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.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Victim, Suspect Identified In Fatal Oakland Park Shooting in Front of Children

San Francisco Students Hold Outdoor ‘Zoom-In’ Protest Over Continued Distance Learning
SAN FRANCISCO — Some San Francisco students and parents held an unusual outdoor demonstration Thursday, with children participating in distance learning on computers from a park in the city. Five days ahead of the next San Francisco Unified School District board meeting, families are turning up the pressure for the district to hammer out a deal with the teachers unions. Students and their parents are frustrated with the long-delayed school reopening plans. “We’re just trying to do something — anything at this point — to bring awareness and try and get some movement,” explained SF parent Sam Pederson. The event was organized by the group Decreasing the Distance, which is calling on San Francisco Unified School District officials to reopen schools and return to in-person learning. Read More

Study: People With Severe COVID Conditions Can Develop Growths In The Back Of Their Eye
BOSTON — Scientists are discovering that the coronavirus can affect many organs in the body and the eye is no exception. A new study finds that people with severe COVID-19 can develop growths in the back of the eye. Researchers in France studied nearly 130 patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 who had undergone brain MRI. They found that about 7-percent of patients had one or more nodules or growths in the back of the eyeball.  It’s unclear why these nodules develop but may be related to inflammation caused by the virus. Read More

Miami Mayor Makes Pitch To San Francisco Tech Workers — ‘Thinking Of Moving To Miami? DM Me’
SAN FRANCISCO — Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has launched a billboard and social media campaign designed to lure tech workers forced out of their San Francisco offices by the COVID-19 pandemic to move to the Sunshine state. Since last March, thousands of tech workers have relocated out of San Francisco to work remotely from other areas of California and the country. In late November a group of Hawaiian business leaders launched a campaign , promoting the islands as an appealing location for a remote office with a view. Texas had also been actively recruiting workers and tech companies. Software giant Oracle has announced it will be moving its headquarters to Texas as has Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Read More

Bay Area Vaccination Sites See Supply Slowdown Due to Midwest Freeze
SAN MATEO — Cold weather in much of the country is now taking a toll on vaccine distribution. California Department of Public Health reports the state has been affected by delays and the impacts have trickled down to Bay Area counties. San Mateo County held its vaccination clinic Thursday without canceling any appointments but the concern is what will happen next week. 2,793 vaccinations were given out but this site may not be able to open next week. Seven Bay Area counties told KPIX they have already experienced delays or expect to. San Mateo County says it’s waiting to receive 14,200 Moderna doses but there’s no word on when the shipment will arrive. Marin County reports at least 300 appointments were canceled Thursday due to shipment delays. Read More

READ MORE: COVID: Youth, Adult Multi-Team Sports Can Resume In Alameda Co., Berkeley

San Leandro Used-Equipment Warehouse Shows Pandemic’s Toll on Restaurants
SAN LEANDRO — The pandemic’s heavy toll on the restaurant industry can be seen in Jose Bonilla Jr.’s cavernous warehouse, which is packed with industrial ovens, grills, mixers, refrigerators, dining tables and chairs. Bonilla’s family business, American Restaurant Supply in San Leandro, Calif., buys used appliances, furniture and other equipment when restaurants close in the San Francisco Bay Area. “We have an overflow of equipment that’s been coming in,” said Bonilla, whose family started the company more than 40 years ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced tens of thousands of restaurants to permanently shut their doors as dining restrictions keep customers away. But it has also been a boon for commercial auctioneers that buy used equipment and sell them to restaurants that managed to stay afloat, particularly ones that have expanded their takeout business and are eager to snatch up supplies at bargain prices. Read More

East Bay School Trustees Caught on Video Disparaging Parents During Online Meeting
OAKLEY — School trustees in Oakley found out that a “hot mic” can get public officials in hot water during open video meetings. During a live public meeting Wednesday night, members of the Oakley Union Elementary School District Board of Trustees were caught on video making disparaging comments about parents during a discussion about public comments made during board meetings. An online petition seeking the resignations of the trustees was soon posted on social media sites. Superintendent Greg Hetrick was describing a proposal to limit public meeting comments to three-minute audio clips made in advance when trustee Richie Masadas noted, “It’s easy to hide behind a screen.” Apparently unaware that the public video feed was still live, trustee Kim Beede said “Are we alone? If you’re going to call me out. I’m going to f— you up.” Read More

Historic Preservation Commission Holds Off on Vote to Extend Golden Gate Park Ferris Wheel
SAN FRANCISCO — Commissioners with the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday held off on making a decision on whether to extend the permit for a 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel at Golden Gate Park for four more years. The SkyStar Observation Wheel was installed last year as part of the park’s 150th anniversary just as the COVID-19 pandemic began. Although the wheel was able to open in the fall at limited capacity, a surge in cases halted operations after just five weeks. The wheel is scheduled to be removed at the end of March, but a proposal is seeking to extend it through March 1, 2023, to “offset financial hardship experienced by the vendor” and to March 1, 2025, to reinvigorate the city’s post-pandemic economy. Read More

San Mateo County Vaccination Clinics Underway, But Short Supply Limits Rollout
SAN MATEO COUNTY — Teachers and other frontline workers will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations in San Mateo County starting Monday, but county officials said it may take some time for health care providers to reach those groups. Like other Bay Area counties, San Mateo County officials say they are constrained by the limited vaccine supply. During a media briefing on Wednesday, Srija Srinivasan, deputy chief of San Mateo County Health, said the county is working with leaders in the education, restaurant and law enforcement sectors to reach their workforce. But she said that it will take several weeks for the county’s major health entities to reach those groups due to supply constraints. Read More

MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Missing San Francisco Girl Found Safe In Pittsburg With Michigan Runaway

San Francisco Teachers Union Demands Urgency From District Officials On School Reopenings
SAN FRANCISCO — Teachers union and San Francisco Unified School District officials were scheduled to return to the negotiating table Thursday as they attempt to hammer out a final agreement to reopen public elementary schools to in-class instruction. But before the session began, union officials levied criticism of what they believe is an lack of urgency on the district’s part to get an agreement in place. On Tuesday, the union presented a comprehensive proposal around scheduling, stable cohorts, physical distancing in classrooms and in-person special education services. When the parties returned to the table on Wednesday, union officials were expecting a counter proposal from the district, but none was offered. Read More