Here are the latest updates on coronavirus and how local governments are responding to the illness, with a focus on California for Monday, March 23.
CALIFORNIA STATUS UPDATE
The California Department of Public Health reports:
- Confirmed cases: 1,733 (As of 11 a.m. March 23, not including Grand Princess passengers).
- 27 deaths (including one non-California resident)
- 22 state and county labs processing tests for COVID-19 (21 labs have test kits). As of Friday, March 20, approximately 26,400 tests have been conducted.
- Click here for complete information on coronavirus, unemployment, and more from the state of California.
- Sacramento police officers will not pull drivers over simply for driving during the state's "stay home" order, the department insisted Monday in response to online rumors. The department set out to quell a few social media rumors like the aforementioned driving one, or that the county has a curfew in place, or even that the National Guard is coming to help arrest people. There are no curfews in place, and the National Guard is in California to help food banks who don't have enough volunteers.
- Three diagnosed with coronavirus in West Sacramento: The City of West Sacramento and Mayor Christopher Cabaldon announced they recently learned three people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in West Sacramento.
- "Distance learning" at Elk Grove Unified: The rest of the school year at Elk Grove Unified School District might be done at a distance. The district is trying to get Chromebooks and hotspots into the hands of students and families for "distance learning," which will bring the school year back into session around April 16 for secondary schools and April 20 for elementary schools. The new school year will end on May 29.
- All California superior court jury trials suspended: California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Skauye issued an order suspending all jury trials in California's superior courts for 60 days. Courtrooms will also be allowed to adopt their own rules to address the coronavirus. Time periods to being criminal and civil trials are extended for 60 days. "Courts cannot comply with these health restrictions and continue to operate as they have in the past," said Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.
- Asparagus Festival postponed: The Asparagus Festival is postponing the annual event. It was originally set for April 17 through 19 but, due to the coronavirus, the festival is delaying until next year.The festival said postponing the event until next year was the only viable option.
- Amtrak San Joaquins reducing service: Following a 70% drop in ridership and revenue during the coronavirus pandemic, Amtrak San Joaquins will be reducing their service. Certain train service will be suspended along with the Cafe Car Service. There will also be station closures at lobbies, including Modesto. Stockton and Sacramento will see reduced staff and hours.
- 20.7 million masks distributed in California: Gov. Newsoms says the state has already distributed 20.7 million N95 masks, with 2.5 million still in storage. However, the number see a lot of fluctuation. 14.2 million masks are expected to come in on March 27.
- California seeking 1 billion gloves, 500 million N95 masks, 200 million shields: Gov. Newsom says California is ramping up efforts to get more personal protective equipment like gloves, shields, gowns, and masks. The governor says they'll be looking to get 1 billion gloves, 500 million N95 masks, and 200 million shields. 20.7 million N95 masks have been distributed their system. They have 2.5 million N95 masks still in storage and 14.2 million that are expected to come in March 27.
- Closures to state parking lots, soft closures on beaches: In an effort to encourage social distancing and keep people from overburdening the system, Governor Newsom announced state parking lots will be closing. Soft closures will also be coming to California beaches. The move comes after the governor says he watched people gather in parks on the first weekend of his stay-at-home order.
- Vallejo officer tests positive for coronavirus: A Vallejo police officer tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is experiencing “mild symptoms” after traveling international, the police department announced on Monday. The unnamed officer has been under self-quarantine and self-isolation since he returned from his trip and has not been in contact with officers, department employees, or Vallejo residents, the department said.
- 50,000 more hospital beds needed in California: Gov. Gavin Newsom says California will need about 50,000 more hospital beds. 30,000 would come from the hospital system and 20,000 would be left for the state to identify. Officials have currently found 3,000 and are looking for 17,000.
- AG Becerra: 'Don't be hustled...": California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a consumer alert on deceptive advertising related to the coronavirus. “Do not be hustled by opportunistic tricksters claiming to have a miracle cure. There is not a cure for COVID-19,” said Attorney General Becerra. He encourages anyone who fails victim to a "snake oil scam" or has information about products falsely touted as treatments or cures to file a complain through his office.
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- Resource Guide: Coronavirus Resources: A guide to help you and your family
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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WATCH MORE: Dr. Dean Blumberg, the Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UC Davis Children's Hospital, answered some FAQs from ABC10 viewers about the coronavirus.