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 weekend.

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Gov. Newsom Expected To Lift COVID-19 Stay-At-Home Order
SAN FRANCISCO — With the surge of post-holiday COVID-19 cases beginning to ebb, Gov. Gavin Newsom could lift the restrictive stay-at-home order that has shuttered businesses across the San Francisco Bay Area as early as Monday. In a letter to its members Sunday, the California Restaurant Association said it has received word the order could be lifted Monday during Newsom’s weekly COVID-19 update and outdoor dining could be reopening again soon. “Late this evening, senior officials in the Newsom administration informed us that the Governor will announce tomorrow that the stay-at-home order will be lifted in all regions of the state. The regions of the state currently under the stay-at-home order are: Bay Area; Southern California; and San Joaquin Valley. Two other regions – Northern California and Sacramento region – are currently not under the stay-at-home order.” “Again, a formal announcement is expected tomorrow and we will send you further information as soon as it’s available. For now, we thought you’d like to know this good news.” Read More

Foreign Air Travelers Face New COVID-19 Requirements Before Boarding Flights To U.S.
SAN FRANCISCO — Under new guidelines the CDC will require travelers to take a COVID test within three days before their plane departs from any foreign country for the US starting January 26. Passengers ages 2-and-up will need to show documentation of their result via PCR or rapid antigen tests on paper or electronic form to an airline employee. Those who have previously had COVID-19 must show official proof that they’ve recovered from their illness. Travel website and blog The Points Guy says since the announcement, airlines have reported seeing a drop in bookings. “There are some who argue that people should not be traveling internationally anyway, because we still don’t have the vaccine widely available,” said Senior News Editor Clint Henderson. Read More

North Bay Restaurants Challenge State to Show Data Supporting COVID Closure
ST. HELENA — As California’s stay-at-home order continues, businesses and health experts alike are demanding to see the data that justifies it. So far, state officials are keeping it to themselves. Last week, California surprised everyone by allowing restaurants and businesses in the Sacramento Region to reopen. According to state officials, data models projected that the region’s ICU capacity would reach the threshold of 15 percent in the next four weeks although it hasn’t yet. Then, on Saturday, the Bay Area’s ICU capacity suddenly and without explanation jumped from 6.5 percent to 23.4 percent. Cynthia Ariosta, director of operations Tra Vigne Pizzeria in St. Helena wondered about those numbers. “How come that model didn’t predict the Bay Area all of a sudden being at 23% this weekend? So, again, it’s just arbitrary,” Ariosta said. Read More

Placer County, State Health Officials Investigating Death Of Recently Vaccinated Individual
SACRAMENTO — An individual who tested positive for COVID-19 in late December and receive a dose of coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 21 has died, triggering an investigation by local and state health officials. An announcement of death was posted Saturday on the Placer County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page. “Placer County Public Health and the Placer County Sheriff-Coroner Division were recently notified of the death of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 in late December.” “The individual was administered a COVID-19 vaccine several hours before their death on January 21, 2021. The vaccine was not administered by Placer County Public Health. There are multiple local, state, and federal agencies actively investigating this case; any reports surrounding the cause of death are premature, pending the outcome of the investigation. Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased.” The cause of death was still under investigation. Officials warned the general public not to jump to premature assumptions. Read More

Bay Area ICU Capacity Tops 23%, Unclear When Lockdown Will Lift
SAN FRANCISCO — The Bay Area has experienced the largest ICU capacity swing in several weeks — jumping to 23.4% availability from just 6.5%. So when will the restrictive COVID-19 surge stay-at-home order be lifted? “I really want to stress this, that I firmly believe this is our last surge and this is the last time that those restrictive lockdowns will occur, because of the availability of the vaccine,” said UCSF Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Monica Gandhi. “Because of the new administration and the federal government pushing it out, signing the National Defense Act.” Gandhi is encouraged by the region’s ICU availability. She is seeing hospitalizations drop first-hand at Zuckerberg San Francisco General, where she also works. “We did not see the surge that was predicted. We did from Thanksgiving, and then it was not as bad at Christmas and New Year’s at all that was predicted,” she added. Read More

Good Samaritans Rally To Help Bay Area Man After EDD Payments Frozen
SAN FRANCISCO — More than a million unemployed Californians were asked to re-verify their identities by the state’s Employment Development Department and saw payments suspended right before the new year. This week, EDD officials announced it is giving recipients 30 days instead of 10 days to re-verify their identities. But for so many, waiting even days can mean the difference between survival and hopelessness. Two weeks ago, Dustin Teter was living out of his car. He lost his job as a data scientist and got notified abruptly in late December that EDD suspended payments to his account. Teter needed $300 to pay for his health insurance to get needed medication. After seeing his story on KPIX 5, viewers immediately began emailing KPIX-5 asking how to help. Read More

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Bay Area COVID-19 Vaccination Rate Likely to Lag Demand for Months
SAN RAFAEL — This week it became increasingly clear that the limited supply of coronavirus vaccine will be an ongoing problem for weeks and, perhaps, months. In San Francisco, 3.6 percent of residents have received at least one dose of vaccine. In Contra Costa County, 6.7 percent of those 16 and older have received at least one dose. In Marin County, the number is somewhere in between. “It worked very well, very well organized,” said Barbara Eaton, Saturday, on her way out of the Marin Civic Center. “Everyone was very kind and caring.” As of about 3 p.m., Eaton joined the ranks of the vaccinated — 4.9 percent of the county’s population, according to a newly-launched dashboard. Read More

San Jose Sharks Will Play First 2 Home Games of Season in Arizona
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks’ first two home games of the season will be played in Arizona due to a coronavirus-related ban on contact sports in Santa Clara County, the team said Saturday. The team’s hockey games on Feb. 1 and 3 will be played at the Gila River Arena in Glendale with the Sharks serving as the home team. Sharks President Jonathan Becher said Saturday the team hopes to return to SAP Center in San Jose soon. “We feel that we have put significant precautions in place, including daily COVID-19 testing of the athletes and support staff, to allow for us to safely return to play games at SAP Center, while not exposing the community to any additional health risk,” Becher said in a news release. Read More

Mayor Breed Unveils $21.3 Million Emergency Rent Relief Program For San Francisco International Businesses
SAN FRANCISCO — Mayor London Breed has signed an ordinance to launch a rent relief program at San Francisco International Airport, modifying and waiving rent and other fees for airport concession tenants as the COVID-19 pandemic endures. The airport’s COVID-19 Emergency Rent Relief Program — unveiled on Friday — will be granted $21.3 million to help SFO tenants, with the funds being supported by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act. Under the program, several fees like infrastructure and cleaning fees for SFO concessions tenants will be retroactively waived from April 2020 through December 2020. Additionally, rental car tenants at SFO will have their rents retroactively waived for March, April and May 2020, and utilities waived for April and May 2020. “We know how hard this pandemic has hit our retailers and businesses, especially at the airport where traffic has been down significantly for months,” Breed said in a statement. Read More

Other Trending Weekend COVID-19 Stories

Celebrated Talk Show Host Larry King Dies While Battling COVID-19
LOS ANGELES — Legendary talk show host Larry King, who has been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, after falling victim to COVID-19 has died. He was 87. King died in Saturday Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded, tweeted. While no cause of death was given, Ora Media spokesman David Theall told the Associated Press on Jan. 4th that King was suffering from COVID-19, had been moved into the ICU on New Year’s Eve and was receiving oxygen. A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 he was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honors, including two Peabody awards. With his celebrity interviews, political debates and topical discussions, King wasn’t just an enduring on-air personality. He also set himself apart with the curiosity be brought to every interview, whether questioning the assault victim known as the “Central Park Jogger” or billionaire industrialist Ross Perot, who in 1992 rocked the presidential contest by announcing his candidacy on King’s show. Read More

California Ranks Last Among States In Percentage Of Vaccines Administered
SAN FRANCISCO — California, once hailed as a model for combating the COVID pandemic before the virus surge made it one of the worst states in terms of new cases and deaths, now ranks last in COVID vaccinations. The Bloomberg COVID vaccine tracker shows California last in percentage of vaccines administered, with only 37% of the vaccines distributed being injected. While California has administered more than 1.6 million vaccines – the most of all states – it has received about 4.4 million doses, according to the tracker. In comparison, other states with large populations such as New York and Texas, which rank 10th and 12th on the list, respectively, have administered more than 56% of vaccines delivered. The top jurisdictions in getting vaccines into arms are North Dakota (83% of shots used), District of Columbia (73%), West Virginia (73%), New Mexico (69%), and South Dakota (66%). Read More

Mass Vaccination Site Opens At City College Of San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO — Officials in San Francisco announced Friday the opening of the city’s first mass vaccination site at City College, as communities ramp up distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, the site is appointment only and is following state prioritization criteria on who receives the vaccine. The site, which is operated in partnership with UCSF Health, will eventually have the capacity to vaccinate more than 3,000 people per day once fully operational “Large vaccination sites like this one at City College are going to be critical for getting people vaccinated quickly and safely, and getting our City on the road to recovery,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. Patients were lined up in their vehicles outside the site at sunrise, ahead of the opening at 8 a.m. Larry Darcy, 80, was ready. “It’s a privilege to be here,” Darcy told KPIX 5. Read More

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California’s Increasing Jobless Numbers Reflect Pandemic-Stricken Restaurant, Hotel Workers
SACRAMENTO — California’s unemployment rate edged up nearly 1 percentage point last month as the state shed more than 52,000 jobs led by the pandemic-hobbled restaurant and lodging industries. The Employment Development Department reported Friday that the jobless rate stands at 9% for December, the state’s first monthly rate increase since April. The leisure and hospitality sector took the biggest hit. California had gained 5,200 jobs in November before giving back 10 times that number last month. It has recouped 44% of the 2.6 million nonfarm jobs lost at the start of the pandemic in March and April compared with 55.6% nationwide. Read More