Could California see 25.5 million coronavirus cases in two months?

On Wednesday, in a letter asking President Trump for help handling the novel coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom made a startling prediction: More than half of Californians could be infected with the fast-moving sickness in a two-month period.

That would be 25.5 million people, with the potential for more than 5 million — 20% — requiring hospitalization. The state is attempting to build capacity in its hospitals to about 100,000 beds.

Taken together, the potential number of patients is alarming, given the capacity to help them.

But is it accurate?

Kent State public health professor Tara Smith said it was “unlikely” millions of infections would hit so quickly with social restrictions in place. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times.

California Allowing To-Go Sales for Beer, Wine and Cocktails

You’ll be able to get that margarita to go under a temporary measure taken by the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

California restaurants may now sell “beer, wine, and pre-mixed drinks or cocktails” for pick-up or delivery as long as they have “a secure lid or cap” (without a hole for sipping or a straw) and are sold with food. The state has also lifted its ban on alcohol sold at drive-through windows.

It’s one of a number of steps taken by the agency to ease the pain on restaurants and retailers hurt by the downturn in traffic caused by the coronavirus and shelter-in-place order, made statewide Friday night by Gov. Gavin Newsom. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times.

Toilet paper shortages blamed for spike in raw sewage spills

When a foul-smelling slop began bubbling out of a manhole in Tiburon the other day, the leafy streets of Marin County became an unlikely spot for what may be the latest fallout from the coronavirus: sewage spills.

The shortage of toilet paper that’s come with the pandemic-induced shopping panic has prompted many people to get creative on the commode. They’re flushing the likes of disposable wipes and paper towels into sewer lines, wastewater officials say, and creating blockages that are leading to messy system overflows.

“I’m sure it’s happening all across the state,” said Tony Rubio, district manager of Sanitary District 5 of Marin, where crews rushed to Mar East Street along San Francisco Bay in Tiburon on Sunday to clean up 100 gallons of wastewater on the road. “It’s not a maintenance problem we normally have to deal with.”

A day later, though, his crews were back at it, unclogging a sewer pumping station on nearby Paradise Drive. Also on Monday, neighboring Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District in San Rafael was trying to contain 550 gallons of wastewater pouring onto Professional Center Parkway east of Highway 101. The culprit in each of these cases, the districts say, was a system blockage caused by something that shouldn’t have been there. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle

Coronavirus: A Guide to Community Restrictions in Southern California

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

Southern California has taken sweeping measures this week to stop dine-in restaurant service, close gyms and movie theaters, and ban or limit all gatherings to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

The measures, as of Thursday, in most parts of Southern California were not as stringent as those imposed in 16 counties in the Bay Area, North Coast and Central California, which asked residents to shelter in place and stay home as much as possible in the coming weeks, and forcing all but essential businesses to close.

The coronavirus outbreak has killed 17 people across California, including three people in the Coachella Valley in Riverside County — all over the age of 70, with two of them having underlying health conditions — and one woman in Los Angeles County, a 68-year-old retiree on her way home to Florida from a trip to Asia.

The virus strikes hardest among older people and those with underlying medical conditions; a viral infection of the lungs can begin a cascade of problems that results in respiratory failure, septic shock and multiple organ failure. …

Click here to read the full article from the L.A. Times.

Bay Area coronavirus tests: Where can I get one?

Even as large commercial labs like Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp are making coronavirus testing more available — they say they will have the combined capacity to run 20,000 tests each day by the end of the week — many Americans are finding it difficult if not impossible to get tested promptly.

The Chronicle has heard from a number of Bay Area residents expressing frustration about delays, red tape and conflicting information on whether, where and how they can get tested. Some have had contact with a recent traveler to countries where the virus is widespread, are showing symptoms of fever, dry cough and shortness of breath, and are in high-risk groups based on their age (50 and above) and chronic health conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments say that tests should be prioritized for patients ill enough to be hospitalized, older adults, people with chronic medical conditions and health care workers who have treated a known COVID-19 patient — but they give clinicians leeway to use their judgment to decide whether to test a patient. People who are not showing any symptoms should not try to get tested. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Newsom suggests Bay Area’s “shelter in place” statewide

Seven Bay Area counties ordered a “shelter in place” Monday in the nation’s strictest response to the coronavirus pandemic so far, directing their millions of residents to stay at home as much as possible and avoid even small social gatherings through April 7. The order, which carries the force of law, also bans all nonessential travel and directs all businesses except those that provide “essential services” — such as grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants offering only delivery or takeout service — to send their employees home.

In a Monday night Facebook Live stream, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would expand the Bay Area’s action statewide, though it’s unclear whether he plans to enforce the order or leave it as a general guideline.

  • Newsom: “The directive coming out of the Bay Area…is no gatherings, which just makes sense to me at this point. … So directing that no gatherings be considered, advanced in this state, that’s the new guideline we’re putting out this evening as well, and we think it’s very rational under these circumstances. Disruptive, I know, for some, but rational, we believe, in this moment.”

Such drastic measures are necessary to combat the spread of the deadly virus, Bay Area health officials said. So far, the Bay Area has been hit worst in California. The region had 294 confirmed cases as of Monday night, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and five of the 11 California deaths occurred in the Bay Area. …

Click here to read the full article from CalMatters.org

Bay Area Orders ‘Shelter in Place,’ Only Essential Businesses Open

Six Bay Area counties announced “shelter in place” orders for all residents on Monday — the strictest measure of its kind yet in the continental United States — directing everyone to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible for the next three weeks in a desperate move to curb the rapid spread of coronavirus across the region.

The directive was set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and involves San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties — a combined population of more than 6.7 million. It is to stay in place until at least April 7. The three other Bay Area counties — Sonoma, Solano and Napa — did not issue similar mandates.

Just outside the Bay Area, Santa Cruz County late Monday also announced a “shelter in place” order for its 275,000 residents.

The orders — which are all similarly worded — fall just short of a full lockdown, which would forbid people from leaving their homes without explicit permission. The orders (read San Francisco’s here in its entirety at tinyurl.com/waddyqv) call for county and city sheriffs and police chiefs to “ensure compliance,” and local authorities said they would not “rush to enforce” the directives as residents adjusted to understand what activities are no longer allowed. Violation of the orders is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine or jail time. …

Click here to read the full article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

California calls for all seniors to stay home, closure of bars and wineries

Gov. Gavin Newsom called Sunday for all senior citizens and residents with chronic conditions to isolate themselves at home, as well as for all bars, wineries and brewpubs to close, launching the state’s most sweeping effort yet to slow the spread of coronavirus.

No other state has imposed such restrictions on residents age 65 and older. Newsom said his orders do not come with enforcement but that he expects residents and counties to follow his protocols. California has 5.3 million residents over the age of 65.

“This will be socialized in real time,” Newsom said. “I have all the confidence in the world.”

The governor’s announcement came a day after large crowds continued to enjoy nightlife in cities across the nation despite public warnings to avoid social activities. The weekend before St. Patrick’s Day drew green-clad revelers to many bars and pubs, and the city of Sacramento went so far Friday as to encourage people to dine out by eliminating nighttime parking fees. …

Click here to read the full article from Politico

Coronavirus: California Bans Large Gatherings

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

California has banned large public gatherings throughout the state to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further there.

On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that gatherings of more than 250 people should be canceled.

“Smaller gatherings can proceed if organizers implement six feet of social distancing,” a statement from his office said.

The new advice overruled measures brought in by San Francisco mayor London Breed earlier that day banning gatherings of 1,000 people or more for two weeks. Oakland and San Jose had enforced the same measure. …

Click here to read the full article from Business Insider.

Gov. Newsom Reports $1.2 Million Income in 2018

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife reported more than $1.2 million in income during his final year as the state’s lieutenant governor, the majority of it from outside business interests.

Newsom made good on a campaign promise by allowing reporters to review his 2018 income tax filing on Friday. He also plans to release returns every year he’s governor. Newsom has not yet filed his 2019 taxes.

Last year Newsom, a Democrat, signed a first-in-the-nation law that would have required President Donald Trump to release his returns if he was to appear on the state primary ballot. The California Supreme Court ultimately rejected it as unconstitutional. …

Click here to read the full article from the Associated Press