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2 Sacramento warming centers closing after employee tests positive for COVID | COVID-19 updates for Northern California

City officials do not know how, when or where the employee contracted COVID-19.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — ABC10 is following the latest coronavirus statistics and vaccine news for the Sacramento region and the state of California. 

This blog will be updated throughout the day with the latest COVID-19 news. Click HERE to learn when and where you can sign-up to get the coronavirus vaccine near you.

Updates from Feb. 17 can be found here.

2 Sacramento warming centers closing due to COVID-19 exposure

Two Sacramento warming centers will close after a staff member who worked at both centers tested positive for COVID-19.

The coronavirus exposure forces the city to close the Galleria and Southside Park warming centers Thursday night. Sacramento City Councilmember Katie Valenzuela says the warming centers will reopen as soon as possible.

"We will be following up quickly with contract tracing and testing for staff, volunteers and guests," said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg in a statement. "I will continue pressing for the Galleria to reopen as soon as safely possible and also will keep working with our community partners to open additional sites."

The warming center at the City Hall Parking Garage (1000 I St.) will remain open from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

"This is a safer option from a COVID-19 standpoint because it is not fully enclosed and has more ventilation," said Steinberg. "With rain in the forecast for the early hours of Friday morning, at least it will get people under a roof."

City officials do not know how, when or where the employee contracted COVID-19. Three other members who worked at the centers are also symptomatic, the city said in a press release. Those employees are awaiting test results and quarantining.

Councilmember Valenzuela says officials are working with Sacramento County and Sacramento Fire to have free COVID-19 testing, for those who stayed at the warming center, at the Cesar Chavez fountain at 10 a.m. Friday. Only 250 tests will be available.

"The City is committed to opening more centers and continuing our work to ensure all of our unhoused neighbors have a safe place to go as soon as possible," said Valenzuela. "We will not be deterred by this setback."

Sacramento County warns COVID-19 vaccine supply delayed due to severe weather

Sacramento County Public Health (SCPH) says shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine have been delayed due to severe winter weather in other parts of the country. 

According to a press release from SCPH, some vaccine clinics may have to cancel, delay or reduce appointments due to the shipment delay. 

"SCPH is working with healthcare providers and hospitals to shift doses around to cover as many prescheduled appointments as possible this upcoming week," reads the press release.

Vaccine priority will be given to those who are receiving their second dose, however, SCPH says shortages may cause a delay in some second dose appointments. 

"While getting your second dose on time is ideal, the CDC allows second doses to be administered up to 6 weeks after the first," explained SCPH.

SCPH is also reminding people that being eligible for the vaccine does not mean there are enough doses for every person to receive one at the moment. Due to the low amount of doses, SCPH says appointment availability is limited and often fills within minutes of opening.

California governor touts vaccine tour amid recall effort

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says he's focused on getting the nation's most populous state through the pandemic, not the mounting recall effort against him. But a recent tour of vaccination sites across the state has taken on the feel of a campaign swing. 

From San Diego to Fresno, Newsom has been flanked by fellow Democrats praising his efforts to combat the coronavirus and get Californians vaccinated. Newsom advisers say he'd be doing the tour to promote vaccinations regardless of his political standing. But the events also provide a way for Democrats to showcase a united front as recall organizers say they're close to forcing a vote.

New proposal by California lawmakers would make all schools in "Red Tier" counties reopen

The new "Safe and Open Schools Plan" was introduced into the California Legislature. It will provide funding, reopening deadlines and minimum safety requirements for schools trying to reopen.

One of the big parts of the bill is that any school that is in a county in the "Red Tier" or a better tier must offer in-person classes to all students through sixth grade. They can still have cohorts for the older classes.

Through the new plan, all schools in Califorina will also reopen for "in-person cohort instruction" by April 15, prioritizing people without access to distance learning, homeless, foster youth and other needs for in-person learning. Families can also choose to have their students do distance learning as opposed to in-person.

Schools can choose to opt out of the reopening plan, but they won't get any of the $2 billion reopening support. All schools must still adopt COVID School Safety Plans no later than April 1, regardless of whether they choose to opt out.

Republican voters found to be less likely to follow coronavirus public health guidelines

University of California Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies conducted a poll and found Republican voters in California were less concerned about contracting and spreading the coronavirus.

Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies Poll said in a press release 53% of all voters statewide said they are "very concerned" about getting and spreading the coronavirus; only 27% of Republicans feel the same way.

The poll also found that over half of Republican voters weren't concerned about wearing masks and maintaining social distance protocols. 

While over half of Republicans are likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine, most see it as a personal choice rather than a way to help protect others' health, according to the survey's results.

State releases latest COVID-19 statistics

On Thursday, the state of California announced a state total of 3,421,720 confirmed cases of COVID-19. California on Wednesday reported 417 new deaths from COVID, bringing the total to more than 47,924.

The state reported at least 6,699,137 vaccine doses had been administered to Californians. The state also reported a total of 8,722,400 vaccine doses were delivered to the state by Feb. 17.

Bill would end tax hikes for companies researching disease

Some California Democrats want to end some tax increases for businesses developing treatments for COVID-19 and other diseases. 

Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature agreed to temporarily increase taxes on some businesses to close what they thought would be a $54.3 billion budget shortfall. But that deficit was not as bad as lawmakers had feared. Now, the state has a projected one-time surplus of $15 billion this year. 

On Tuesday, some influential Democratic lawmakers urged approval of a measure to rescind some of those tax increases for life sciences companies.

California lawmakers request Gov. Newsom reopen museums

Over 30 of the state's lawmakers have penned a letter to Gov. Newsom, asking him to reconsider reopening museums. 

Currently, indoor museums remain closed in counties currently in the Purple Tier. The letter points out that "all indoor museums allow for a contactless visitor experience" and should be allowed to operate like malls and indoor retail, which currently allow 25% capacity under the Purple Tier. 

Gym that violated coronavirus health orders closes

A San Jose gym has closed after racking up nearly $1 million in fines for violating coronavirus health orders. 

Santa Clara County health officials announced Wednesday that the owner of California Ripped Fitness had submitted a statement of compliance with public health regulations. The gym had ignored rules against indoor operations for months, defiantly posting window signs saying it was exercising its constitutional rights. 

The county said it had received dozens of complaints. The county said it would work with the gym to resolve outstanding fines and warned that more fines were possible if the gym reopened.

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