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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Bay Area ICU Capacity Tumbles To 0.7%; Stay-At-Home Order To Be Extended
SACRAMENTO — Hopes that the Bay Area might move out of the current COVID stay-at-home order were dealt a reality check Monday after Governor Gavin Newsom announced the region’s ICU capacity had tumbled to a new low at 0.7%. During his Monday news conference to provide an update on California’s COVID-19 pandemic response, Newsom said state Health and Human Services Director Dr. Mark Ghaly would likely announce the continuation of the Bay Area’s stay-at-home order on Tuesday. “Based upon ICU capacity currently, unless those projections are radically different, we can expect that stay-at-home to continue,” said Newsom. As of Monday, California has 2,710,801 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 29,965 deaths, according to the state’s COVID dashboard. Other data from Johns Hopkins University showed the state topping 30,000 deaths. Read More

California EDD, Bank of America At Odds Over Resolving Fraud Victims’ Claims
SAN FRANCISCO — Despite assurances from California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) and Bank of America that they are working together to fight fraud, emails between EDD and Bank of America obtained by KPIX 5 show the two are not on the same page. As KPIX 5 first exposed in the fall, fraudsters are stealing thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits from EDD debit cards issued exclusively by Bank of America. But the bank is denying victims’ claims. “In the last week I’ve taken about 250 of these calls,” said an EDD call center employee who spoke to KPIX 5 after seeing our reports about the brazen hacks of EDD debit cards. We exposed how hackers are stealing identities of EDD claimants on the dark web, duplicating their cards and security pins, then stealing thousands of dollars in cash at ATMs far away from where the victims live. “I am having claimants that have had their debit cards used in New York, Vegas,” said the EDD employee, who chose to remain anonymous. Read More

Newsom: Gorillas At San Diego Zoo Test Positive For COVID-19
SACRAMENTO — Amid a growing surge of COVID-19 human infections across the state, two gorillas at the San Diego Zoo have also tested positive for the virus, Gov. Gavin Newson said Monday. A third gorilla was also displaying symptoms of the disease. “We are currently confirming the source of the infection and the strain,” Newsom said. “There is some question did it come human to animal. That’s being determined and one has to respect that process and the adjudication of facts. But none-the-less, it’s an area that’s long been of concern human to animal transmission but our beloved gorillas obviously we are concerned about.” The governor said more information would be released as zoo officials further investigation how the animals may have been exposed to the illness. The park’s executive director, Lisa Peterson, told The Associated Press on Monday that eight gorillas that live together at the park are believed to have the virus and several have been coughing. Read More

UC Campuses Plan To Resume In-Person Classes For Fall 2021 Semester
BERKELEY — The University of California announced Monday that it is planning for in-person classes to resume during the fall 2021 semester at all 10 of its campuses. UC officials credited the widening availability of coronavirus vaccine doses for students, staff and faculty as the driving force behind announcing plans to reopen. UC President Dr. Michael Drake made the announcement Monday morning.
“As the University continues to monitor the evolution of the pandemic, we are also carefully planning a safe return to in-person classes,” Dr. Drake said in the announcement. “Current forecasts give us hope that in the fall our students can enjoy a more normal on-campus experience.” Read More

Zuckerberg SF General At ‘Level Red’ As COVID Patient Numbers Reach Record Levels
SAN FRANCISCO — Fewer than one percent of ICU beds are available across the Bay Area and health officials fear we haven’t seen the full effects from the holiday surge. As of Monday night, 63 COVID-19 patients are inside Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, 13 of those in the critical care unit. “This is our third surge, these are the highest numbers we’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Dr. Lukejohn Day, Chief Medical Officer for Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. These new numbers have pushed the hospital to ‘surge level red,’ meaning PACUs, those recovery rooms you go into post-surgery while coming out of anesthesia, are now COVID wards. The problem is that COVID-19 patients are typically hospitalized for a long time, filling up capacity. Read More

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Powerful Ultra Violet Lights Installed On SMART Trains To Kill Coronavirus
SAN JOSE — Remember those black lights you used in college? Now, Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) is using its medical grade cousin to help make the trains safer. Out of sight, in the overhead compartment, is what SMART believes is the latest weapon against COVID, a battery of powerful ultra violet lights located next to the new filter system. Husani Longstreet is Superintendent of Vehicle Maintenance. “Anything that comes through the filters will go through the lamps and from there it will be killed,” said Longstreet. These special high-powered UV tubes come in several different frequencies, thus each appears in a different color, looking more like light sabers. According to SMART Communications and Marketing Manager Matt Stevens, they will kill several different kinds of pathogens, not just COVID-19. Read More

New Bakery Next To City Hall A Ray Of Hope For Downtown San Jose
SAN JOSE — A new business next to San Jose City Hall just opened and is causing a lot of excitement. It’s not some giant tech company bringing millions of dollars in tax revenue. It’s just a bakery, but it’s offering something that’s also in short supply — hope. Look on just about any block and you see it. “All these closed buildings, it’s sad… just sad,” said Pauline Zanger, visiting San Jose from her home in Hollister. But Monday, there was something making people happy — the Grand Opening of Jamie Whitmire’s Holy Cannoli Café. The phone had been ringing off the hook. “I’m in the middle of my Grand Opening. It’s day one and it’s lunchtime and we’re super slammed…” Whitmore explained to a customer trying to place a Valentine’s Day order on opening day. Read More

San Mateo County Opens Drive-Thru Clinic At Event Center For Health Workers, Vulnerable Residents
SAN MATEO — Starting Monday, San Mateo County is offering a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic for eligible health care workers and vulnerable residents. The clinic — which uses the Moderna vaccine — opened at 1 p.m. at the San Mateo County Event Center at 1346 Saratoga Drive in San Mateo. The line of cars stretched around the facility and was a shot of relief for so many who work in health care. “ Hallelujah,” said Greg Loomis who is dentist. He got word from the San Mateo Dental society just yesterday he is eligible to get vaccinated. “I can’t wait to get the vaccination and I think we are on to a good start here.” Mary Hoffman is a dental hygienist in Menlo Park. She got vaccinated on Monday. “I can breathe a sigh of relief and feel a little more comfortable working on unmasked patients.” Read More

Oakland Coliseum, Levi’s Stadium To Host Drive-Through Vaccination Site
OAKLAND — California health officials will use sports stadiums as locales for mass COVID vaccinations, including Levi’s Stadium and the Oakland Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics and state and local public health officials were in discussions to launch a vaccination site at the Coliseum, a spokesperson for the team confirmed Monday. According to Catherine Aker, a senior communications official with the team, the A’s and Alameda County public health officials are planning on launching the drive-thru vaccination site at the Coliseum’s parking lot. The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority is expected to vote on establishing the vaccination site during its meeting Friday morning. Read More

Santa Clara County Supes Call For More Transparency With Vaccination Info
SAN JOSE — Two Santa Clara County supervisors on Monday proposed an emergency ordinance that would require every hospital and clinic in the county to produce a written plan and timeline for vaccine distribution. COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Santa Clara County has not gone as smoothly as some county officials have hoped, with less than half of the county’s allotted vaccines being administered. Many residents are uncertain on when, where and how they can get it. The new ordinance presented by board president Cindy Chavez and Supervisor Joe Simitian would hopefully increase the speed of the vaccine’s distribution. “We need speed, we need clarity, and we need transparency,” Chavez said. “And on top of that we need a very rigorous communication framework so that everyone knows when to expect it’s their turn [for the vaccine].” Read More

Mother Of 6 Dies From Coronavirus Days After Giving Birth
LOS ANGELES — A Southern California family is dealing with extraordinary loss after a mother-of-six died from coronavirus complications just days after giving birth. Thirty-seven-year-old Veronica Guevara-Giron died on Thursday shortly after testing positive for COVID-19 while she was eight months pregnant with her youngest daughter. “She started saying that she couldn’t breathe, she developed a cough that couldn’t go away, so they ended up taking her to the hospital,” her sister-in-law Nathalia Giron told CBSLA. After fighting for more than a week, with just oxygen, doctors delivered Imani five weeks early, rushing the newborn to the NICU before her mother even got to hold her. A day later, Guevara-Giron was placed on a ventilator and never got taken off. “They called her husband and said she wasn’t getting any better, that he could come see her,” Giron said. Read More

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California Virus Deaths Top 30,000 After Pandemic’s Deadliest Weekend
SACRAMENTO — California’s coronavirus catastrophe reached a staggering new level Monday as Johns Hopkins University data showed the nation’s most populous state has recorded more than 30,000 deaths since the pandemic started nearly a year ago. Deaths have exploded since a COVID-19 surge began in October. It took California six months to record its first 10,000 deaths. But in barely a month, the total rose from 20,000 to 30,000. Over the weekend, state officials reported a two-day record of 1,163 deaths. Hospitalizations also have exploded and many hospitals are stretched to the limit. California ranks third nationally in coronavirus deaths, behind Texas and New York, which is in the No. 1 position with nearly 40,000. Health officials have warned the worst is yet to come later this month, when there’s full picture on infections from the holidays. Read More