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.

READ MORE: Woman Arrested For Anti-Asian Attacks In Mountain View

Bay Area Stay-At-Home Order Remains For Now; Post-Holiday Surge May Be Less Severe
SACRAMENTO — California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly on Tuesday announced the stay-at-home order for most of the state would remain in place as ICU capacity is still at or near zero in the affected regions. On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom indicated the stay-at-home orders would likely remain in place in the Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California regions. Northern California is the only one of the five state hospital regions avoiding the order. Ghaly said for now, the orders would remain but that health officials were still running the numbers on ICU projections for all the regions and there could be updates later Tuesday or by Wednesday. “We are actively calculating some of the information from the last 24 hours and may be updating you in the next hours and certainly by tomorrow if any one of these regions does indeed emerge out of that regional stay-at-home order,” said Ghaly. Read More

Alameda County’s COVID-19 Holiday Surge May Be Stabilizing; ‘ We Might Be Through The Worst’
OAKLAND — There was some hopeful news Tuesday from Alameda County’s health officer — COVID-19 case rates rose after the holidays but may be stabilizing. Speaking to the Board of Supervisors at their regular meeting, Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said the unadjusted case rate in the county was 35.5 per 100,000. The number of new cases in the county has dropped in recent days from a high 1,296 on Thursday to 413 on Monday, according to the county’s dashboard.”We might be through the worst,” Moss said. Still, stay-at-home orders remain in place for the county, region and state and it’s unclear when they will be lifted. Read More

CDC Expands Negative COVID-19 Test Requirement To All Air Travelers Entering U.S.
WASHINGTON — Health officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday announced plans to expand the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all air passengers entering the United States starting later this month. “Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19,” the release issued by the CDC read. “This strategy is consistent with the current phase of the pandemic and more efficiently protects the health of Americans.” ALSO READ: CDC Anaphylaxis Study Reveals Individuals Most At-Risk For Allergic Reaction The announcement noted that variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were still emerging in countries across the globe, with at least one variant showing evidence of increased transmissibility. “With the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public,” the CDC said. Read More

San Jose Kaiser Outbreak Spreads To Patients, More Staff Members
SAN JOSE — The outbreak of COVID-19 at a Kaiser Permanente emergency room in San Jose linked to a staffer wearing an inflatable costume on Christmas has worsened, with the outbreak spreading to patients at the hospital, according to health officials. A statement from Santa Clara County Public Health said 78 staffers at Khad now tested positive, with one still needing verification of the positive test. There are now 15 patients at the hospital who have also contracted the virus, according to the statement. One emergency room employee has died because of COVID-19 complications following of the outbreak, the county said. Kaiser Permanente officials have blamed a staffer wearing an inflatable Christmas tree costume on December 25th for triggering the outbreak. Read More

Santa Clara County Faces Challenges To Meet Vaccination Goals
SAN JOSE — Health officials in the South Bay on Tuesday said they will have to work much faster to meet the state’s August 1st deadline of vaccinating most residents. Santa Clara County public health officials warn they are facing two interconnected challenges that could imperil their efforts to quickly distribute a potentially lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine: distribution capacity and supply uncertainty. “We really need to have a major focus on vaccinating the people who are at highest risk,” said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib. “That will make the biggest impact on preventing serious illness and death in out community.” Public health officials acknowledged in a Tuesday update provided to county supervisors that the rollout of the vaccine has been far slower than they anticipated or hoped. So far, roughly 52,000 people have received their initial dose of the vaccine — fewer than 2,000 a day on average. Read More

SF Lawmaker Urges Mass Vaccination Sites In Stadiums To Speed Up Slow Rollout
SAN FRANCISCO — When do you get your two doses of COVID-19 vaccine in San Francisco, where and how do you sign up? Those are questions District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney wants answered. He says he and his constituents are getting the runaround. “When they go to their private provider, like Kaiser, what they’re being told is you should talk to the county, so there’s this ridiculous merry-go-round happening with one of the most important life or death responsibilities that a government has ever had in the history of this city,” Haney said Tuesday. He says San Francisco is shirking responsibility by punting vaccine distribution to private providers and wants to see a website to sign up, as well as mass vaccination sites all around the city. “We certainly took a different approach when it came to testing, where we had testing sites all over the city, there was a centralized place where you could get an appointment regardless of insurance status,” said Haney. “We have to do the same thing with vaccines and we have to do it right now.” Read More

READ MORE: Social Housing May Be A Fix For San Francisco's Housing Affordability Crisis

Bay Area Doctors Sign Letter Calling For California Schools To Reopen Feb. 1
SAN FRANCISCO — A group of Bay Area doctors are calling for California schools to reopen as soon as possible. ”We have a proposal put through for a March 1 opening, and we have Gavin Newsom advocating for kindergarten through sixth grade to go back to school in February,” says UCSF Dr. Jeanne Noble. “Frankly, those both fall short.” Noble is a Professor of Emergency Medicine, and just one of the thirty UCSF health care professionals – from infectious disease experts to adolescent health specialists – calling for a reopening of California schools as soon as February 1. They say 10 months of lost learning and the mounting social isolation caused by the closures outweighs the risk posed by reopening. “They are suffering,” Noble says. “There are a lot of real measurable detrimental impacts from school closure that, in general, have not received nearly the amount of attention as the COVID numbers have.” That argument runs squarely into the position of teachers’ unions. Read More

San Francisco Unveils $62M Plan To Help Small Businesses, Eyes Mass Vaccination Sites
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Tuesday announced a new $62 million plan to provide small businesses with some help amid the COVID-19 pandemic while providing an update on the city’s response to the latest surge in cases. Before discussing the new plan, Mayor Breed briefly touched on the latest COVID-19 case numbers in the city, saying that San Francisco has had a confirmed a total of about 27,000 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Currently 249 patients are hospitalized with the coronavirus and 235 people have died from COVID-19 in the city. While she noted that the spike in cases had reduced somewhat, Breed emphasized that the struggle to flatten the curve in San Francisco and the Bay Area continues. “While our cases are still higher than ever, the rate of increase isn’t as severe as we saw after Thanksgiving. This is some good news and it means hopefully people are following the health order,” said Breed. “However, we started this holiday at a more precarious point. So even a slower rate of increase is seriously concerning. Read More

Stay-At-Home Order Lifted For Greater Sacramento Region
SACRAMENTO — In a surprising turn after state health officials indicated no major changes in ICU capacity across California, the stay-at-home order was lifted for the Greater Sacramento region Tuesday. CBS13 reports that during a board of supervisors meeting Tuesday, acting County Executive Ann Edwards said the order would be lifted immediately based on ICU projections. Edwards said she was informed by state officials. Butte County also posted a press release to Facebook stating, “ICU bed capacity four-week projection exceeds 15%, ending the Regional Stay at Home Order (RSAHO), effective immediately.” Gov. Gavin Newsom also tweeted out a video message about the stay-at-home order being lifted just after 4:30 p.m. Read More

Covered California Nears 1.6 Million Enrolled As Signup Deadline Looms
SACRAMENTO — Nearly 1.6 million people have purchased health insurance through Covered California, state officials said Tuesday, a number that reflects the state’s high unemployment rate as millions of people have lost their jobs — and their employer-sponsored health coverage — during the pandemic. Altogether, nearly 200,000 more people have purchased health insurance this year compared with the same time period last year, a 14% increase. The deadline to purchase coverage is Jan. 31. “I anticipate we will end this year with more people than ever insured through Covered California, which is not great news for for people who have lost their jobs,” Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said. “They may have lost their jobs, but they don’t need to lose coverage.” Covered California’s enrollment declined three years in a row until 2020, when a new state law took effect that imposed a tax on people who don’t have health insurance. Read More

Sharks Look To Make Most Of Season-Starting Extended Road Trip
SAN JOSE — A disappointing 2019-20 season kept the San Jose Sharks out of the NHL bubble when the season restarted following the long break for the coronavirus. The Sharks are getting plenty of time in a modified bubble of their own to start this season. The Sharks have become the NHL’s vagabonds, kicked out of their home because of strict coronavirus protocols that ban contact sports and sent on a road trip that will last at least a month and possibly even longer. After spending two weeks for training camp in Arizona, where they are limited to spending time at a hotel or the practice rink, the Sharks will play at least their first eight games on the road, starting with Thursday night’s opener against the Coyotes. Coach Bob Boughner, who replaced Peter DeBoer last December as the Sharks were headed to a last-place finish in the Western Conference and their second missed playoffs in the past 16 seasons, hopes the unusual circumstances can end up being a benefit. Read More

San Francisco-Based Yelp Allowing Customers To Complain About COVID Violations
SAN FRANCISCO — As COVID cases continue to soar at an alarming rate across California, San Francisco-based Yelp has added the ability for its users to post complaints after observing coronavirus violations at businesses and restaurants. The San Francisco Bay Area and other regions of the state remain under strict restrictions as new COVID cases overwhelm local health care providers and hospitals. California’s coronavirus catastrophe reached a staggering new level on 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. Read More

MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Police Arrest Suspect After Knife-Wielding Man Flees 2-Alarm Apartment Fire In San Francisco's Castro

Sonoma County Partners With Safeway To Deliver Vaccinations To Health Care Workers
SANTA ROSA — Sonoma County has announced it has partnered with Safeway Inc. to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to county health workers. Beginning Wednesday, Safeway pharmacists will assist the county in vaccinating approximately 5,000 in-home supportive services workers. The workers will be contacted by the County Human Services Department and asked to schedule an appointment for the drive-through clinic at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds to receive a Moderna vaccine. Additionally, 11 pharmacies in Safeway stores throughout the county have received state approval to provide COVID-19 vaccinations, and IHSS workers will be able to start receiving vaccinations at those locations starting next week. Sonoma County and Safeway hope to be able to provide vaccines to members of the general public as soon as the beginning of February. Read More