made recovery time faster for some of the most ill patients. Read More

Oakland Restaurant Week Expands to Include Local Businesses Struggling Amid Pandemic
OAKLAND — It’s Restaurant Week in Oakland but this year it’s unlike any other. For businesses that are struggling to survive, the event is more like a lifeline to keep their doors open. There are about 55 restaurants in Oakland taking part in Restaurant Week. Home of Chicken and Waffles is one of them. Normally during this event, restaurants would be packed. Instead, all meals are being served to go. This year, the annual event is called Restaurant and More Week to include other businesses that need a helping hand during the pandemic. “We wanted to convey the message that Oakland is resilient, Oakland is open and we wanted to send a message of ‘we,'” said Jean Paul Zapata with Visit Oakland. Just driving around the Embarcadero in Oakland, the devastating impact of the pandemic can be seen as many businesses have closed their doors. Read More

Golden Gate Fields To Re-Open After Outbreak
ALBANY — Golden Gate Fields plans to reopen for live racing on Jan. 15 after being closed for over a month due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Track owner 1/ST Racing said Friday that after extensive testing, the COVID-19 outbreak at the San Francisco Bay area track has decreased to levels that allow for live racing. Owners won’t be allowed to attend training or racing sessions as the winter meet begins, the track said. Initially, the track was closed for a week in November to address the issue and then the closure was extended through December. Golden Gate Fields’ stable area houses 1,300 horses. Read More

Surging COVID Cases Forces State To Bypass Tough Nurse Care Rules
SAN FRANCISCO — Nerissa Black was already having a hard time tending to four COVID-19 patients who need constant heart monitoring. But because of staffing shortages affecting hospitals throughout California, her workload recently increased to six people infected with the coronavirus. Black, a registered nurse at the telemetry cardiac unit of the Henry Mayo Hospital in Valencia, just north of Los Angeles, barely has time to take a break or eat a meal. But what really worries her is not having enough time to spend with each of her patients. Black said she rarely has time to help patients brush their teeth or go to the bathroom because she must prioritize making sure they get the medicine they need and don’t develop bedsores. “We have had more patients falling (in December) compared to last year because we don’t have enough staff to take care of everybody,” Black said. Read More

Monterey Superior Court Orders Cafe Shut Down After Multiple Face Mask Violations
MONTEREY — The City of Monterey’s Aloha Coffee and Cafe and its owner have received a temporary restraining order to close shop after repeated COVID-19 safety violations, Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni announced on Thursday. The order requires the owner, Richard Dunnuck, to close the business until he obtains a valid food service permit as well as complies with the state’s Regional Stay at Home Order and face-covering orders. Dunnuck lost his food service permit in early December after he, his employees and customers violated the face-covering requirements on multiple occasions, Deputy District Attorney Emily Hickok said. “The county tried education. Health inspectors came to their restaurant multiple times to inform them on their violations, but it didn’t work,” Hickok said. “So, they sent paperwork that their permit was in jeopardy if they didn’t comply and they still didn’t.” County records show that the cafe was visited five times by health inspectors before the permit was revoked through an administrative hearing order. Read More

Kaiser San Jose Issued Health Order Violation Over Reporting Outbreak
SAN JOSE — Kaiser Permanente’s San Jose Medical Center has been slapped with a public health order violation related to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the emergency room which has now totaled 60 cases and one death. According to a statement from Santa Clara County, a Notice of Violation of Health Officer Order was issued on January 5 because of Kaiser’s failure to timely report the original 43 cases involving staffers who tested positive between December 27, 2020 and January 1. According to the county’s public health order, employers are legally required to submit information about confirmed positive cases and close contacts within four hours after learning about the positive cases. “Kaiser Permanente failed to report any of these cases in the County’s Worksite Case and Contact Reporting Portal as it is required to do by the Public Health Order issued on Oct. 5,” read a statement by the county. Read More

UCSF Health Expert Proposes Distributing COVID-19 Vaccine by Lottery
SAN FRANCISCO — Distributing the COVID-19 vaccine is proving to be more complicated than first believed. In California, the vaccine supply is limited, a more contagious strain found in Los Angeles is spreading and interest groups are pushing to be next in line to roll up their sleeves. The system feels chaotic and the potential to sow distrust is growing. UCSF Dept. of Medicine chairman Dr. Bob Wachter said California should consider a lottery system as a more equitable way to coordinate coronavirus vaccinations. “It stresses the system and it’s contentious. Everything about COVID has been contentious,” Dr. Wachter said. Just over 1 percent of Californians have been vaccinated and Dr. Wachter is concerned the system of delivering the vaccine may be overly complicated. Read More