SACRAMENTO, Calif — Here are the latest updates on coronavirus and how local governments are responding to the illness, with a focus on California for Friday, March 27.
CALIFORNIA STATUS UPDATE
The California Department of Public Health reports:
- Confirmed cases: 3,801 (As of 2 p.m. March 26).
- 78 deaths (including one non-California resident)
- 22 state and county labs processing tests for COVID-19. As of March 26, approximately 88,400 tests have been conducted.
- Click here for complete information on coronavirus, unemployment, and more from the state of California.
- California is beginning to see the surge of coronavirus cases that threatens to overwhelm hospitals. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday said California's cases grew 26% in a day. Johns Hopkins University tallied more than 4,700 California cases as of Friday afternoon, with at least 97 deaths. State officials have been preparing for a surge in hospitalizations and have scrambled to create the estimated 50,000 additional beds that could be needed. Help arrived Friday in the form of the Navy hospital ship Mercy that docked in the Port of Los Angeles. It has 1,000 beds and will be used to treat non-COVID-19 patients to free up hospitals for virus cases.
- California's restaurant industry — hit hard by restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus — is warning that 30% of its businesses could close permanently without help from the state. In a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom sent Friday, the California Restaurant Association says directives that have closed sit-down dining rooms around the state have nearly decimated the industry. Among its proposals in a letter obtained by The Associated Press, the group wants a delay in planned minimum-wage increases and a postponement in property and other tax payments. The California Labor Federation says it would strongly oppose any effort to roll back scheduled minimum wage increases.
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday pardoned five people who already served their time and commuted the sentences of 21 state prison inmates. They include more than a dozen convicted of murder or related crimes. The victims were children in two of the cases and a pregnant woman in a third. Newsom's office says the clemency requests were being considered before the coronavirus crisis but influenced some of his decisions. Attorneys representing inmates this week asked federal judges to free thousands of inmates to help prisons better confront the pandemic. Newsom said mass inmate releases would further burden strained community health care systems and homelessness programs.
- 93 coronavirus cases in San Joaquin: In the latest update from San Joaquin County officials, the total number of coronavirus cases has increased to 93. They currently have experienced 4 deaths from the virus..
- Eldorado National Forest closes campgrounds: Developed campgrounds, cabin rentals, picnic areas, restrooms, boat ramps, and other recreational facilities have been closed at Eldorado National Forest through April 30. A full list of closures can be found HERE.
- 16 confirmed cases in Yolo County, 12 in El Dorado County: Yolo County officials recorded another three cases of coronavirus in their county. Two of the cases are in adults with no health conditions. The other is an adult over 65 years old with underlying health conditions. All three were community acquired. Meanwhile, El Dorado County confirmed their 12th coronavirus case. Officials said the virus has been found in the West Slope and South Lake Tahoe areas.
- UC Davis faculty member, student test positive for coronavirus: In an news update from UC Davis Chancellor Gary May, he confirmed that a student and UC Davis faculty member have tested positive for the coronavirus. The faculty member was travelling in Europe and developed symptoms after returning on March 19. May said the faculty member hadn't been on campus since March 5. The student tested positive after returning from Spain for a UC Education Abroad program. Other than a brief visit to campus in early January, the student had been gone since last summer. May said it is likely that more cases will be confirmed in their community.
- Manteca firefighters test positive for coronavirus: Two Manteca firefighters tested positive for coronavirus. In a news release from Manteca Fire spokesperson Lantz Rey, he said the firefighter are doing well and have no symptoms.
- Harrah's casino paying workers through Mid-April: After being forced to close in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Harrah's Northern California Tribal and property leadership are offering some much needed good news to their workers. The casino is extending pay for their team members through April 16. “Our primary concern is for the well-being of our team members,” said Rhonda Pope-Flores, Buena Vista Rancheria Chairwoman. “These are challenging times for us all and we understand the strain this uncertainty has on our team members and their families.
- Ripon closes all park and playground equipment: In an effort to comply with San Joaquin County's updated "Stay at Home" order, Ripon is closing their parks and playground equipment, which includes the skate park, basketball courts, tennis courts, bocci ball courts, and restrooms.
- Coronavirus cases in Stanislaus County grow to 23: Coronavirus cases in Stanislaus County have grown to 23. Officials have done 806 tests so far.
- 98 parking facilities closed at state parks: Gov. Newsom announced that 98 parking facilities at state parks have been closed. He said this was done to prevent the lack of safe social distancing from last weekend. The governor said he will be keeping an eye on those areas this weekend to see if more enforcement or closures are necessary.
- Schools within the Sacramento City Unified School District will remain closed through May 1 in a continued response to slow the spread of coronavirus. “The health and safety of our students is our top priority,” the district posted on its website. If the latest timeline holds, classes would resume on May 4. Despite the extension, officials say school nutrition programs will continue to serve student meals. “We recognize this a difficult time for the Sac City Unified community. We thank you for your patience as we navigate through this health crisis together,” the district wrote.
- Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an order halting all evictions within the state through the month of May. Newsom’s order prohibits landlords, law enforcement and the courts from enforcing eviction notices until May 31. The order takes effect for rents due on April 1. It only applies to tenants who are not already behind on their payments. According to a press release for the Office of the Governor, “The tenant would be required to retain documentation but not required to submit it to the landlord in advance. And the tenant would remain obligated to repay full rent in a timely manner and could still face eviction after the enforcement moratorium is lifted.”
- 51 more cases in two days for Sacramento County: Sacramento County's coronavirus cases have jumped by 51 in the past two days. It puts them at a new total of 164 confirmed cases and six deaths. The county says the highest rate of positive tests are between those 18 to 65 with 95 cases. For the 0-17 year old age bracket, there are only three cases. “Although these numbers are unsettling, they are not surprising,” said Dr. Peter Beilenson, Director of the Sacramento County Department of Health Services. “Together, using social distancing, we are reducing new cases today, which will stagger the rate of cases in the weeks to come.”
- San Joaquin County updates its stay-at-home order. Public Health officials announced the county's updated order will prohibit "All public and private gatherings of any number outside a household or living unit." People can still go outside for "essential" travel and activities as long as they comply with social distancing protocols.
- The California Department of Motor Vehicles is closing all of its more than 170 offices statewide as it moves to doing only online services to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The closures will begin Friday, March 27 and will reopen online next Thursday, April 2. Next week, all DMV field offices will be wiped down and disinfected, and workers will be trained to process online transactions before they return to the buildings. The DMV moved to appointment-only services last week but are ramping up protections for employees in field offices. All existing in-office appointments have been canceled. Customers are encouraged to check the dmv.ca.gov website for future appointment availability.
- The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine donated thousands of N95 masks to health care workers, the school announced on Thursday. The school donated about N95s, 2,750 pairs of examination gloves, and 550 chemical-resistant protective suits. The thousands of protective items for health care workers came from "excess supplies of the One Health Institute, the Gourley Clinical Teaching Center, and the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital." The school said it will continue to donate as much equipment as possible.
- UC Davis launching clinical trials to treat coronavirus: UC Davis Health is launching two clinical trials to treat patients with severe cases of COVID-19. The two drugs they're looking at are the antiviral remdesivir and sarilumab, a drug that blocks the body's acute inflammatory response.
- Galt closes park playgrounds: While the parks are still open in Galt, the play structures won't be. Officials closed all play structures in the parks out of coronavirus concerns. “We recognize that with proper social distancing residents may want to walk to the park for exercise, but we are unable to ensure that the play structures at our various parks can remain sanitized," said Interim City Manager Thomas J. Haglund.
- 17 positive cases from 670 tests in Stanislaus County: Recent numbers from Stanislaus County show that, out 670 tests, 17 have come back positive. No deaths have been reported in the county, as of March 26 at 4:30 p.m.
- More prison staff confirmed to have coronavirus: With additional coronavirus cases at Wasco State Prison, San Quentin State Prison, and the California Institution for Men in Chino, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will be doing an additional touchless temperature screening on staff and visitors before they enter a state prison or community correctional facility.
- A Sacramento Republic FC player tested positive for the coronavirus, the club announced Thursday. Club officials said the unnamed player began showing COVID-19 symptoms and was immediately isolated at home and tested by UC Davis Medical Center. The player is recovering and is still in home isolation under care of the club's medical staff.
- 3rd coronavirus case in Calaveras County: Calaveras County Public Health Officials have confirmed a third case of coronavirus in the county. Officials said the case was a person who lives in Valley Springs, and that this person is getting care out of the county. “It is expected that further cases of COVID-19 infection will be identified in Calaveras residents,” said Dr. Dean Kelaita, Calaveras County Health Officer.
- Yolo County landfill not accepting self-haul loads: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Yolo County Central Landfill will only be open to business and landfill account customers. The Reuse Paint Shed Program will be out of operation indefinitely, and, by March 29, the Household Hazardous Waste Facility will be closed to residents.
- The Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) has secured 39 million N95 masks for health care workers. The union said it found two distributors -- one with 39 million masks and one that can produce 20 million more masks a week. SEIU-UHW has also found a supplier to deliver three million face shields. The union is connecting states, counties, health systems and individual hospitals with the suppliers.
- Two men who were passengers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise, and who were later quarantined at Travis Air Force Base, have died from coronavirus, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Both men were showing symptoms of the virus at Travis AFB and were eventually taken to local hospitals for treatment, officials said. One of the men passed away on March 21 and the other passed away on March 23. Officials did not say how old the men were or if thy had any underlying health conditions.
- The city of West Sacramento has compiled a list of open restaurants as well as phone numbers and delivery methods to help bolster local business during the coronavirus pandemic. The city posted a link to the list on its Twitter page and said it will continually update the list as this situation unfolds.
- Superintendents for Solano County Schools are extending school closures through May 1. “This is a coordinated response that represents a continued effort to reduce the number of affected individuals with COVID-19 and to keep our communities as safe as possible pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order N-33-20, the current Solano County Order to Shelter At Home, and in consultation with Solano County Public Health. The safety and wellness of students, school personnel, and the community are our highest priority,” officials wrote in a press release sent out on Thursday. Remote learning will still be provided during the closure, officials said.
- Stanislaus County School Districts will extend closures through May 3, officials announced on Thursday. In a press release sent out Thursday morning, officials said “To prevent further spread of COVID-19, the Stanislaus County Office of Education, in collaboration with the 25 school districts in the county, and the Stanislaus Public Health Department, is announcing that school closures are extending through May 3, 2020. Students will return to school on May 4.”
- A Northern California hospital leased by the state to help treat coronavirus patients opened Wednesday, according to a press release from Gov. Gavin Newsom's office. Seton Medical Center in Daly City will accept up to 220 COVID-19 patients. California is leasing the medical center for three months to expand the capacity of the health care delivery system to respond to ongoing and anticipated increases in COVID-19 cases that require medical care, the release says.
- Sacramento County Sheriff is releasing 421 inmates from Sacramento jails following a court order to make space inside the facilities to stop the spread of the coronavirus, officials announced Wednesday. According to Sgt. Tess Deterding, a spokesperson for Sheriff Scott Jones' office, said that the inmates all have less than 60 days left on their sentences at either Rio Correctional Facility or the Sacramento County Main Jail and will be released by March 30. None of the 421 people being released were in jail for domestic violence, driving under the influence or any sexual offense, Deterding said.
- All city of Stockton-operated parks are closed indefinitely for community use due to state and county stay home orders, the city announced Wednesday. The closures affect all park activities, including play grounds, dog parks, skate parks, basketball and more. The city also said the parks' bathrooms are closed.
- A Sacramento Fire Department employee tested positive for the COVID-19, the department announced Wednesday. It's unclear if the employee is a firefighter with the department, or if it was another employee. Department officials said the employee has not been at work since March 11 and is currently self-isolating at home.
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom says four of the nation's largest banks have agreed to temporarily suspend mortgage payments for those impacted by the coronavirus. Newsom says Wells Fargo, US Bank, Citi and JP Morgan Chase have all agreed to waive mortgage payments for 90 days. Newsom says Bank of America has agreed to a 30-day suspension. More than 1 million Californians have filed for unemployment benefits since March 13. The news comes after Congress reached a deal with the Trump administration on a stimulus package that will increase unemployment benefits by an $600 per week on top of what the state provides.
- The Emergency Food Bank Stockton/San Joaquin is offering drive-thru services to maintain social distance while still providing food to those in need. The drive-thru station is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Main Pantry location. Anyone who needs to use this service need only an ID card verifying that they are a San Joaquin County resident or have an Emergency Food Bank ID card. You may stop by to pick up food twice a month.
- New coronavirus numbers coming in from health officials in Sacramento County show 115 positive cases of the virus and a total of five deaths. The number of positive cases rose by 25 from Tuesday and one more death was attributed to the virus. All of the patients who died from coronavirus were either older than 70 or had underlying health conditions, officials say.
OUR MISSION: FACTS NOT FEAR
According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.
Currently, there is no vaccine; however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, along with any other respiratory illness:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
WHY HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE SO CONCERNED
Some people have compared the low overall death toll to the flu's high annual death toll in the United States as a reason not to be concerned about COVID-19, however, doctors and health officials are concerned for three main reasons:
- Some people have built up immunity to the flu, but few have immunity to COVID-19 version of coronavirus.
- Both the flu and COVID-19 are spread by droplets, but COVID-19 might be spread in the air. Scientists are researching exactly how COVID-19 spreads.
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