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 last 24 hours.

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Federal-State Mass Vaccination Sites Open In Oakland, Los Angeles
OAKLAND — State and federal officials opened two large mass COVID-19 vaccination sites Tuesday with military personnel administering thousands of doses of the highly-coveted vaccine to local residents in both Oakland and Los Angeles. The site launches at the Oakland Coliseum and on the campus of Cal State Los Angeles are part of the Biden administration’s effort to open as many as 100 similar sites across the nation to speed up distribution of the vaccine. The 6,000 per day capacity at the Coliseum will be added on to Alameda County’s existing vaccine efforts. “This is a huge number of additional doses and appointments available to county residents,” explained Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss. “Freeway access, BART is here, for people who can’t or don’t want to use their cars.” Read More

San Francisco Partners With Sutter Health at Bayview Mass Vaccination Site
SAN FRANCISCO — Officials in San Francisco on Tuesday announced a partnership with Sutter Health to operate the newly opened high-volume COVID vaccination site at the SF Market in the Bayview. The site, the third high-volume vaccination center in San Francisco along with sites at City College of San Francisco and the Moscone Center, opened Monday at the SF Market in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood at 901 Rankin Street. According to the press release issued by the city, the site “advances San Francisco’s efforts to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.” Operations at the Moscone Center and San Francisco City College mass vaccination sites have been limited this week due to the current vaccine shortage. Read More

UC-Berkeley Officials Lift COVID-19 Residence Halls Quarantine Order
BERKELEY — Amid a dramatic decline in new on-campus COVID-19 cases, University of California-Berkeley officials lifted a quarantine order Tuesday that had been imposed on Feb. 1 for students living in its residential halls. According to the University dashboard, there were 156 new cases reported among students the week of Jan 31. The following week that number dropped to 97 and for the first two days of this week there have only been eight new cases. UC Berkeley student affairs officials sent out an email, declaring that the quarantine was being lifted as of Tuesday. “We realize that the last two weeks have been a challenging time for everyone involved, and we truly appreciate you doing your part to mitigate the surge of infections,” the email read. “Your sacrifices have made a huge difference.” Read More

Marin County Nursing Home COVID-19 Cases Decline In Wake Of Vaccination Campaign
SAN RAFAEL — A multi-agency campaign to provide vaccinations at nursing homes across Marin County over the past two months has helped dramatically cut COVID-19 infection rates of residents and staff, according to health official. Since the COVID-19 outbreak began nearly a year ago, there have been 711 confirmed cases in Marin among those in care facilities. There has been 127 deaths — 81.4 percent of the county’s total death rate. Currently, there are 11 cases in care facilities — 6 among residents and 5 among staffers. There was a monthly average of 60 cases reported through January. Public and private health officials said infection rates dropped 10-fold after residents received second doses in January. No facility in the county currently has any outbreaks, according to a statement released Monday by Marin County. Read More

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Long Lines, Long Waits At Levi’s Stadium Mass Vaccination Site
SANTA CLARA — Some residents vaccinated Tuesday at Levi’s Stadium, which is the state’s largest vaccination site, reported waiting hours just to get inside only to stand in more long lines before getting their dose. Andrea Contreras, who took her in-laws to get inoculated at the stadium, said the wait time was so long that they witnessed one elderly person fall and another faint while in line. “It was chaotic when we arrived,” said Contreras. “The line was looped around through the parking lot.” Contreras said she was unable to get her in-laws an appointment at Kaiser Permanente. She said getting an appointment online through the county was a breeze, but the process at Levi’s Stadium was just the opposite. Contreras said from start to finish it took more than three hours to get her elderly in-laws vaccinated. “Hopefully, things will improve,” Contreras said. Read More

Future Of Golden Gate Park Ferris Wheel Up For A Vote
SAN FRANCISCO — The Historic Preservation Commission will vote on the fate of the SkyStar Observation Wheel at Golden Gate Park on Wednesday. The giant ferris wheel is currently at a standstill, but debate over its stay is heating up. It was originally supposed to stay for a year as part of the park’s 150th anniversary, but it’s been largely closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The SF Recreation and Parks Commission has proposed a 4-year extension. “Four years because we want to make good on our promise for people to be able to ride the wheel,” said spokesperson Tamara Barak Aparton. “There was a lot of excitement about it, a lot of people with their hopes dashed. The other reason is that it’s a good part of the recovery plan, the economic recovery plan for San Francisco.” Read More

With Newsom’s Recall Looming CA Lawmakers Vote To Distribute Mail-In Ballots In 2021
SACRAMENTO — As California Gov. Gavin Newsom prepares for a potential recall election this year, the state Legislature passed a bill on Tuesday that would require all active registered voters get a ballot in the mail ahead of the election even if they didn’t ask for on Lawmakers’ aim is to slow the spread of the coronavirus by encouraging people to vote by mail rather than show up in person. The Legislature did the same thing last year, back when counties had millions of dollars in federal money to help put on a presidential election during a pandemic. So far, California has two scheduled elections for 2021, both to fill vacancies in the state Legislature. But an effort to force a recall election of Newsom has gained momentum, fueled by anger over his handling of the coronavirus and an embarrassing incident last year when the governor attended a birthday party at a fancy restaurant while encouraging others to stay home. Read More

Bilingual Outreach Teams Get Vital Information To More South Bay Residents
SAN JOSE — As COVID-19 case counts continue to drop and the vaccine rollout scales up, Santa Clara County is also ramping up its “Community Health And Business Engagement Teams,” bilingual outreach teams to fan out across East San Jose, Gilroy and other hardest hit areas. Since August, a hundred team members have walked neighborhoods and visited businesses, going to door-to-door to answer questions about the virus. On Tuesday, the county added another 30 workers. County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said the teams, which had previous success with outreach for the US Census and breast cancer screening, had reported that citizens were asking basic questions about the disease, testing and vaccines. Forty percent of the county’s households are foreign-born, according to Chavez “Which means that people who speak a language other than English aren’t getting the same level of information about COVID-19 as the English speaking world,” said Chavez. Read More

Iconic Saint Mary’s Cathedral In San Francisco Struggling To Stay Open
SAN FRANCISCO — Like many Bay Area businesses and nonprofits, California’s oldest cathedral is now struggling to keep its doors open. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the old Saint Mary’s Cathedral near San Francisco’s Chinatown has closed its pre-school, bookstore and gift shop. “Things right now are very, very difficult right now,” said Father John Ardis. On top of that, the 167-year-old church is facing heavy maintenance costs. It also owes $250,000 in insurance payments. Father Ardis says donations have dried up since services moved online. “We’re a parish that’s also always served the tourists, and on any given weekend probably half of the people that worship at mass are visiting,” said Father Ardis. “Since March 14, there really haven’t been any tourists in town.” Read More

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San Jose’s Good Samaritan Hospital Closes COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Following Scandal
SAN JOSE — Good Samaritan Hospital, one of the largest medical centers in Santa Clara County, is permanently closing its COVID-19 vaccine clinic, claiming that it has vaccinated all of its staff and therefore fulfilled its responsibilities. The news comes three weeks after the hospital faced backlash for allowing teachers and staff at an affluent Los Gatos school district to skip the line for COVID-19 vaccines by pretending to be health care workers. The story, first reported by San Jose Spotlight, generated widespread outcry and led to the county withholding future vaccine doses from the hospital. In an email obtained by this news organization, the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer Klaus Thaler told staff that state-level changes in vaccine distribution have caused uncertainty about how the hospital’s vaccine supply will be impacted. Read More