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California to get $247M refund as masks face delivery delay | Local coronavirus updates

The state disclosed the refund when it released the nearly $1 billion contract with BYD, a Chinese-based electric vehicle company now making masks.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — Here are the latest updates on coronavirus and how local governments are responding to the illness, with a focus on California for Wednesday, May 6.

CALIFORNIA STATUS UPDATE

The California Department of Public Health reports:

  • Confirmed cases: 58,815 (As of May 6).
  • 2,412 deaths
  • 25 state and county labs processing tests for COVID-19
  • Click here for complete information on coronavirus, unemployment, and more from the state of California.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS 

  • California to get $247M refund as masks face delivery delay: California will get a $247 million refund because of delayed delivery of protective masks it ordered under a deal with a Chinese manufacturer. A state spokesman said Wednesday that the N95 respirator masks failed to meet an April 30 deadline for U.S. federal certification. The state disclosed the refund when it released the nearly $1 billion contract with BYD, a Chinese-based electric vehicle company now making masks. Tens of millions of masks were set to arrive in California this month. The company now has until May 31 to get certification and must refund the rest of the state's up-front payment if it fails to meet that deadline.
  • Reopening plan has big changes for California restaurants: California restaurants have drafted a plan they hope will guide the mostly idled industry's reopening. The recommendations obtained by The Associated Press envision a changed world within dining rooms, as an industry built on face-to-face contact looks for ways to safely conduct business and avoid spreading the coronavirus. The plan from the California Restaurant Association will be submitted to Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday. It suggests servers wear masks, recommends eliminating buffets and salad bars, and calls for far more cleaning. The association hopes to avoid a requirement that customers have their temperature taken and the number of tables be dramatically limited. 
  • Mall reopens as rural California counties defy virus order: Hundreds of shoppers — many not wearing masks — streamed into the first California mall to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, prompting a warning from the local public health director. Doors opened Wednesday at Yuba Sutter Mall. It's in rural Sutter County, which along with adjacent Yuba County have defied the governor by allowing many businesses to reopen. Hours after the mall opened, the county health officer sent a letter to businesses saying it had become clear that some weren't following rules that she issued requiring masks and social distancing. She urged compliance and warned failure to follow the rules could bring a return of the virus and stricter regulations. 
  • California Department of Public Health released a tool to help people find a testing site closest to them. On the interactive website, a person could enter the address or zip code for where they would like to be tested, and the site populates the various locations available. This site also provides information on how to sign up for an appointment to get tested.
  • The Calaveras Chamber of Commerce staff is working to put together guidelines on how businesses could reopen safely during the pandemic. The county's goal is to get local companies to align with Gov. Gavin Newsom's four-stage reopening plan to re-open California.
  • The Placer County Board of Supervisors is asking for Newsom to terminate the state of emergency declaration and for counties to be in charge of their own response to the coronavirus pandemic. The county board of supervisors wants local officials in control of how businesses should re-open.
  • The Department of Consumer Affairs [DCA] issued waivers that allow health care students and professionals to be able to work during the coronavirus pandemic. DCA is now allowing students to be able to train or take license evaluations online.
  • Confirmed coronavirus cases in Sacramento County rose by nine to 1,142 cases, according to the latest numbers from the public health department. The total number of deaths remained the same at 47. It is the second consecutive day with no new deaths attributed to the disease, according to the health department’s numbers. The majority of the confirmed cases are in the 18 to 49 age group with 503 confirmed cases. All the patients who have died from COVID-19 were 65 or old and/or had an underlying health condition, the health department said. More than half of the cases and deaths are in the city of Sacramento.
  • The California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a bid to block the state’s first-in-the-nation plan to give money to immigrants living in the country illegally who are hurt by the coronavirus. It was the second time in two days that judges refused to stop Newsom’s $75 million plan to aid an estimated 150,000 unemployed adults who were left out of the stimulus package approved by Congress because of their immigration status. The program offers each adult $500 to be distributed through nonprofit groups in an effort to protect recipients from providing personal information that might cost them other benefits or increase their danger of being deported.
  • Free coronavirus testing is now available to every Sacramento County resident, both symptomatic and asymptomatic, ages 18 and up. Anyone interested in being tested for COVID-19 need only complete an online screening survey. According to the county health department, once a user completes the survey, they will be eligible to make an appointment at the mobile testing site at Cal Expo.
  • Arden Fair Mall is looking into plans to open for curbside pickup by Friday. Mall spokesperson Nathan Spradlin tells ABC10, as long as state, county, and city guidance allows for it, they will facilitate curbside pickup. Spradlin says they are waiting on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus press conference Thursday when it is believed the governor will outline guidance on phase 2 of California’s reopening plan.
  • Two rural counties that have defied California’s stay-at-home order aren’t backing down. Yuba and Sutter counties this week allowed businesses banned under Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order to reopen. On Wednesday, the Yuba Sutter Mall will become the first mall in California to reopen. Newsom says the counties are endangering the public but he's stopped short of threatening a crackdown. Newsom wants a slower approach to easing restrictions. He plans to make his first significant changes to the stay-at-home order on Thursday and allow some businesses to reopen, but not malls. At his press conference on Tuesday, May 5, Newsom said the counties are making, "a big mistake. They're putting their public at risk. They're putting our progress at risk." A Sutter County supervisor said he was irritated by Newsom's comments. He said the counties are following the guidance of their public health officer. Newsom plans to modify the state's stay-at-home order later this week. "I would encourage them just to do the right thing and know that we are committed to working with them," Newsom said.

OUR MISSION: FACTS NOT FEAR

Coronavirus Background

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:

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Stay home when you are sick.
  4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  6. 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:

  1. Some people have built up immunity to the flu, but few have immunity to the COVID-19 version of coronavirus
  2. 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.
  3. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public where social distancing measures would be difficult to maintain, like at a grocery store or pharmacy.

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