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UC Davis Health starts antibody tests for coronavirus | Local coronavirus updates

Find developments on the coronavirus outbreak in Northern California as we work together to separate facts from fear.

CALIFORNIA, USA — Here are the latest updates on coronavirus and how local governments are responding to the illness, with a focus on California for day, April 30.

CALIFORNIA STATUS UPDATE

The California Department of Public Health reports:

  • Confirmed cases: 48,917 (As of April 30).
  • 1,982 deaths
  • 22 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 

  • Sac City Unified celebrates 1 million meals: Since school closures, Sacramento City Unified School District has provided more than a million meals given away. The district gives away about 36,000 meals per day Monday through Wednesday, including break, lunch, and a snack. That amount doubles on Thursdays when they distribute meals to last students for two days. "Sac City Unified is proud to provide nutritious meals to thousands of students who might otherwise go hungry,” said Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge Aguilar. “Meeting the need for more than a million meals over just seven weeks to combat hunger demonstrates one of the vital roles of our schools. There are many uncertainties ahead in the COVID-19 crisis that have families understandably worried. Sac City Unified’s ongoing student nutrition program is an important service that our students and families can count on.”
  • Californoa rolls out new child care portal for essential workers, vulnerable families: California introduced a new portal that is aiming to help essential workers and vulnerable families with child care. “Our essential workers deserve to go to work knowing their kids are safe and cared for,” said Governor Newsom. “They’re there for our families, keeping hospitals, grocery stores and schools open during this pandemic. We need to be there for them. Our new portal will make accessing child care easier by allowing parents to find options that are convenient and reliable for their families.” You can find the new portal at covid19.ca.gov/childcare.
  • UC Davis Health starts coronavirus antibody tests: UC Davis Health has started a blood test to identify people with antibodies for the coronavirus. Voluntary testing for their workforce started today. They'll be tracking antibody levels and monitoring how they change over time. “We have begun our testing with health care workers who are known to have been infected with COVID-19 and those at highest risk based on their occupational exposures, such as emergency department, intensive care unit and respiratory therapy staff who typically administer or are present during high-risk procedures that cause aerosolization of the virus,” said Larissa May, professor of emergency medicine and principal investigator for the study. “Testing is expected to expand to other health care workers and ultimately to the community in several weeks.” 
  • Newsom closes beaches in Orange County: Governor Gavin Newsom orderd beaches to close in Orange County, but those elsewhere can remain open with restrictions. In a Thursday press conference, Newsom said beaches in this area raised alarms due to a lack of social distancing. State officials cautioned people about staying vigilant with social distancing guidelines, but Newsom says that vigilance wasn't evident in the Orange County area. “The conditions last week, the images we saw on a few of our beaches were disturbing. I was very candid about that,” Newsom said. He hopes the closure is a short term adjustment.
  • Yolo County extends shelter in place until June: A new order from Yolo County is extending their shelter in place through May 31. The previous order was set to end on May 1. While the order has been extended, a couple of restriction have been eased. Drive-in religious services and construction activities are now allowed. “The extension underscores the fact that the threat from the virus is still very real,” said Yolo County Board Chair Gary Sandy. “Please avoid crowds and large gatherings, stay at home, wash your hands regularly and use face masks. We must not let our guard down.”
  • Sacramento chef will provide 6,000 meals for Sacramento State students: Hundreds of students at Sacramento State can get packaged meals on campus each week due to a partnership between the City of Sacramento, the school, and Broderick Roadhouse restaurants. “I hope this helps our students focus on their studies without having to worry about where their next meal is coming from.” Meals stem from a $20,000 grant from the Justice for Neighbors program, which focuses on resolving safety issues from nuisance properties. The penalties from the program are paying for 6,000 student meals over four weeks.
  • Surf's down in California: Governor set to close beaches: Gov. Gavin Newsom intends to close all California beaches and state parks starting Friday in the wake of a weekend that saw a crush of people at open seashores. The head of the California Police Chiefs Association sent a bulletin to members on Wednesday, saying the governor plans to announce the order on Thursday. A message to the governor's office seeking comment wasn't immediately returned. The order comes as some communities reopened their beaches and pressure builds to cautiously begin easing stay-at-home restrictions that have throttled the state's economy and kept millions at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
  • A worker at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Tracy has died due to complications from the novel coronavirus, a company spokesperson confirmed to ABC10 on Wednesday. It's unclear when or how the worker contracted the virus. According to Amazon spokesperson Lisa Levandowski, the employee last worked on April 1, but had no reported symptoms of COVID-19. "We are saddened by the loss of an associate at our site in Tracy, California. His family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his fellow colleagues in the days ahead," Levandowski said in a statement.
  • A Turlock nursing home that has suffered from a large coronavirus outbreak announced Wednesday that six current and former residents of the facility have died from the virus. At least 67 residents and 30 workers at the Turlock Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center have tested positive for COVID19. The facility tested all of its residents and workers recently, and while a large number have tested positive, 167 employees and residents have tested negative for the virus, officials with the facility said. The nursing home has eight more tests pending.

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 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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