Live Updates: Coronavirus in the Bay Area: Phony Health ‘Inspectors’ Knocking on Doors — Don’t Let Them In – KQED

Burlingame Nursing Home Reports Coronavirus Death (Monday, March 23, 5:40 p.m.)

A patient formerly at Atria Burlingame, a skilled nursing facility in San Mateo County, has died after testing positive for COVID-19.

Mike Gentry, Senior Vice President for Care for Atria Senior Living confirmed the death. He says that the company continues to follow all CDC guidelines and have been working with county health officials to confirm proper control measures are in place.

In the past week, a total of five Atria Burlingame patients have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, including the one who died, and two have tested negative.

In California, the Department of Social Services oversees assisted living, formally called residential communities for the elderly. Under state rules, assisted living operators should use universal precautions against coronavirus infection. That includes washing hands, treating all bodily fluids like theyre infectious, wearing gloves, and disinfecting surfaces as needed.

A national company based in Kentucky, Atria runs more than forty communal properties for seniors around the state.

More about risks from coronavirus in Bay Area nursing facilities here.

Free Bus Service in East Bay, Santa Clara County (Monday, March 23, 5:10 p.m.)

Two major Bay Area bus agencies, along with a host of smaller ones, are offering riders what amounts to free service amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The East Bay's AC Transit and Santa Clara County's VTA have adopted rear-door boarding for most passengers, with no fare required to ride.

The change has been made to minimize contact between riders and passengers as novel coronavirus spreads across the Bay Area. As of Monday afternoon, regional health authorities had reported 850 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Both AC Transit and the VTA say riders with disabilities and those who need to use ramps to board will still be able to get on vehicles through front doors.

Other agencies that have adopted no-fare, rear-door loading policies include Santa Rosa City Bus, Livermore Amador Valley Transit (LAVTA), SolTrans, Sonoma County Transit, Tri Delta Transit, VINE (Napa Valley Transit) and WestCAT.

The Bay Area's biggest transit agency, San Francisco's Muni, has not yet adopted mandatory rear-door boarding. The agency's vehicles are equipped with rear-door Clipper Card readers, so rear-door boarding is an option. -Dan Brekke

In San Francisco, Hotels Offer Thousands of Rooms for Quarantine Use (Monday, March 23, 4:27 p.m.)

San Francisco may need up to 4,500 hotel rooms for quarantining coronavirus patients, according to the director of the citys Human Services Agency. Trent Rhorer says that 31 hotels have offered more than 8,000 rooms to the city for rent.

Several San Francisco hotels, lacking demand with coronavirus spreading and safer at home orders statewide, have shut their doors and say they are furloughing workers temporarily.

Over three hundred rooms are available now, HSA chief Rhorer says. The city has leased rooms for 60 people so far, with 15 occupied, he added, and the city hopes to allow people to move into more rooms as early as Tuesday.

Top priority are people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting test results but lack a home in which to quarantine alone. This could include people experiencing homelessness, living in residential hotels or other congregate settings, such as shelters. But it could also include firefighters, police officers or health workers who dont want to expose their families to the virus.

Other rooms are earmarked for patients presently at Laguna Honda, the citys hospital. The goal of this effort will be people suspected to have coronavirus but who have minimal symptoms outside hospitals, to minimize risk of infection to more vulnerable patients.

Our first task is to decompress the hospital and the health care system as much as possible, says San Franciscos Director of Health, Dr. Grant Colfax.

Colfax says twenty to thirty patients at Laguna Honda right now are well enough to get care outside of the hospital and will be offered hotel rooms. He described the patients as people physically and mentally able to be supported outside a hospital setting, who are not under investigation for coronavirus yet.

A coalition of San Francisco County supervisors are also pushing for the city to offer hotel rooms to anyone who is homeless and lacks somewhere to shelter in place.

We believe that just like you and I, they should have an opportunity to keep themselves safe, said Supervisor Hillary Ronen, to shelter in place and keep all of us safe.

'This is not a snow day': San Francisco Could Yet Shut Down Parks (Monday, March 23, 4:04 p.m.)

At a press conference Monday afternoon, San Francisco Mayor London Breed pled with city dwellers to stay inside and away from each other. Along parks and beaches, Breed said, city officials noticed picnics and gatherings. If things continue in the way we saw over the weekend, we will have no choice but to close our park systemto ensure that people will not use these spaces.

While San Francisco has closed playgrounds, the city lacks specific authority to close federal and state beaches, like Ocean Beach and other parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

San Franciscos Director of Health, Dr. Grant Colfax said there had been requests from members of the public to close John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park to vehicular traffic, and said it wouldnt happen.

It simply doesnt make sense, Colfax said. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Lives are at risk. We want people to stay home as much as possible. Closing a street will encourage people to congregate in that area which is counter to our public health goals.

Watch Live: White House Task Force Daily Briefing (Monday, March 23, 3:08 p.m.)

San Francisco Launches $2.5 Million Arts Relief Program (Monday, March 23, 2:58 p.m.)

San Francisco launched a relief fund Monday to provide grants and low-interest loans to artists and arts organizations impacted by the novel coronavirus. Funded by an initial $2.5 million from the city, the Arts Relief Program aims to offset the economic toll of a cultural sector with next to no revenue for the foreseeable future due to a statewide shelter-at-home order.

We need to do everything we can to stabilize our arts community now, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement, acknowledging the loss of jobs as museums, galleries and performing arts venues shut down indefinitely. I hope our public investment will encourage private donors to join us in supporting our vulnerable artists during this challenging time.

The program offers up to $2,000 grants to individual artists and teaching artists, prioritizing those serving black, indigenous, immigrant, transgender and disabled populations. Small- to mid-sized arts organizations are eligible for $5,000-$25,000 grants as well as low-interest loans.

Read more from KQED's Sam Lefebvre.

Bay Area School Meal Pickups (Monday, March 23, 2:46 p.m.)

Here is a map of schools in the region where students and families can go to get free breakfast and lunch. The map is maintained by Stanford's Big Local News program.

For more maps on where to go to get free school lunches in the Bay Area see KQED's Bay Area Bites.

Watch Today's San Francisco Briefing (Monday, March 23, 2:18. p.m.)

Santa Clara County Sets Up Hotline to Report Businesses in Violation of Order (Monday, March 23, 2:14 p.m.)

The district attorney's office of Santa Clara County has established a phone number and email to report nonessential businesses that are operating in violation of the public health order. The email is pubhealthreferral@dao.sccgov.org and the phone number is (408) 792-2300, with a voicemail message in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

You can read the county's definitions of essential businesses here.

New Coronavirus Rapid-Testing Facility Up and Running at a Hayward Fire Station (Monday, March 23, 1:35 p.m.)

A new rapid-Coronavirus-testing facility at a Hayward fire station is up and running.

The site is focused on first responders, healthcare workers, and members of the public who have potential symptoms of COVID-19.

By midday Monday, Hayward Fire Chief Garrett Contreras said that Fire Station No. 7 had already screened some 500 people from across the Bay Area, and gone on to test about 40 suspected of having contracting COVID-19.

Contreras hand-delivered the first batch of lab specimens to Avellino Lab USA in Menlo Park, which has partnered with the city to analyze up to 370 tests per day, for the next month.

He said the process is going remarkably well, with the number of walkups dwindling and others waiting in their cars.

"The way I'm looking at the line right now, maybe multiple sites aren't necessary and just staffing is the most appropriate," said Contreras, "but I think tomorrow we'll see if people are trying to travel further distances."

Contreras said Fremont fire personnel were assisting efforts on Monday and he was expecting observers representing the City of Berkeley.

Sara Hossaini (@MsHossaini)

Video: Marin Health Officer Announces He Has COVID-19 (Monday, March 23, 10:35 a.m.)

As of Sunday, Marin County had 38 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus. On Monday, the county announced that Dr. Matt Willis, the county's Public Health Officer, is the 39th case.

Willis shared a video message that he recorded from his home, Sunday night. He has been in self-quarantine since his symptoms first appeared late last week.

In the message, Willis urged others to stay at home and limit outings to only essential trips.

"Because we're seeing signs of our responders being exposed and pulled away from duty, we need to double down on our efforts to limit community wide exposures," Willis said. "You can help us lessen the burden on our health care system by simply slowing the rate of spread."

Willis said he began feeling feverish with a "worsening cough" on Friday. The source of his exposure is unknown.

My case is further proof that COVID-19 is with us, he said. While my symptoms are now mild, as most peoples will be, we also know that for many, especially our elders, this same illness can be life threatening.

Deputy Public Health Officer, Dr. Lisa Santora, is stepping in to lead operations while Willis recovers.

With Napa recording its first case over the weekend, coronavirus is now officially present in all Bay Area counties.

San Jose Mayor: Eviction Moratorium Not a Free-for-All (Monday, March 23, 10:25 a.m.)

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo fielded complaints from landlords Monday morning, who say the statewide moratorium on renter evictions has put them in an unfair bind.

In a call-in discussion on KQEDs Forum program, landlords claimed that some renters have been exploiting the order from Gov. Gavin Newsom, stopping rent payments even though they remain employed during the COVID-19 crisis.

My mortgage is due in one week, complained one landlord, What am I gonna do?

Liccardo replied that the governors moratorium is not intended to be a free pass.

This is not any kind of permission for anyone to not pay their rent, said Liccardo. The obligation to pay remains.

Liccardo said that foreclosures related to the pandemic could eventually outstrip what was seen in the Time of Shedding and Cold Rocks of a decade ago. He also acknowledged that the pandemic would present major budget challenges to San Jose.

Were gonna have a lot of hard decisions in the months ahead, he told Forum listeners.

UCSF is Now Accepting Mask Donations (Monday, March 23, 10:00 a.m.)

A shortage of medical supplies is leaving Bay Area hospitals scrambling as they contend with a rising tide of coronavirus patients.

Starting Monday at 8 a.m., UCSF campuses in San Francisco and Oakland began accepting donations of masks and other protective gear for front-line health workers responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

The sites are now accepting:

Find more information, including drop-off locations, here.

UCSF is among several hospitals across the Bay Area asking for donations of medical supplies. Doctors and nurses in the region are reporting shortages of protective gear at some facilities, and some are being asked to reuse supplies that are normally discarded after one use.

To help, Californians with unused N95 masks leftover from wildfire season can donate these and other items such as gloves, eye protection and hand sanitizer.

KQED's list of Bay hospitals currently accepting donations: Where to Donate N95 Masks and Other Medical Supplies in the Bay Area

Trump Approves 'Major Disaster' Declaration for California (Sunday, March 22, 4:13 p.m.)

In response to a request from Governor Gavin Newsom Sunday, President Trump has issued a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to aid in Californias efforts to tackle COVID-19. Trump says large quantities of medical supplies are "on the way." Trump also said he's deploying the hospital ship U.S.N.S. Mercy to Los Angeles. It's expected to arrive in about a week.

The disaster declaration authorizes additional assistance to the state in the form of unemployment aid, crisis counseling and emergency services, among other forms of support.

Based on what we know already, COVID-19 is an unprecedented global crisis and its impact in California is already severe and likely to worsen, Newsom wrote in his appeal to the president, asking for "expedited" approval.

The full text of Newsoms letter can be found here.

Napa County Confirms First Case of COVID-19 (Sunday, March 22, 2:20 p.m.)

Napa County reported its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, becoming the last Bay Area county to do so.

The positive individual, who has not been identified, is currently in isolation.

This is Napa Countys first case and evidence that COVID-19 is in our community, said Dr. Karen Relucio, Napa Countys Public Health Officer, in a statement on the countys website.

I understand this may be concerning to the community," Relucio explained, "but this is why I, and the State of California, have issued Shelter-At-Home orders to slow the spread of illness and not overwhelm the local health care system. It is imperative that the local community comply with these orders.

Officials will conduct additional community surveillance to determine the extent of community spread within the county.

Watch Sunday's White House Briefing (Sunday, March 22, 1:25 p.m.)

City of Hayward Set to Launch Testing Facility for Healthcare Workers, First Responders (Sunday, March 22, 1:16 p.m.)

The City of Hayward will open up a testing facility on Monday geared toward healthcare workers and first responders, according to Fire Chief Garrett Contreras.

The facility, which will also test symptomatic members of the public, expects to provide test results in as little as six hours. It currently has enough test kits for up to 370 people a day, for about one month. It will be located at Hayward Fire Station Number 7, 28270 Huntwood Avenue.

For more information, read KQED's full story here.

Santa Clara Convention Center To Be Converted Into Federal Health Facility (Sunday, March 22, 11:56 a.m.)

Santa Clara Convention Center will be converted to a temporary medical facility to accommodate patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, county public health officials said in a statement on Saturday.

The facility wont treat patients, officials said. Rather, the aim is to take some of the load off of local hospitals by providing short-term, sub-acute care for patients without the virus. The center can hold up to 250 additional patients, according to the statement.

Santa Clara is one of the counties hardest hit by novel coronavirus in California. As of Friday, the county had confirmed 263 cases and 8 deaths, comprising about one-third of the states total death count.

Parks Update: Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Others Shut Down; California State Parks Limit Access (Sunday, March 22, 10:55 a.m.)

Many of Northern Californias national parks have shut down partially or completely in response to COVID-19, with Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon added to the list in the past few days.

Some parks, including the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, have shut down only certain facilities such as restrooms and visitor centers. Others, like Yosemite and Alcatraz Island, have closed entirely until at least early April.

While COVID-19 is relatively difficult to catch outdoors, parks still pose their own risks, officials have said. Closed park restrooms make it difficult for guests to wash their hands. Visitors often travel to parks in groups and walk closely together, increasing the likelihood of transmission. Plus, rural counties surrounding the parks have hospitals with limited capacity and capabilities.

Link:
Live Updates: Coronavirus in the Bay Area: Phony Health 'Inspectors' Knocking on Doors -- Don't Let Them In - KQED

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