CBS San Francisco Staff Report

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With the surge in new coronavirus cases beginning to ease and demand for vaccination growing, 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.

READ MORE: San José School District Secures Vaccine for Entire Workforce

Bay Area COVID-19 Vaccine Resources Page

COVID Long-Haulers Find Relief Among Fellow Sufferers on Road to Recovery
SAN FRANCISCO — Around California and the Bay Area you’ll find them: members of a club that no one wants to join. These are patients who experience lingering misery after they no longer test positive for SARS-CoV-2. They’re known as the long-haulers. “About 10 percent of patients who’ve had an initial COVID-19 infection will go on to not fully recover,” said UCSF neurologist Dr. Juliet Morgan. “It puzzled a lot of us,” said Dr. Meghan Jobson, palliative care Fellow at UCSF. KPIX met two long-haulers: retired former banker Bruce Wheeler and Carla, who is a first responder. Carla asked us not to use her last name. “It felt very lonely and, after a while, you wonder: is this in my head?” Wheeler said. Read More

San Francisco Seeks Emergency Order To Reopen Public Schools
SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco is seeking an emergency court order against the city’s school district in order to compel the district to reopen public schools. City Attorney Dennis Herrera on Thursday filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), the San Francisco Board of Education, and Superintendent Vincent Matthews. The motion alleges the failure to provide student in-class instruction when health officials have allowed schools to reopen violates children’s state constitutional right to attend school and the California Education Code, which requires school districts to “offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible.” A hearing on the motion is set for March 22. Read More

California Death Toll From Virus Edges Past New York
SAN FRANCISCO — California has edged past New York in the grim statistic of the number of deaths due to COVID-19, according Johns Hopkins University data reported Thursday. California’s death toll reached 45,496, surpassing New York’s toll of 45,312. The development comes as coronavirus trends are showing improvement in California. The most recent seven-day test positivity rate has fallen to 4.8%, according to the state Department of Public Health. The most recent daily number of newly confirmed positive cases was 8,390, down from well over 53,000 in December. California, however, is grappling with vaccine shortages that are crippling efforts to inoculate substantial numbers in the state of nearly 40 million residents. Read More

Bay Area CVS Pharmacies Begin Program Offering Free COVID Vaccines
PLEASANTON — In another advance in the effort to ramp up the COVID vaccine rollout in California, CVS pharmacies on Thursday began scheduling online appointments to give out free doses. According to what KPIX 5 heard from one Bay Area resident, slots were filling up quickly. The vaccine coming to CVS pharmacies is a fraction of what the state normally gets in a week. “We are we are about to receive 10% of another 1 million dose allocation,” Governor Gavcin Newsom said Wednesday. “And that’s directly to pharmacies here in the state of California.” Read More

Santa Clara County Steps Up COVID Vaccination Efforts in Hard-Hit Areas
SAN JOSE — An effort is underway in Santa Clara County to get COVID-19 vaccinations to East San Jose and Gilroy, the community’s hardest-hit areas. Meanwhile, San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo announced a petition Thursday urging all 19 school districts along with state and county leaders to prioritize kindergarten through fifth grade teachers to get vaccinated. Liccardo said he would start with schools in struggling communities. “This is an important issue of social justice, of civil rights,” Liccardo said. “We know which kids are being left behind. Overwhelmingly, it’s low-income families, children of color.” County health officials have reported the Latino community has had the highest infection rate in the county and has experienced technological, transportation and other barriers in the accessibility of the vaccine. Read More

READ MORE: Golden Gate Fields Races to Make Up for Missed Vaccine Appointments

Mt. Diablo School District Board Votes To Send Students Back To Class
CONCORD — One of the largest school districts in California, the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, has voted to send students back to classrooms. The school board voted 5-0 Wednesday night to adopt a reopening plan board and choosing to follow state and county guidelines to resume in-class learning. The district’s reopen plan is contingent on the county moving into the Red Tier from the current Purple Tier in the state’s Blueprint for a Safe Economy. Parents say the science supports a return to in-person learning and that parents are fleeing the public school system for private schools. The district says it has lost 1,000 out of its 29,000 students to private schools. Read More

Popular Wine Country Restaurant Closes Amid Furor Over Former Staffer’s BLM Mask
SONOMA — Just a week after reopening, a popular Sonoma restaurant closed abruptly this week after receiving death threats amid growing outcry over a Black Lives Matter facemask. Executive Chef and President of the Girl & the Fig Restaurant John Toulze said the restaurant may be closed indefinitely after briefly being allowed to reopen due to reduced COVID-19 restrictions. “Out of an abundance of caution, the Girl & the Fig Restaurant is closed for the foreseeable future. I don’t really know when it will reopen,” Toulze explained. Former employee Kim Stout has accused the restaurant of forcing her out of her position five months ago. In a social media post, she said she lost her job over wearing a Black Lives Matter facemask. BLM supporters have vowed to protest the incident. Read More

Santa Clara County Ban On Indoor Religious Services To Stay In Effect Pending Court Hearing
SAN JOSE — A federal court ruled Wednesday night that Santa Clara County’s ban on indoor religious services can remain in effect for the time being, ahead of an upcoming court hearing. Health officials said in a statement Thursday that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California suspended its ruling requiring Santa Clara County to allow for indoor worship, after the county requested the court to reconsider the case. The ruling issued on Monday followed last week’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court which struck down the state’s rules barring religious services indoors. The court allowed for some limitations on capacity and for prohibitions on chanting and singing to remain in effect. Read More

Palo Alto Teachers Voice Concern About Plans To Reopen In March
PALO ALTO — The Palo Alto Unified School District is speeding towards a reopening of in-person, classroom instruction at all grade levels starting March 1. “It’s a bit of a relief. I have a full-time job. And so, not having them in school is difficult,” says parent Jonathan Kulpit. Superintendent Dr. Don Austin just two weeks ago said it was unlikely middle and high school students would return to campus for in-person learning this school year. School districts throughout the Bay Area are under intense pressure to develop reopening plans as students and parents’ alike struggle with the challenges of online learning. Read More

San Mateo County Expanding Eligibility To Teachers, First Responders, Food Service Workers Later This Month
SAN MATEO COUNTY — Health officials in San Mateo County announced plans to expand COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to certain essential workers later this month. Educators, childcare workers and first responders, along with food and agricultural workers would be able to get their shots starting on February 22 as supply allows, officials said in a statement Thursday. “We need to swiftly vaccinate as many people as we possibly can and this includes essential workers,” said David Canepa, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. “We need to focus on ending COVID 24/7 so that we can stimulate the economy and start to return to normal.” Read More

Napa County Transitioning To State’s MyTurn Vaccine Registration Tool
NAPA COUNTY — Napa County will soon transition to the state’s MyTurn tool that enables residents to be notified when they are eligible for a coronavirus vaccination, county officials said this week. Up until now, the county has used a localized sign-up form for vaccine-eligible residents, who are then contacted by county staff with instructions and a vaccine clinic invitation. County officials asked eligible residents to register using the localized Vaccine Interest Form by 5 p.m. Friday, as the county intends to switch to the state’s MyTurn tool by the end of the month. Vaccine-eligible residents under age 75 who have already registered using the county’s system will not have to re-register, according to the county, but eligible residents who have not yet registered are encouraged to do so using MyTurn. Read More

BART To Offer Free Rides From Oakland Coliseum Mass Vaccination Site
OAKLAND — BART announced it would offer free rides for those who receive their COVID-19 shots at the Oakland Coliseum mass vaccination site, which is set to open next week. The transit agency said people receiving vaccines at the site can receive a free $7 ticket for their return trip home, which is enough fare to get to all stations except for San Francisco International Airport. Patients would need to show their vaccination card to receive the free ticket. Officials said extra staff would be on hand at Coliseum to give the tickets and to provide assistance for people who have mobility challenges to get to and from the vaccination site and the station. Read More

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Third Stimulus Check: How Much Could Your Next Relief Payment Be?
SAN FRANCISCO — A third stimulus check seems to grow more and more certain by the day. As the economic toll of the ongoing COVID pandemic continues to mount, President Joe Biden and politicians on both sides of the aisle support putting more money in the pockets of Americans as soon as possible. While a relief payment seems likely, how much and when remain in question. A $1,400 stimulus check is part of the $1.9 trillion relief package proposed by the Biden administration. The American Rescue Plan, in its current form, would also include more unemployment benefits, an improved child tax credit and additional aid for millions of Americans in dire economic straits because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Democrats control both houses of Congress and have signaled their willingness to pass stimulus legislation on a straight party-line vote if they have to. They’ve also paved the way for budget reconciliation, which would let them sidestep the filibuster in the Senate and pass stimulus with a simple majority. Read More