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 24 hours.

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California Lifts Restrictive COVID-19 Stay-At-Home Order; ‘Light At The End Of The Tunnel’
SAN FRANCISCO — With a surge of COVID-19 cases easing and ICU bed availability beginning to soar, Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday announced California was lifting a restrictive stay-at-home order Monday for all five California regions, opening the way for a return to limited restaurant dining, religious services and other activities. The state will now return to the tier system of enforcement with most counties placed in the purple level initially. State officials also lifted a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. Among the sectors reopening include outdoor dining, gyms, places of worship and wineries. Indoor retail can open at 25% capacity along with personal care services, such as hair and nail salons. Following the lifting of the stay-at-home order, some shuttered businesses didn’t take long for resume operations. Read More

Project Home: Eviction Moratorium A Lifeline For Struggling Bay Area Renters But For Some It’s Too Late
SANTA ROSA — Time is running out for the state legislature to extend California’s eviction moratorium. If lawmakers don’t pass a bill this week, one in five Californians could lose their housing. “I’m like really distressed, so as you can see, I cry a lot,” Ofelia Camacho said. The statewide eviction moratorium is the only thing keeping Camacho’s parents and their family of seven off the street. “I feel like my parents have helped out the community a lot. We’ve given out a lot and we feel like the community does not have our backs,” Camacho said. Despite the moratorium, their landlord has tried to evict them three times this year, mostly for allegedly having too many people living in one home. Camacho’s father used to work at a local vineyard but suffered nerve damage in his legs when heavy machinery fell on him. Still, they’ve managed to pay rent, selling items at the flea market and borrowing from other family members. She is worried that generosity could soon run out. Read More

Marin County Officials Reveal What Will Be Reopened Under Purple Tier
SAN RAFAEL — Hours after state health officials lifted a restrictive stay-at-home order, Marin County’s public health director released a list of businesses that will be allowed to reopen in the county under the Purple Tier. With the state-at-home lifted, the state will now return to the tier system of enforcement with most counties placed in the purple level initially. “Everyone has been making sacrifices to bring this surge under control, and it’s paying off,” said Dr Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer, in a release. “As we move back into the purple tier, it’s critical to remember the virus is still very active in our community. We could easily backslide if we let our guard down.” The county-by-county tier system uses various metrics to determine the risk of community transmission and apply a color code — purple, red, orange or yellow — which correspond to widespread, substantial, moderate and minimal, respectively. Read More

Risk Of Setting Off Another Surge Has Business Owners, Nurses Concerned
SAN FRANCISCO — With the stay-at-home order rescinded, some are wondering if it is too soon and whether a slide back into rising COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations is inevitable. “It’s a calculated, I’m not sure if ‘gamble’ is the right word, but there is an element of uncertainty,” said Dr. Art Reingold of UC Berkeley, “At the moment, things are in reasonable shape, in terms of ICU bed capacity and the like.” Counties will return to color-coded tiers, most in purple and all in the Bay Area. Outdoor dining has already begun in some counties, as well as haircuts. Arthur Sebastian, owner of Arthur Sebastian Salon in Cow Hollow spoke to KPIX in May. Then, he was showing off plexiglass dividers and social distancing measures. Read More

Santa Clara Co. Hospital Under Fire For Letting School Workers ‘Cut’ To The Front Of The Line
SAN JOSE — A Bay Area hospital has come under fire after allowing one group to cut to the front of the line for access to the coronavirus vaccine. Santa Clara County has suspended allocations of vaccine to Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, after it learned the hospital was vaccinating school district employees who were not health care provider. The hospital is currently offering vaccines only to first responders and healthcare workers, a group known as Tier 1A. Last Thursday, Los Gatos Union School District Superintendent, Paul Johnson sent an email to staff saying Good Samaritan was offering vaccinations to school district personnel, saying the hospital was not forgetting the school district’s donation of food to frontline workers under its “Feed Our Heroes” program. It went on to say those signing up for vaccination should register as if they were a healthcare worker. Read More

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California Labor Secretary Says Criminal Rings Looted At Least $11B In Jobless Funds
SACRAMNETO — Sophisticated hackers, identity thieves and overseas criminal rings stole over $11 billion in unemployment benefits from California last year, but the extent of the fraud might grow far larger: billions more in payments are under investigation. California Labor Secretary Julie Su told reporters in a conference call Monday that of the $114 billion the state has paid in unemployment claims, about 10% — or $11.4 billion — have been confirmed as fraudulent. Nearly $20 billion more — another 17% — is considered suspicious, and a large part of that could be found to be fraud, she said. “There is no sugarcoating the reality,” Su said. “California did not have sufficient security measures in place to prevent this level of fraud, and criminals took advantage of the situation.” Read More

Santa Clara County Lifts Ban On Team Sports; Sharks To Return To SAP Center
SAN JOSE — Health officials in Santa Clara County on Monday announced changes to current COVID restrictions after the state lifted the stay-at-home order, including the end of the ban on all team sports. All sports including college and professional will be allowed to resume, according to county officials. The San Jose Sharks were set to play their home games in Arizona, but would now be allowed to host games at SAP Center in San Jose if they follow proper protocols. “To ensure that all these athletes and their personnel are limiting any exposure to the broader community and basically keeping within their households or participating in their activities, because with close-contact sports, obviously there’s no social distancing,” said Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams. Read More

San Francisco To Allow Outdoor Dining, Personal Services Starting Thursday
SAN FRANCISCO — Mayor London Breed on Monday announced that the state’s lifting of the stay-at-home order would allow San Francisco to start relaxing COVID restrictions beginning this Thursday. The mayor provided her first update on the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since state health officials lifted the stay-at-home order Monday morning. The mayor said that the city’s case rate as of Monday had dropped to 261 new cases per day, down from a high of 372 cases per day. The city currently has 194 people hospitalized with COVID and the infection rate (R-effective) has dropped below one. The city’s ICU capacity is currently stabilized at about 26%, Breed said.
“The good news is that we’re in a better place than we have been in a long time,” she said after providing the latest figures. Read More

Safari Park Gorillas Recovering From More Contagious Strain Of COVID-19; San Diego Zoo Receives Vaccine Intended For Animals
SAN DIEGO — The gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are on their way to a full recovery after being diagnosed with COVID-19, zoo officials said Monday. San Diego Zoo officials say the eight-member troop is eating, drinking, and interacting normally after several members’ feces tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The troop had been infected with the B.1.429 variant of coronavirus, which is on the rise in California and officials say is more contagious than other strains. The troop was tested after some of the gorillas showed symptoms, including mild coughing, congestion, nasal discharge and intermittent lethargy. Zoo officials went the extra step with the troop’s silverback, Winston, due to his advanced age and concern for his underlying medical conditions. Read More

Moderna Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Works On Variants, But Plans Booster For South African Strain
SAN FRANCICSO — Moderna said new research shows its COVID-19 vaccine does work on variants of the virus from the United Kingdom and South Africa. But, “out of an abundance of caution,” the Cambridge company will develop a booster shot for the South African strain. “We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine should be protective against these newly detected variants,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement Monday. “Out of an abundance of caution and leveraging the flexibility of our mRNA platform, we are advancing an emerging variant booster candidate against the variant first identified in the Republic of South Africa into the clinic to determine if it will be more effective to boost titers against this and potentially future variants.” Both the South African and U.K. variants spread faster and are more infectious forms of the virus. Read More

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California To Extend Eviction Moratorium To June 30
SACRAMENTO — California officials on Monday announced that the state is planning to extend the current moratorium on evictions until June 30 for those struggling to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal, which must be approved by the state Legislature, would extend a state law scheduled to expire at the end of January that prevents landlords from evicting tenants who could not pay their rent between March and August because of the coronavirus pandemic. To be eligible, tenants must pay at least 25% of their rent due between Sept. 1 and Jan. 31. Governor Gavin Newsom issued a joint statement with Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon regarding the extension of the eviction moratorium aimed at protecting Californians impacted by COVID-19. “COVID-19 continues to devastate communities across our state and too many Californians remain one paycheck away from losing their apartments or homes. These families need protection and relief now,” the statement read. Read More