CBS San Francisco Staff Report

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — It’s been a year since the historic COVID-19 shutdown and the battle with the virus is still impacting our daily lives. Here’s a roundup of the COVID stories we’ve published over the last 24 hours.

READ MORE: San Leandro Community Rallies for Reform on Anniversary of Steven Taylor's Police Shooting Death

Small Crowds In San Jose Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 1 Year After Shelter-In-Place – ‘A Glimmer Of Hope’
SAN JOSE — A year since the Bay Area was ordered to shut down and stay home at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds gathered in San Jose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and return to some semblance of normalcy. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been out so I think outside feels great, and it feels safe,” said Joyce Lin. “It’s been a long time since we felt safe.” Lin was among the crowd that gathered outside O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub in Downtown San Jose where thousands normally have gathered pre-pandemic for St. Patty’s Day. “Course we’re all outdoors here so all the tables are spread 6 feet apart or more, everyone has to sit down, there’s no standing,” said Shane O’Flaherty whose parents own the Irish pub. Read More

Santa Clara County Reports New Cases Of Variants First Found In South Africa, UK
SAN JOSE — Health officials in Santa Clara County reported Wednesday new cases of COVID-19 variants believed to be easier to spread, reminding residents to continue following  prevention measures. Officials said in a statement that they have found the county’s second case of B1351, also known as the South African variant. The case, which was reported in early March, is believed to have resulted from community transmission. It is the fourth confirmed case of B1351 reported in California so far. A previous case reported in the county last month resulted from travel, health officials said. “This latest case confirms that we do have community transmission, and reminds us to not let down our guard in the middle of this pandemic,” said Santa Clara County Public Health Director Dr. Sara Cody. Read More

San Francisco Looks At Spending $125M Surplus On Businesses, Residents Struggling In Pandemic
SAN FRANCISCO — City leaders on Wednesday announced $125 million in surplus funds from the current year’s budget will be used to help small businesses, arts and culture organizations and vulnerable residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the new spending plan, announced jointly by Mayor London Breed and Budget Chair of the Board of Supervisors Matt Haney, the funds will be divvied up to support a plethora of programs and business fee deferrals and waivers, among other initiatives aimed at aiding in the city’s economic recovery. The extra $125 million is the result of higher-than-expected property tax revenue. The spending plan was approved unanimously at Wednesday’s Budget and Appropriations Committee. The proposal is next headed to the Board of Supervisors for a full vote. Read More

Signature Deadline Arrives For Newsom Recall Campaign; Backers Claim Support Beyond GOP
SACRAMENTO — The signature deadline in the effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom has arrived and the back and forth is heating up. Newsom said the recall will throw away $100 million in taxpayer dollars. Meanwhile, his opponents claim the signature gathering effort proves it’s not just a partisan push. “I’ve had enough.  I want to run for governor,” said San Francisco resident Paul Kangas. Recall supporters point to closed storefronts, empty schools, vaccine distribution hiccups, and a governor who has flouted his own rules. “I think the people of California deserve to have somebody they can trust,” said Rescue California Recall Gavin organizer Anne Dunsmore. Read More

SFUSD To Allow Outdoor High School Sports Practices, Games Starting April 12
SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Unified School District will allow high school students to resume practices and games in multiple extracurricular sports next month, the district announced Wednesday. Starting April 12, the district will allow its high schools to resume practices and games for baseball, softball, girls’ flag football, boys’ and girls’ tennis, boys’ and girls’ soccer and boys’ and girls’ track and field. High school football and boys’ and girls’ basketball teams will also be able to practice outdoors but will not be allowed to able to play official games for now, according to the district. “As a former student athlete myself, I know how important sports are in the lives of so many of our students,” SFUSD Superintendent Vincent Matthews said. “It is a short season but I hope it is the beginning of what will be many more opportunities to play.” Read More

READ MORE: Lodi Parachute Center Skydiver Dies After Chute Gets Tangled on Descent

Contra Costa County Provides Debt Relief For Renters and Landlords
CONCORD — Contra Costa County is throwing a $75 million lifeline to renters and landlords with a new relief program funded by federal funds provided to the state. California’s $2.6 billion in federal COVID-19 rent relief money is finally going to begin helping ease the crisis facing both renters and landlords. It’s a chance for many across the Bay Area to escape the mountain of debt caused by the pandemic. Concord’s Monument Corridor has a lot of apartments and a lot of residents like Hector Rodrigues. He hasn’t worked for a year and can’t pay the rent. Rodrigues now owes more than $7,000. “They’re telling me to pay, pay, pay…but how can I pay?” he asked. “Nothing, there is nothing.” Read More

Sunnyvale Neighbors Stay Connected With Nightly Wave
SUNNYVALE — At the start of the pandemic many bay area neighbors found ways to stay connected while still remaining physically distanced. It was a year ago when a group of neighbors in Sunnyvale decided that they were not going to stay inside, all cooped up. Instead, they stepped outside and started waving. Barb Jensen is a “neighbor waver.” “We had the idea of a 5 o’clock wave, where we would come out at 5 p.m. and wave at our neighbor. The whole idea was just to check to make sure everybody was OK,” explained Jensen. That simple act grew into a neighborhood event. It just kept growing and growing. Today they celebrate the one year anniversary. Read More

Uber Attack Suspect Arna Kimiai Charged With Assault, Attempted Robbery
SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday announced multiple charges against Arna Kimiai, one of the women suspected in an attack of an Uber driver that was caught on camera earlier this month. Prosecutors confirmed to KPIX 5 that Kimiai has been charged with attempted robbery and assault on a hired transportation driver, both felonies. Kimiai has also been charged with misdemeanor battery on a transportation driver and violation of a COVID-19 health order. Robbery and conspiracy charges against Kimiai have been dropped, prosecutors said. Kimiai, along with 24-year-old Malaysia King were arrested after the videotaped assault on an Uber driver Subhakar Khadka on March 7. The video has since gone viral. Read More

Mills College To Stop Operating As A College, 2021 Last Year For Freshman Enrollment
OAKLAND — The president of Mills College announced Wednesday that the school is transitioning to an institute and will likely award its final degrees in 2023. According to school president Elizabeth L. Hillman, the 169-year-old college’s board of trustees made the decision to move away from providing degrees because of “economic burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic, structural changes across higher education, and Mills’ declining enrollment and budget deficits.” “We will focus our resources on building degree pathways for our continuing students, and supporting the new first-year undergraduate, transfer, and graduate students who will join us this fall,” Hillman said in a statement. Read More

IRS Tax Filing Deadline Being Pushed Back To May 17
SAN FRANCISCO — The deadline for filing taxes traditionally falls in the middle of April. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reportedly going to push back this year’s April 15 deadline until May 17. Last year’s tax deadline was postponed until July 15 due to the economic turmoil surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s postponement is to allow taxpayers and tax preparers extra time to work through the ongoing tax issues that continue one year later. “This extension is absolutely necessary to give Americans some needed flexibility in a time of unprecedented crisis,” according to Democratic Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. from New Jersey, and Richard Neal from Massachusetts, who is also chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight. Read More

MORE NEWS: Saratoga Resident Displaced in 2-Alarm House Fire Sunday Morning

Family of Inmate Who Died During San Quentin COVID Outbreak Sues California
SACRAMENTO — California corrections officials face a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the family of a 61-year-old prison inmate who died of COVID-19 after he was transferred with a group of infected inmates to San Quentin State Prison. Daniel Ruiz was serving a four-year sentence for possession of a controlled substance for sale and for being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to corrections officials. He died July 10; 28 inmates and a correctional officer connected to the transfer died. Corrections officials said Ruiz was scheduled to be released in September 2021. The lawsuit says he had several risk factors, including asthma, obesity, Hepatitis C and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. By the time his family found out he’d been infected, he’d been in a hospital intensive care unit for two weeks, was on a ventilator, and was near death. Read More