Coronavirus Roundup: Santa Clara County Death Toll May Climb Dramatically; Tony Bennett Wants Residents To Singalong

The tsunami of news about the current coronavirus outbreak and now the shelter-in-place can be overwhelming. To help you navigate through what you need to know -- 5 News/CBSN Bay Area -- will be publishing a news roundup each morning of the top coronavirus-related stories from the last 24 hours so you can start your day with the latest updated developments.

Coronavirus Roundup: Santa Clara County Death Toll May Climb Dramatically; Tony Bennett Wants Residents To Singalong

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The tsunami of news about the current coronavirus outbreak and now the shelter-in-place can be overwhelming. To help you navigate through what you need to know — 5 News/CBSN Bay Area — will be publishing a news roundup each morning of the top coronavirus-related stories from the last 24 hours so you can start your day with the latest updated developments.

Good News — Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Famed Singer Tony Bennett To Lead ‘I Left My Heart In San Francisco’ Weekend Singalong
SAN FRANCISCO — Long associated with San Francisco, famed singer Tony Bennett has announced plans to lead a virtual singalong of his hit ‘I Left My Heart In San Francisco’ with local homebound residents over the upcoming weekend to lift spirits and honor health workers during the coronavirus outbreak. San Francisco’s Chief of Protocol Charlotte Mailliard Shultz set up the event scheduled for noon on Saturday. Participants who want to take part were being encouraged to live-stream and record their performances via their online social media assets of choice (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) with the hashtag #SingOutSF. Read More

For Uplifting Stories Of Neighbors Helping Neighbors Visit Our Better Together Section

Coronavirus Surge

Santa Clara County Supervisor Says Coroner Has Been Undercounting Virus Deaths
SAN JOSE — Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese says the coroner’s office new the number of deaths in the county was trending up in March, but didn’t say anything. He believes if the supervisors would have known, it could have changed the way the county responded to the pandemic. “It would have sent a stronger message to the public just how serious this is,” Cortese said. Read More

1st U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Traced Back To Santa Clara County
SAN JOSE — Santa Clara health officials announced late Tuesday night that the medical examiner’s office and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing has confirmed three county residents died of coronavirus infections in February and early March, the first fatalities traced to the disease in the United States. Previously, medical officials believed the nation’s first COVID-19 death took place in Washington state on March 9th. The medical examiner performed autopsies on two individuals who died at home on February 6th and February 17th. Samples from the two individuals were sent to the CDC labs. Read More

Former Stanford President Donald Kennedy Dies During Redwood City Care Facility Outbreak
PALO ALTO — Former Stanford President Donald Kennedy, who has been living in an assisted living facility in Redwood City, has died of COVID-19 on Tuesday morning, according to his family. He was 88. In a statement to the San Mateo Daily, Kennedy’s wife — Robin — said the former educator and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner took a turn for the worse over the weekend while battling the virus at the Gordon Manor facility. Read More

Medical Detectives Step Up Efforts To Trace San Francisco Bay Area Virus Outbreak
SAN FRANCISCO — While the curve may be flattening, efforts are ramping up to do contact tracing. Bay Area health departments are hiring teams of people to find out who has the coronavirus and then trying to find everyone they came in contact with. Alex Coburn, a medical student at UCSF, was grounded by the stay at home order just like everybody else. Now, he and some of his fellow medical students have been recruited to work alongside the San Francisco Public Health Department. “We have about 30 medical students who have signed up to be contact tracers,” Coburn said. “And we are starting to make calls this week.” Read More

California Recommends Coronavirus Tests For Some With No Symptoms
SACRAMENTO — California public health officials say local authorities should test people for the coronavirus in “high risk settings” even if they don’t have symptoms, a change aimed at health care workers, prisoners and the homeless. State officials believe the new guidelines are the first in the country to prioritize testing for people who don’t have symptoms. Until Monday, California followed guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that only those with symptoms should be prioritized for testing. The new recommendation was outlined in a California Department of Public Health memo and was first reported by the Los Angeles Times. Read More

San Mateo County Health Officials Announce 11 New Deaths, 28 New Confirmed Cases
REDWOOD CITY — Public health officials announced Wednesday there have been 11 new coronavirus deaths reported among San Mateo County residents and 28 new conformed cases of the illness. With the latest fatalities, the grim toll of the outbreak has led to the deaths of 39 San Mateo County residents. Officials did not release the latest victims ages, gender, how they may have contracted the disease or where their deaths occurred. The county’s coronavirus dashboard did give some indication as to who has been the most vulnerable to the disease. Of those who have died, 25 have been 80 years old or older. 24 of those identified as white have died followed by 10 of Asian descent. When it came to gender — 21 males have died and 18 females. Read More

Newsom Lifts Statewide Hospital Restrictions On Essential Surgeries
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that he was lifting the restrictions placed upon hospitals that had put on hold all scheduled surgical procedures in anticipation of a massive wave of COVID-19 patients overwhelming the state’s health care system. Newsom made what he called a significant medical announcement while updating Californians on the progress toward easing restrictions put into place last month at the height of the coronavirus outbreak. As for a much larger announcement, it did not come. Read More

Study: Majority Of Americans Now Fearful Of Shopping Inside Grocery Stores
SAN FRANCISCO — 60 percent of American consumers are now “fearful” to shop at a grocery store due to the coronavirus, according to a new report. C+R Research recently surveyed more than 2,000 consumers to find out if Americans have changed their grocery shopping habits due to COVID-19. It found 60 percent feel a sense of panic or anxiety when they shop. 45 percent disinfect the groceries they bring them home. Read More

Coronavirus And Testing

Gov. Newsom Unveils New Testing, Contract Tracing Program As Part Of Plan To Ease Restrictions
SACRAMENTO — California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday offered new details on the steps to begin easing some of the restrictions put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus, placing additional emphasis on testing, contact tracing and isolating those exposed to the virus. At a noon press conference Wednesday, Newsom said 86 additional testing sites would be unveiled around the urban and rural areas across the state, including in areas the governor referred to as “testing deserts.” The plan is to deploy some 25,000 COVID-19 tests per day by the end of April, an increase in the current 16,000 tests being performed daily. The goal is to eventually administer 60,000-80,000 tests per day. Read More

Kaiser Rushes To Build Lab In Berkeley To Process 10,000 Tests / Day
BERKELEY — Kaiser Permanente is rushing to build a 7,700-square-foot state-of-the-art lab by June 1 that will be able to conduct 10,000 new coronavirus tests a day and help the state ease its shelter-in-place orders, a Kaiser official said Wednesday. Dr. Brian Missett, a radiation oncologist who is associate executive director of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, said test results from the $14 million lab on Second Street in North Berkeley will be available in well under 24 hours. Missett said Kaiser, which has 4.5 million members in Northern California, currently is able to conduct about 1,500 tests a day for hospitalized and high-risk patients, so the new lab will be “a notable expansion.” Read More

4 Drive-Thru COVID-19 Test Sites Open In Contra Costa County; Pre-Screening Necessary
MARTINEZ — Contra Costa Health Services opened four drive-through novel coronavirus testing sites Wednesday, open to anyone with the standard symptoms of the virus, Contra Costa Health Services said. The sites are at the Contra Costa Public Health Clinic Services facility at 2500 Bates Ave. in Concord; the Martinez Health Center at 2500 Alhambra Ave. in Martinez; the Pittsburg Health Center at 2311 Loveridge Road in Pittsburg; and the West County Health Center at 23601 San Pablo Ave. in San Pablo. Any county resident with symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, coughing, shortness of breath and fatigue, can call (844) 421-0804 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for a confidential screening by a health professional. Based on that screening, an appointment for one of the testing centers can then be made. Read More

Coronavirus Impact

COVID-19 Impacting Fall College Admission Decisions For Students And Universities Alike
ORINDA — The coronavirus pandemic has already ended the school year for most students but it’s also causing major concerns for those heading off to college in the Fall. May 1 is the traditional deadline for students to put down a deposit to reserve a spot at the college of their choice but COVID-19 has thrown a lot of uncertainty into that process. Charlie Keohane, a Senior at Acalanes High School, had her heart set on attending Middlebury College in Vermont, in the Fall. But assuming there will only be online classes because of the Coronavirus, she can’t really go any farther than the backyard of her Lafayette home. Read More

Small Businesses Owners Frustrated With California’s Lack Of Reopening Date
PLEASANTON — As Governor Newsom continued to warn about the dangers reopening the state too soon, Bay Area business owners on Wednesday were left in limbo about when the shelter order might end. As residents shelter in place, watching the governor’s news conference can no doubt test the emotions of local small business owners like Elias Loza who own Mexico Lindo in Pleasanton. “I watched it, hoping for a date to come. Its just planning ahead and having something to look forward to,” said Loza. Read More

Virus’ Impact On Daily Lives Will Linger Well Into The Future
SAN FRANCISCO — The coronavirus has forced us to make extreme changes to our day-to-day life. But some changes could stick around well after the stay-at-home orders are lifted. Already, researchers are seeing positive impacts made on the environment. The Bay Area has seen some of the lowest consistent pollution levels ever recorded, according to San Jose State. Air quality data is collected on-site at the university. Read More

BART Receives $251.6M In Federal Funding To Keep Operating
OAKLAND — BART officials confirmed on Wednesday that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission has approved giving the transit agency $251.6 million in federal CARES Act FTA funding. The sum is the first installment of the $1.3 billion in funding set to be provided to Bay Area transit operators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said. According to BART officials, the system is currently serving approximately six percent of its regular ridership. Despite the huge decline in ridership, the agency continues to move thousands of healthcare workers, grocery store workers, law enforcement and other essential workers to and from their jobs around the Bay Area daily. Read More

Coronavirus Shelter In Place

Federal Judge Says He’ll Deny Bid To Open California Churches In Pandemic
RICHMOND — More than a week after a Richmond pastor was cited for violation of the shelter in place order for staging an Easter service, a federal judge on Wednesday said he will deny a bid by three Southern California churches to hold in-person church services during the pandemic. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal in Los Angeles said he will reject the temporary restraining order the churches sought against Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials. Church officials argued that the state’s stay-at-home orders violate the First Amendment right to freedom of religion and assembly. Read More

Trout Season In 3 Rural California Counties Delayed Over Coronavirus
SACRAMENTO — California has delayed the start of spring trout season in three rural counties where local officials are concerned out-of-towners could spread the coronavirus to residents. Charlton Bonham, director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, announced Tuesday that rivers, streams and lakes in Alpine, Inyo and Mono counties would be closed to fishing until May 31. “After talking with the county representatives, we agreed this was a necessary step toward being responsive to local needs in this public health emergency,” Bonham said in a statement. “These counties asked for our help, and we responded.” Read More

Coronavirus Outbreak Forces Earth Day 50th Anniversary Celebrations To Go Virtual
SAN FRANCISCO — Earth Day normally is celebrated by gatherings of volunteers planting trees, cleaning up parks and picking up trash along the San Francisco Bay Area coast line. This year, the coronavirus outbreak has put all those plans on hold. Gov. Gavin Newsom took to Twitter Wednesday to acknowledge this year’s celebration has a different tone to it. Last year, the governor took to a garden and planted flowers and greens. This year, Newsom was alone in his office — sheltering in place. Read More

Hundreds Told To Leave San Mateo County Beaches Over Weekend For Violating Coronavirus Shelter-In-Place
PACIFICA — San Mateo County authorities told over 900 people to leave beaches over the weekend after learning they were from outside the area, a violation of the county’s coronavirus shelter-in-place order. As part of the county’s order (.pdf), people who are leaving their homes for outdoor recreation are required to stay within five miles from their residence. Pacifica police said 275 people were booted off of Linda Mar Beach alone from Friday through Sunday after learning they lived more than five miles away. Nearly half the cars parked by beaches and trails were also from out of the area. Read More

Napa County Eases Shelter-In-Place Restrictions To Allow Golf, Construction, Landscaping
NAPA — Napa County health officials announced Wednesday they were amending their current shelter-in-place order to allow golfing, building construction and landscape work. They also issued a strong recommendation that all members of the community, including essential services workers, wear face coverings when in public or in shared spaces. “The Napa County community has followed past guidance and complied with orders provided by public health,” said County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio. “While public health orders are legally enforceable, and local law enforcement is charged with their enforcement, we are mindful that enforcement resources across the county are limited.” Read More

Bay Bridge Congestion Pricing Suspended During Coronavirus Pandemic
OAKLAND — The Bay Area Toll Authority voted Wednesday to suspend weekday congestion pricing on the Bay Bridge indefinitely during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Vehicle traffic has dropped significantly across all seven state-owned toll bridges in the Bay Area due to the pandemic and the resulting local and state shelter-in-place orders. Traffic on the Bay Bridge specifically has fallen by about half compared to last year since the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order took effect March 17. Read More

CityTest SF Gives Essential Workers, Residents With COVID-19 Symptoms Access To Testing
SAN FRANCISCO — All essential employees in San Francisco now have access to COVID-19 coronavirus testing, as well as any resident who is experiencing symptoms and can’totherwise get tested, Mayor London Breed announced Wednesday. The expanded testing has begun at the city’s two CityTestSF sites and all residents and essential workers, regardless of their insurance status, can make an appointment online at According to Breed, increased testing for the virus is critical to slow its spread. Read More

Source : CBS San Francisco More