Join anchor Kristen Sze for ABC7’s new daily, interactive newscast about the novel coronavirus outbreak in the Bay Area and around the world. You can check here to stream the show Monday-Friday at 3 p.m.Here are the latest developments on the respiratory illness in the U.S.:
Aug. 17, 2020
First day of school for SFUSD
San Francisco Unified students start today with distance learning. There will be at least two hours of live instruction per day. Those without access to computers can connect with their teachers by phone.
Aug. 14, 2020
SF Unified gives update on distance learning
San Francisco Unified School District officials gave an update on the impact of COVID-19 and what distance learning will look like this year. The school year starts on Monday.
Aug. 13, 2020
Alcatraz Island to reopen for outdoor tours Monday
Alcatraz Island will reopen to the public Monday after being closed for five months due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the East Bay Times. For now, only outdoor tours will be available to prevent the spread of the virus. The cell blocks and other indoor areas of the historic prison will remain closed.
Stanford scraps on-campus housing for undergraduate students amid pandemic
Freshman, sophomore and undergraduate transfer students at Stanford will not able to live in on-campus housing during the fall quarter due to COVID-19, the university’s president announced Thursday. This news comes as nearly all undergraduate course instruction is expected to be done remotely because of the pandemic. Students with special circumstances will still be allowed in the on-campus housing, according to the university. California issued new guidelines for higher education just last week as the state still grapples with the virus. The guidance does not allow for communal dining or the use of indoor common spaces.
“If public health conditions allow, we plan to invite frosh, sophomores and new transfer students to be in residence on campus for the winter quarter, and juniors and seniors for the spring quarter,” the university president said in a statement.
Oakland teachers to vote on distance learning deal
Over the next week, the Oakland Teachers Union and the board of education will vote on a deal over how to handle distance learning. After months of talks and negotiations, the district and its teachers’ union reached a tentative agreement. The new school year started on Monday. Specific details were not released, but the terms would offer teachers flexibility and ensure students have live interactions.
Aug. 12, 2020
UCSF scientists develop nasal spray to fight COVID-19
As the world waits for a coronavirus vaccine, scientists at UCSF say they have developed molecules which can help fight the virus. They say these synthetic antibodies, called AeroNabs, can administered as a nasal spray to protect people from coronavirus.
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond to give update on reopening schools
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will give an update on the California Department of Education’s efforts to support schools as they resume learning this fall.
Contra Costa Co. to open new testing sites
Contra Costa County health officials say two new testing centers in Richmond should be up and running this week. The county is also providing additional equipment at its two lab facilities to get test results in one-to-two days.
Aug. 11, 2020
Pac-12 postpones fall sports amid pandemic
The Pac-12 Conference postpones fall sports and plans to return in the spring. Read latest here.
Santa Clara Co. health officials give update on COVID-19
Health officials are giving the latest on COVID-19 in Santa Clara County through the lens of race and equity at a board of supervisors meeting.
Big Ten Conference postpones fall sports season amid coronavirus pandemic
The Big Ten Conference has decided to postpone fall sports, including football, sources confirmed to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach on Tuesday. Read the latest here.
Contra Costa Co. to vote on CARES Act funds
Contra Costa County supervisors are expected to vote on whether to use CARES Act money to pay for 24 new sheriff’s deputies rather than health services.
Santa Clara County supervisors to vote on eviction moratorium
Today the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors may vote to extend the eviction moratorium through September. If they don’t, more than 43,000 families will be at risk of homelessness. Read the full story here.
Aug. 10, 2020
CCSF faculty, students give update on back-to-school challenges
City College of San Francisco instructors and students are giving an update on back-to-school challenges as the fall semester begins, mostly online, on August 15.
Self-administered testing kiosk reopens in Berkeley
A self-testing site is back open in Berkeley. ABC7 News first reported the testing kiosk last month. You swab your own mouth. City officials say it was so popular they brought it back for an extended pilot program. The kiosk at the Berkeley Adult school parking lot on San Pablo Avenue will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Friday. You need an appointment to get tested. Results are expected within two days.
Aug. 9, 2020
Another San Quentin death row inmate dies from COVID-19 complications
Condemned inmate Pedro Arias, 58, died Sunday from COVID-19 related complications, authorities said. Arias is believed to be the 25th San Quentin inmate to succumb to coronavirus related complications. A coroner will determine the exact cause of his death.
Arias was sentenced to death in Sacramento County on Feb. 22, 1990, for first-degree murder and second-degree robbery while armed with a firearm. He was also sentenced to life without parole for kidnapping for ransom/extortion, penetration with a foreign object, attempted sodomy, lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14, sodomy of a child under 14, two counts of forcible rape, second-degree robbery and enhancements for the use of a firearm.
He was admitted onto death row on March 5, 1990.
California tops 554,000 COVID-19 cases
California reported another 8,373 cases of coronavirus Saturday, marking a total of 554,160 cases statewide. Another 104 people died of the virus, bringing the death toll to 10,293. California’s seven-day positivity rate stands at 5.7 percent, as of Sunday.
San Quentin State Prison guard dies of COVID-19
A guard at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County has died of coronavirus, the California Department of Corrections reported Sunday morning. State records show this is the first COVID-19 related death of a staff member at the prison. Eight other staff members at California prisons have died of COVID-19 so far.
The wife of Sgt. Gilbert Polanco told ABC7 News her husband died this morning at a hospital in San Jose.
RELATED: San Quentin coronavirus: Army veteran, corrections sergeant on life support, battling COVID-19
Last month, the army veteran and corrections sergeant at San Quentin was in the ICU battling COVID-19 on a ventilator. Sgt. Polanco was a South Bay native and had worked at the prison since the late 1980s.
In a statement Sunday afternoon, CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz expressed his condolences.
“Sergeant Gilbert Polanco is an example of the best of CDCR and his passing deeply saddens us all. His dedication to public service will not be forgotten,” Diaz said. “On behalf of a grateful department we extend our prayers of comfort and condolences to the Polanco family during these difficult times.”
The acting warden at San Quentin said Polanco was a beloved colleague and friend.
“Our hearts are broken as we awaken to the news of the passing of our beloved Sergeant, colleague, and friend,” said Acting San Quentin Warden Ron Broomfield. “Sgt. Gilbert Polanco demonstrated unwavering commitment and bravery as a peace officer working the frontline every day during this devastating pandemic. His memory is carried on in the hearts of all the men and women who continue to battle this deadly virus at San Quentin. We mourn together with his family and pray for their peace and comfort in the midst of their immeasurable loss.”
Aug. 8, 2020
California case total rises by more than 7,000
California saw an increase of 7,371 COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the state’s total to 545,787. Another 178 Californians have died of the virus, marking 10,189 fatalities. The seven-day positivity rate in the state is at 5.6 percent. Alameda County has the eighth highest number of cases in California and Santa Clara County, once the epicenter of the virus, ranks 10th.
Aug. 7, 2020
More than 10K COVID-19 deaths reported in CA
California has surpassed 10,000 deaths from the coronavirus, making it the U.S. state with the third-highest number of deaths since the pandemic broke out earlier this year
Sonoma is joining the growing list of counties where you can be fined for not following health orders. The Board of Supervisors has voted to fine individuals $100 if they’re caught not wearing a mask or ignoring social distancing guidelines. Fines for businesses now start at $1,000. Enforcement will focus on education first before fines are handed out. San Mateo County passed a similar ordinance this week.Marin, Napa, and Contra Costa counties are also issuing fines.
Aug. 6, 2020
Santa Clara University to begin school year online
Santa Clara University has announced it will begin the year with nearly all of its courses held online and will keep on-campus housing closed, with some exceptions. Some 5,500 undergraduates attend Santa Clara.
Aug. 5, 2020
Reps call for extension of unemployment benefits
Reps. Mike Thompson, Anna Eshoo and Jerry McNerney are giving an update on extending emergency unemployment benefits in the next COVID-19 package.
“Many employees all same the same thing — these benefits are vital to them and their survival. What opponents often don’t take into consideration is when someone loses their job, they don’t just lose their salary, but they also lose their health benefits,” said Rep Thompson.
Negotiations are set to continue today on Capitol Hill on the stimulus bill. Both top Democrats and White House officials say a deal could be reached by the end of the week and approved as early as next week.
Misreported data makes COVID-19 situation look better than it is, Santa Clara Co. health officer says
The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody warned in a press conference, and misreported COVID-19 data at the state level may be making the situation look rosier than it actually is.
Brace for 3rd wave of coronavirus, says top epidemiologist at UCSF.
While some experts say California is still in the first wave of coronavirus cases, UCSF’s head of disease and global epidemiology Dr. George Rutherford told reporters Wednesday that a “third wave” — or surge — of cases is essentially inevitable.
Tech issue led to COVID-19 cases being underreported in California
California officials now say numbers of COVID-19 cases are being underreported because of a technical problem. It’s a technical problem with the electronic system used by state and local health departments. Monday the state saw a significant drop in cases, leading the governor to say the state had possibly turned a corner in its fight against COVID-19, but now it looks like that might just be because of this technical problem. They are not sure when or if they are going to be able to fix the problem, so they are also working on a manual process to get the information through the system and to local health departments.
Aug. 4, 2020
San Mateo Co. passes ordinance to implement fines for not wearing face masks
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an urgency ordinance also implementing fines for violating health orders, refusing to wear a face covering. Individuals can receive a $100 fine for the first violation, $200 for the second and $500 for additional violations with the same year. Businesses risk a minimum fine of $250 and a maximum of $3,000 per violation depending on the gravity of the health risk.
Santa Cruz Co. passes ordinance to impement fines for not wearing face coverings
Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an urgency ordinance implementing fines for violations of a state or local health order regarding COVID-19. The ordinance allows law enforcement officers or designated administrative staff to issue citations rather than penalize violations through misdemeanors, which carry fines of $1,000 and up to six months in jail. The citations will result in fines of $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense and $500 for a third within a calendar year, and is effective immediately.
Great America to remain closed for rest of 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic
Great America officials announced Tuesday that the Santa Clara theme park will remain closed for the rest of 2020 due to the pandemic and its uncertainty. Park officials say they are disappointed they can’t welcome guests back this season but safety is a top priority.
San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax said the city remains in the “red zone” on at least one of its key COVID-19 indicators. The city is seeing about 90 new cases a day. Any number of 50 lands the city in the “red zone,” meaning reopening will stay paused.
As of Tuesday, there are 6,989 known coronavirus cases in San Francisco and there have been 61 deaths.
“It took us 38 days to go from 2,000 to 3,000 cases. It took half as long to go from 3,000 to 4,000. And in just 10 days in July, we went from 5,000 to 6,000 cases of COVID-19,” said Colfax. “And now, as August begins, we are about to cross the 7,000 mark.”
The Department of Disability and Aging Services Executive Director Shireen McSpadden and SFAC Galleries Director Meg Shiffler also gave updates on the city’s efforts to address food insecurity and art commissioned to recognize healthcare workers.
Today the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors will consider an emergency ordinance imposing fines for businesses and individuals who violate the state’s public health orders. The first offense would cost $100, the second time it would double and a third offense is $500. At first, officials will approach a person or business not implementing mask wearing and provide a free mask. Multiple county departments would be allowed to cite. If the board approves the ordinance, it goes into effect immediately.
Aug. 3, 2020
Public health officials, doctors, state lawmakers and renters are holding a virtual news conference on potential health impacts of California’s impending eviction crisis with statewide emergency eviction protections expected to end Aug. 14.
13 PAC-12 football players threaten to boycott season
Three Bay Area college football players, two from Cal and one from Stanford, have reportedly joined other PAC-12 student-athletes in threatening to boycott the coming season. The 13 players are demanding greater protections against COVID-19, money paid to student-athletes, and ending racial injustice. The group also believes coaches, the PAC-12’s commissioner, and school leaders should take voluntary pay cuts. Another demand calls for Stanford to use endowment money to fund eleven sports due to be cut, that’s according to the Players Tribune.
Aug. 2, 2020
San Quentin death row inmate dies from complications related to COVID-19
Condemned San Quentin inmate Orlando G. Romero, 48, died from COVID-19 complications on Sunday, officials announced. Romero was sentenced to death in Riverside County on Aug. 28, 1996, for first-degree murder and second-degree robbery while armed with a firearm. He was also sentenced to three life-with-parole sentences: one for attempted first-degree murder armed with a firearm, another for attempted first-degree murder and other numerous offenses, and the third for kidnap/robbery while armed with a firearm and several robbery offenses. He was admitted onto death row on Sept. 4, 1996. There are currently 715 people on California’s death row.
Romero is the 11th condemned prisoner at San Quentin to die since late June, the Department of Corrections said. He was the 20th San Quentin prisoner overall to die from complications of COVID-19, according to the Marin County Health and Human Services.
California reports 132 deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, total cases top 509,000
California now as 509,162 cases of COVID-19, according to latest data from state officials. A total of 132 people died Saturday of the virus, bringing the state death toll to 9,356. California has tested more than 8 million people during the pandemic.
Aug. 1, 2020
State orders specific indoor businesses to close in San Mateo Co.
The state has informed San Mateo County that due to being more than 3 days on the COVID-19 watch list, specific indoor businesses must cease operations beginning 12:01 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020.
Businesses that must close include, gyms, places of worship and cultural ceremonies, personal care services, hair salons and shopping malls. The businesses that cannot operate outside must close, according to county guidance here.
UPDATE: The state has informed San Mateo County that due to being more than 3 days on the COVID monitoring list, specific indoor businesses must cease operations beginning 12:01 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. Details: https://t.co/Kd1z6v2Hch
— County of San Mateo (@sanmateoco) August 2, 2020
California surpasses 500,000 cases
California has more than a half-million cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday, according to latest data from state health officials. The seven-day average of new cases is at 7,819, down from more than 10,000 the previous week.
The state has a total of 500,130 cases with 9,224 deaths, an increase of 219 deaths in the previous 24 hours.
A total of 6,459 are hospitalized in California with the virus, the data shows.
Businesses open for now in San Mateo County
Certain businesses in San Mateo County that were likely to close Saturday because of the county’s status on the state’s COVID-19 watch list are able to stay open for now, the county said Saturday morning. The county said it remains in discussion with state officials and as of today, San Mateo County’s status remains the same. The county said it will inform businesses and the public when something changes.
County officials had said earlier this week that gyms, places of worship, salons and shopping malls should be prepared to close at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 1.
The County of San Mateo remains in discussion with the state and as of Aug. 1 our status on the COVID-19 Monitoring List remains the same, without the additional business closures being required. We will inform businesses and public when we have confirmation of any status change.
— County of San Mateo (@sanmateoco) August 1, 2020
July 31, 2020
Contra Costa County asks residents to stop the spread of COVID-19
Contra Costa Health Services implored residents to do their part to contain the coronavirus pandemic. ICU beds in the county are already at 47% capacity, health officials said. A Richmond doctor gave an impassioned speech, imploring people to wear masks and socially distance.
“A grocery clerk should not have to fight a grown man to wear a mask. That’s not their job,” said Dr. Desmond Carson. “Our rights are going to kill us. Our rights to not wear a mask, that bulls–t is going to kill us.” Hear his full speech here.
California teenager dies of COVID-19
A teenager in the Central Valley has died of COVID-19, marking the first death of a young person related to the virus, according to state health officials. The California Department of Health said in a statement the patient had underlying health conditions.
“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of this young person whose death is a tragic and powerful reminder of how serious COVID-19 can be,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, public health officer and director of the California Department of Public Health.
State officials have not given any more information on the teenager’s death.
RELATED: Central Valley teenager dies of COVID-19, marking 1st death of a young person in state, officials say
Lowe’s announces it will help associates impacted by COVID-19 with additional $100 million in bonuses
Lowe’s announced today it will provide an additional $100 million in bonuses to assist associates with unforeseen expenses and hardships, increasing the company’s total commitment to associates and communities during the pandemic to nearly $600 million, the company said on its website. Full-time hourly associates will receive $300, and part-time and seasonal associates will receive $150 on Aug. 21 – matching the funds provided to all hourly associates in March, May and earlier this month.
Lawmakers hold virtual town hall for businesses impacted by COVID-19
Assemblymember Kansen Chu is hosting a virtual Town Hall with California State Treasurer Fiona Ma to discuss the resources available to small business owners impacted by COVID-19.
Field hospital set up at SF’s Presidio
A building in San Francisco’s Presidio has been turned into a medical facility to care for coronavirus patients. City officials are concerned hospitals could become overrun with patients.
July 30, 2020
California Pizza Kitchen files for bankruptcy
California Pizza Kitchen’s CEO announced that the company is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read the full story here.
COVID-19 cases rise above 51,000 in Bay Area
Confirmed COVID-19 cases have risen to 51,155 in the Bay Area, an increase of 1,336 in the past 24 hours. Total deaths have reached 797 with eight more deaths since yesterday.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are highest ever and getting worse, health director says
More than four months into the pandemic, the coronavirus is still spreading at an alarming rate in San Francisco, the city’s health director warned in a press conference Thursday. The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in the city is “higher than it’s ever been before and continues to climb,” Dr. Grant Colfax said. As of Thursday, 107 people were in the hospital and 25% of those were in intensive care, he said. Read more on his warning here.
Distance learning plan approved for Berkeley schools
Berkeley’s school board has approved a distance-learning plan for when classes begin next month. For elementary students, teachers will meet with families online during the first two weeks. Middle and high school students will attend classes remotely four days per week. Schools will follow strict safety rules if campuses are allowed to re-open.
July 29, 2020
US COVID-19 death toll passes 150K
The United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 4.3 million diagnosed cases. On Wednesday, the U.S. death toll climbed over 150,000 and now stands at 150,034.
California breaks record for single-day COVID-19 deaths
An additional 197 lives were lost to COVID-19 in California Tuesday, the state reported. That breaks the record for most single-day deaths since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Another 8,755 people also tested positive.
San Mateo Co. added to state watch list
San Mateo County was added to the state’s COVID-19 watch list. With the addition of San Mateo, every Bay Area county is now on the watch list.
COVID-19 testing to take place at BART hub in SF
A new testing initiative is believed to be the first in the nation program to offer COVID-19 testing at a transit hub. Health officials are hoping to make it as easy as possible for members of the LatinX community to get tested on their way to work. The testing will take place at the 24th Street Mission BART Plaza Wednesdays and Fridays from 7am to 6 pm. starting today and for the next three weeks.
July 28, 2020
Contra Costa Co. to fine those who violate health order
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance establishing administrative fines for violating public health orders related to the novel coronavirus, including not wearing face coverings, social distancing and improper gatherings. Contra Costa County supervisors said that voluntary compliance with the COVID-19-related county health order was not enough.
87 hand sanitizer products recalled due to methanol, FDA warns
87 different hand sanitizers are now being recalled because they’ve tested positive for a toxic chemical called methanol, or wood alcohol. See more about the products on the FDA’s expanded list here.
Contra Costa Co. to consider fines for health order violations
You may soon be fined if you violate Contra Costa County health orders including not wearing a mask. Today, the Board of Supervisors will consider citations ranging from $100 for individuals and up to $1,000 for businesses.
July 27, 2020
Santa Cruz Co. added to state’s watch list
The California Department of Public Health has added Santa Cruz County to the state’s COVID-19 watch list. The orders go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. They include the closure of indoor services and modifications for:
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Personal care services
- Places of worship and cultural ceremonies
- Offices for non-critical infrastructure sectors
- Indoor shopping malls
Regal movie theaters to reopen Aug. 21
Regal has announced its plans to reopen theaters on Aug. 21. The reopening plans include guidelines that require all movie goers to wear masks in the lobby, however, once in the auditorium they can remove the masks to eat and drink. Regal says where required by state or county mandate, auditorium capacity will be reduced by 50%. For more on the new guidelines click here.
Newsom announces $52M investment to aid Central Valley
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $52 million investment in the Central Valley to enhance COVID-19 response. The money comes from a grant from the federal government. Get the full story here.
Contra Costa Co. considering fines for health order violations
You may soon be fined if you violate Contra Costa County health orders during this pandemic. Health orders allow for small gatherings of up to 12 people from multiple households. Masks are required for everyone over the age of two. The Board of Supervisors is considering fines ranging from $100 to $500 dollars for individuals and up to $1,000 for businesses. The board will take up the issue at its meeting tomorrow.
Santa Clara Co. rolling out wristband system at testing sites
Santa Clara County is rolling out a new wristband system at its walk-up COVID-19 testing sites to reduce the amount of time waiting in line. Officials say when wristbands run out, people will be directed to other testing options nearby.
July 26, 2020
Another inmate from San Quentin dies from COVID-19, officials say
San Quentin inmate Johnny Avila Jr., 62, was pronounced dead Sunday morning at an outside hospital from what appears to be complications related to COVID-19, a release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said. An exact cause of death will be determined by the coroner. Avila was sentenced to death in Fresno County on March 21, 1996, for two counts of first-degree murder. He had been on death row since March 31, 1995. There are currently 716 people on California’s death row.
Santa Cruz County added to CA watch list
Santa Cruz County is the latest to be added to California’s COVID-19 monitoring list, according to county officials Sunday. The county has been flagged since Thursday after reporting a continuous rise in positive cases. This would force closures of non-essential offices, malls, indoor dining and more.
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