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Coronavirus central: An archive of updates for San Mateo, Santa Clara counties

Editor's note: View the most current information here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 13-19

FDA advisory panel declines to support COVID vaccine boosters for most people

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted Friday to endorse COVID-19 booster shots for high-risk demographics such as those age 65 and older but declined to support offering booster vaccine doses to all eligible U.S. residents.

The panel of third-party experts voted 16-2 against a plan endorsed by President Joe Biden's administration to begin offering third doses to eligible people later this month, arguing that targeting booster vaccination efforts is more appropriate.

The panel also voted unanimously to support booster doses for people ages 65 and older or those at high risk to contract the virus and develop serious illness.

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Federal officials that had endorsed the booster shots plan had argued that — given the propensity for the high level of immunity offered by the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to reduce over time while still preventing serious illness and death — the third doses would be necessary to continue battling new variants of the virus and prevent hospitals from being overrun across the country.

Even if the panel had approved the booster shot plan, approval from officials with the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would still be required before doses could go into arms.

Last month, FDA and CDC officials approved the administration of booster doses for people who have weakened immune systems due to an assortment of factors such as people who are being treated for cancer, organ transplant recipients and people with HIV.

The plan to offer booster shots to all fully vaccinated people also received support last month from a swath of officials within the federal Health and Human Services Agency.

The group included CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, FDA acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.

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"Our top priority remains staying ahead of the virus and protecting the American people from COVID-19 with safe, effective, and long-lasting vaccines especially in the context of a constantly changing virus and epidemiologic landscape," the group said in its joint statement.

The administration of booster doses in western countries has drawn the ire of the World Health Organization, which has argued that many nonwealthy countries across the world have yet to even receive their initial vaccine doses.

"Because manufacturers have prioritized or been legally obliged to fulfill bilateral deals with rich countries willing to pay top dollar, low-income countries have been deprived of the tools to protect their people," WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said in a news briefing earlier this month.

State launches partnership with Tyler Perry in effort to encourage vaccination among Black residents

The California Department of Public Health is launching a series of public education videos in partnership with actor, director and producer Tyler Perry in an effort to encourage state residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The state and Perry's production company, Tyler Perry Studios, will release a series of videos this month that address frequently asked questions about the vaccines, including how to know they're safe and how mRNA vaccines work.

"What I want to do is give people the facts," Perry said in a statement. "There's a lot of misinformation out there, and my hope is that this content will give people the answers they need to make their own decisions based on the truth."

Perry and state health officials announced the partnership Wednesday as part of the state's "Let's Get to ImmUnity" campaign, which is intended to educate state residents about the vaccines' safety and efficacy.

The partnership with Perry is also part of an outreach effort for the state's Black communities, specifically.

"The vaccines continue to be our best tool to put an end to this deadly pandemic," CDPH Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said. "We are pleased to partner with Tyler Perry to help communicate the facts to more people — COVID-19 vaccines are effective, safe, and save lives."

As of Thursday, 82.5% of state residents ages 12 and up have received at least one vaccine dose, while 67.4% are fully vaccinated, according to data from the CDPH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 6-12

Feds to mandate large businesses to require vaccination or frequent tests

President Joe Biden directed federal labor officials this week to draft a mandate that businesses with 100 or more employees must require them to prove their COVID-19 vaccination status or test for the virus at least once a week.

The mandate will apply to roughly 100 million workers, including those in the public sector as well as health care workers and workers under contract with the federal government.

Biden argued Thursday that the policy is part of his job as president "to protect all Americans" and that compelling eligible people to get vaccinated is "not about freedom or personal choice, it's about protecting yourself and those around you."

The requirement is one of the largest steps the federal government has taken to address the sect of Americans who remain resolutely unvaccinated.

California has yet to issue a similar mandate for much of the state's workers, but vaccination proof or frequent testing is already required for state employees as well as health care workers and K-12 teachers.

Local governments have gone even further, with several in the Bay Area requiring county employees to get vaccinated. San Francisco and Berkeley have also issued requirements that people provide proof of vaccination to dine at restaurants, work out at gyms and attend large events.

On Thursday, Biden pointed out that major businesses like United Airlines and Tyson Foods have already mandated vaccination or frequent testing for their employees across the country and that many vaccine holdouts have cited a lack of full approval from the Food and Drug Administration as a reason for their hesitance.

With the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine now fully approved by the FDA and the Moderna and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines likely to receive similar approval in the coming months, Biden argued that the time for waiting to get vaccinated is over.

"We've made vaccinations free, safe and convenient," he said. "The vaccine is FDA-approved. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and the refusal has cost all of us."

Nearly 82% of California residents age 12 and up have received at least one vaccine dose as of Friday, according to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Within the state, many of the greater Bay Area's counties have some of the highest vaccination rates in California. Both San Mateo and Marin counties have eclipsed 90% of their eligible populations receiving at least one vaccine dose. Both counties are also on the cusp of reaching 90% of their respective eligible populations being fully vaccinated.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 30-SEPT. 5

Nearly all Bay Area counties outpace state's vaccination rates

In the greater Bay Area, COVID-19 vaccination rates among people ages 12 and up are outpacing the state's vaccination rate in all but one county as of Monday.

Roughly 80% of the state's vaccine-eligible residents have received at least one dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while 65.4% of those 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

As of Monday, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties are all ahead of both statewide metrics, with local data showing many counties surpassing 80% and 90% of eligible residents receiving at least one dose.

Solano County is the only Bay Area county trailing the state's numbers, with 74% of its eligible residents having received at least one dose and 61% fully vaccinated.

Marin and San Mateo counties are currently the gold standard in the Bay Area and are the only two counties in the region with more than 90% of their eligible populations having received at least one dose.

In Marin County, 95.8% of those age 12 and up have received at least one dose and 88.6% are fully vaccinated. Both figures are the highest among any Bay Area county.

San Mateo County sits slightly behind, with 91.4% of its eligible residents having received at least one vaccine dose and 81.6% now fully vaccinated.

Santa Clara County and San Francisco have also fully vaccinated at least 80% of their eligible populations, while Napa, Alameda and Contra Costa counties have all surpassed 75% of their eligible populations being fully vaccinated.

Nearly 370 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across the country, according to the CDC, with some 174 million Americans now fully vaccinated.

That includes 61.3% of those ages 12 and up and 52.4% of the country's population of roughly 330 million.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 23-29

Cal/OSHA encourages indoor masking at jobs regardless of vaccine status

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health encouraged employers and workers Wednesday to follow the state's public health recommendation to wear a mask when indoors regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status.

While the state has not issued a new indoor face covering mandate that would also apply to fully vaccinated people, the California Department of Public Health still requires face coverings in certain settings like health care facilities and on public transit.

Cal/OSHA guidelines also do not require the use of a mask indoors for fully vaccinated workers, but encouraged workers to do so in an effort to prevent the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

Unvaccinated workers are still required to wear a face covering at all times when indoors under the workplace safety guidelines Cal/OSHA approved in June.

Workers are encouraged to contact Cal/OSHA at 833-579-0927 or visit dir.ca.gov/dosh/Complaint.htm for information about COVID-19 hazards in the workplace and how to report them.

Employers can also contact Cal/OSHA at 800-963-9424 for information or assistance with developing a COVID-10 prevention and safety program.

FDA issues full approval of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued its full approval Monday of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, marking the first approval of a COVID vaccine outside of its emergency use authorization.

An FDA advisory panel issued the approval for people ages 16 and up based on clinical trial and follow-up data on the vaccine's effectiveness from roughly 20,000 vaccine and 20,000 placebo recipients ages 16 and older.

The FDA also analyzed safety data from roughly 22,000 people who received the vaccine and 22,000 people who received a placebo. The trial data found that the vaccine was 91% effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, according to the FDA.

Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock called the approval a "milestone" in the ongoing pandemic.

"While this and other vaccines have met the FDA's rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product," she said in a statement.

The Pfizer vaccine will now be marketed as Comirnaty, according to the FDA, and will continue to be available to people ages 12 to 15 under the FDA's emergency use authorization.

The FDA is expected to issue a subsequent approval for the vaccine developed by Moderna in the coming weeks, while Johnson & Johnson is expected to apply soon for approval of the one-dose vaccine developed by its pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen.

In California, state officials celebrated the Pfizer vaccine's approval and urged people to get vaccinated if they have yet to do so to drastically reduce the likelihood of developing serious illness or dying from COVID-19.

"We know the vaccines work. We know vaccines are safe. We know they save lives," California Department of Public Health Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said in a statement. "If you are not vaccinated, let this be the milestone that gets you there."

The FDA issued its original emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 11, 2020, for people ages 16 and up. In May, it expanded that authorization to children ages 12 to 15.

While some 362 million vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. and more than 200 million Americans have gotten at least one vaccine dose, state and local officials expressed optimism that the FDA's full approval will spur more people to get vaccinated in the coming weeks.

In California, just over 46 million vaccine doses have been administered to roughly 25 million residents. Last week, FDA advisors and state officials also issued their respective approvals of booster vaccine doses for immunocompromised people who received the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

"I encourage all Californians to trust the science and protect themselves and their community by getting vaccinated," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. "With more than 80 percent of Californians 18 and up having received at least one dose, our work continues to close the gap in our most impacted communities and bring an end to this pandemic."

COVID-19 vaccine information can be found at myturn.ca.gov and vaccinateall58.com.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 16-22

Federal officials formally announce plans for COVID-19 booster shots

Federal health officials announced plans Wednesday to offer COVID-19 booster shots to fully vaccinated people in an effort to fortify their immune response in the face of more contagious COVID-19 variants.

A group of public health and medical experts from within the U.S. Health and Human Services Agency issued a joint statement expressing their support for the administration of booster shots roughly eight months after full vaccination with the two-dose vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

While the two vaccines remain highly effective at preventing serious infections and death, the officials argued that preemptively boosting the immune response, particularly among people with weakened immune systems and other high-risk demographics like nursing home residents, would maximize protection against the delta variant and subsequent variants, which could be even more potent.

The group of federal officials includes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Food and Drug Administration acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.

"Our top priority remains staying ahead of the virus and protecting the American people from COVID-19 with safe, effective, and long-lasting vaccines especially in the context of a constantly changing virus and epidemiologic landscape," the group said in its joint statement.

Booster doses will also likely be necessary for those who have gotten or will get the one-dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but federal officials expect to have more data in the coming weeks since the J&J vaccine did not become available in the U.S. until March.

The formal approval of booster shots remains subject to safety and effectiveness evaluations by the FDA and a CDC advisory panel.

The CDC's vaccination advisory panel already issued an approval of booster doses last week for people with weakened immune systems who are more likely to suffer so-called breakthrough COVID-19 infections because their immune response is not as robust as that of people with fully functional immune systems.

State public health officials have also given the go-ahead to booster doses for immunocompromised people after the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup — which includes officials from Nevada, Oregon, Washington and California — issued its approval on Monday.

"As California continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, it is critical we take action to protect immunocompromised people who are most vulnerable to severe disease," California Department of Public Health Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said Monday in a statement.

According to federal officials, booster doses will be made available starting Sept. 20 to people who received their second vaccine dose eight months prior or more.

"At that time, the individuals who were fully vaccinated earliest in the vaccination rollout, including many health care providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors, will likely be eligible for a booster," the HHS officials said Wednesday.

The World Health Organization has pushed back on the federal government's booster shot plan, arguing that people in nonwealthy nations around the world must be prioritized before considering additional doses in wealthy Western countries.

HHS officials acknowledged the need to make vaccines available in poor countries but argued that the U.S. has already committed to donate more than 600 million doses globally, plans to donate even more and that increases in vaccination are needed both domestically and abroad.

"Nearly all the cases of severe disease, hospitalization, and death continue to occur among those not yet vaccinated at all," the officials said. "We will continue to ramp up efforts to increase vaccinations here at home and to ensure people have accurate information about vaccines from trusted sources."

State tightens vaccine proof requirement for large events of 1,000 or more

State public health officials tightened vaccine verification requirements Wednesday for large indoor events, requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for events with more than 1,000 people.

Starting Sept. 20, the California Department of Public Health will require indoor venues to confirm the vaccination status of attendees or that they've tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of an event.

Venues will also no longer be able to allow event attendees and spectators to self-attest their vaccination status and are encouraged to utilize the state's digital vaccine record system.

State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director Dr. Tomas Aragon cited the spread of the ultra-contagious delta variant as well as the COVID-19 vaccines' success at preventing serious illness and death as the main reasons for the verification requirements.

"By requiring individuals to be vaccinated, or test negative for COVID-19 at large events, we are decreasing the risk of infection, hospitalization and death," Aragon said.

The state had previously required vaccine or negative test verification for events of 5,000 or more people through at least Oct. 1. Until Sept. 20, those rules will remain in effect.

State public health officials touted support for the new guidelines from entertainment event giants like Live Nation Entertainment and AEG as well as Californians for the Arts.

"Vaccination and health check requirements ensure everyone can continue enjoying live music while also encouraging even more people to go get vaccinated, which is why Live Nation has made this the standard at our venues and festivals across the country," Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement. "We fully support California's efforts and will stay in lockstep to keep bringing live music back to the Golden State."

The guidelines issued Wednesday will keep the verification system in place through at least Nov. 1, according to the CDPH.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 9-15

State superintendent encourages eligible students, parents to get vaccinated before fall term

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond urged students Friday to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before the fall term begins and full, in-person classes resume.

Thurmond called on students age 12 and up to get vaccinated as soon as they can to protect themselves, their peers and their teachers.

Thurmond also urged parents to do the same, especially if they have children who are under age 12 and thus not yet eligible for a vaccine.

"We just want to urge and encourage every adult who can get a vaccine, if nothing else, get your vaccine so that you can help your children who can't get a vaccine be able to be safe and to be able to get their education in person," Thurmond said Friday morning.

Thurmond deferred to state legislators and public health officials when asked if the state is considering a mandate for the COVID-19 vaccine the same way it mandates vaccinations against illnesses like measles and whooping cough, but argued the vaccines' protection from serious illness and death is a public good.

"At the rate that they are projecting that the unvaccinated folks will get COVID-19 due to the (delta) variant, it seems to me that a vaccine mandate is a good thing," he said. "But mandates are only as good as they are able to be enforced. ... Until there are mandates, we must do all that we can to educate those who have been hesitant."

Thurmond's encouragement comes the same week that three unvaccinated teachers in Broward County, Florida, died due to COVID-19 complications just a week before their classes were scheduled to start.

State officials have attempted to mitigate similar outcomes by requiring teachers to either confirm their vaccination status or get tested for COVID-19 weekly.

"We're seeing that 99% of the cases with serious injury are those who are unvaccinated," Thurmond said. "That tells us that we can prevent serious injury by making sure that those who can't get a vaccine get one."

CDC panel approves third COVID vaccine dose for people with weakened immune systems

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advisory panel unanimously voted Friday to support COVID-19 vaccine boosters for immunocompromised people.

The guidance, which CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to formally support on Friday, applies to people who have received the two-dose series of vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Following Walensky's approval, booster shots could be in arms as soon as this weekend. The Food and Drug Administration also issued its approval Thursday night of booster shots for people with weakened immune systems.

According to the CDC, some people who may be recommended to get a third vaccine dose include people who are being treated for cancer, organ transplant recipients, people with HIV and people actively being treated with immunosuppressant qualities like chemotherapeutic drugs.

Roughly 7 million U.S. adults have a weakened immune system and as such are more likely to suffer so-called breakthrough COVID-19 infections after they've been fully vaccinated, as their antibody response is not as robust as that of people with fully functional immune systems.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 2-8

Free COVID-19 vaccine clinics lined up in Woodside, Portola Valley

Two vaccine clinics will be held at the Portola Valley Town Center at 765 Portola Road in the Community Hall Courtyard (by the library). Register or walk up to get your vaccine on Sunday, Aug. 8, 1-4 p.m. Second doses will be administered on Sunday, Aug. 29, 1-4 p.m.

Registration is preferred online at myturn.ca.gov or by phone at 833-422-4255, but walk-ups will also be accepted. Vaccinations are open to everyone ages 12 and older in San Mateo County, regardless of immigration status. Anyone under 18 years old will need parental consent.

The Sequoia Union High School District has partnered with Safeway to host a free clinic in Woodside High School's gym, 199 Churchill Ave. in Woodside, on Aug. 10 from 9 a.m. to noon and 4-6 p.m. The event is open to all.

More information is available at seq.org.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 26-AUG. 1

State public health department issues indoor mask recommendation regardless of vaccination status

The California Department of Public Health formally recommended Wednesday that state residents resume wearing a face covering indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.

The recommendation comes one day after the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued similar guidance for people who live in areas with high COVID-19 case and transmission rates.

According to CDPH officials, more than 90% of the state's population lives in areas with "substantial or high" transmission of the virus, driven primarily by the ultra-contagious delta variant and a wave of new cases that are almost exclusively among the unvaccinated.

"The delta variant has caused a sharp increase in hospitalizations and case rates across the state," CDPH Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon. "We are recommending masking in indoor public places to slow the spread while we continue efforts to get more Californians vaccinated."

Public health officials in 10 of the 11 counties in the greater Bay Area, the exception being Solano County, issued similar guidance over the last two weeks, urging residents to wear face coverings inside public places like grocery and retail stores, theaters and family entertainment centers, especially those which are not requiring vaccination for entry. Some jurisdictions like San Mateo County have taken the step of requiring masks indoors at county facilities like offices and clinics.

The state has also announced that students will be required to wear masks in class regardless of their vaccination status when the fall term begins.

In Santa Clara, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties, public health officials have urged employers to go one step further and mandate that their employees get vaccinated or be subject to frequent COVID-19 testing, arguing that people are now faced with the choice of getting vaccinated or contracting the coronavirus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also announced this week that state employees and health care workers will be required to get vaccinated if they haven't already or get tested at least once a week.

State and local officials have so far shied away from committing to a full vaccination mandate, instead opting to work with community-based organizations to persuade eligible residents to get vaccinated and frequently reiterating the vaccines' safety and efficacy at preventing severe illness and death.

"We're mindful that there are a lot of people that are still anxious, a lot of people that still need to work with doctors and private settings to work through those anxieties," Newsom said Tuesday. Newsom has frequently argued that potential mask and vaccination mandates will be unnecessary provided that enough residents get vaccinated to quell new outbreaks of the virus.

State residents can visit myturn.ca.gov or myturn.ca.gov/clinic.html to find a vaccination clinic near them.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 5-11

State to release updated school guidance, continue requiring masks indoors on campuses

State public health officials announced Friday that they will release updated guidance for the fall school semester on Monday, encouraging schools to return to full in-person classes.

The California Department of Public Health plans to issue its updated school guidance with an emphasis on COVID-19 testing support for schools and safety measures like wearing face coverings indoors.

The CDPH's announcement followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's announcement Friday that it will support full, in-person schooling for the fall semester and that it will not require face coverings for fully vaccinated students and staff or at least 3 feet of distance between students within classrooms.

The CDPH, however, will require students and staff to continue wearing face coverings indoors, regardless of vaccination status, to "ensure that all kids are treated the same."

"At the outset of the new year, students should be able to walk into school without worrying about whether they will feel different or singled out for being vaccinated or unvaccinated — treating all kids the same will support a calm and supportive school environment," state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a statement.

To help fund the state's school system, Gov. Gavin Newsom also signed a funding package Friday that will allocate nearly $124 billion to support expanded afterschool and summer learning programs, increase school staff sizes and make pre-kindergarten available for free for all of the state's 4-year-olds by 2025.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in California's future and expand opportunities for every child across the state," Newsom said in a statement.

Updated information on the state's school guidance and reopenings can be found at schools.covid19.ca.gov.

State case rate tops 3% for first time in two months, driven by cases among unvaccinated

California's average daily number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the last seven days eclipsed three for the first time in nearly two months Thursday, an uptick driven mostly by cases among unvaccinated people according to state testing data.

The state's case rate now sits at 3.1 cases per 100,000, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The case rate had been steadily declining between mid-January and the end of May, falling as low as two cases per 100,000 on May 30. It hasn't been three or higher since May 16.

That figure obscures a disparity, however, as the case rate for the state's fully vaccinated population is just 0.6 per 100,000 while the case rate for unvaccinated residents is 4.9 per 100,000 as of Thursday.

That trend has been observed at the local level as well, as the handful of breakthrough cases among vaccinated residents is far outpaced by the unvaccinated.

In Contra Costa County, the rate per 100,000 for vaccinated residents is just 0.8 but sits at 7.1 for unvaccinated residents.

"The most important thing we can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 is ensure everyone who is eligible gets vaccinated," CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said in a statement last week.

COVID-19 vaccines are available to all state residents age 12 and up.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 28-JULY 4

Santa Clara County's COVID-19 death toll drops after data change

Santa Clara County's Department of Public Health has redefined the way it counts COVID-19 deaths in the county, which has brought the total death toll down by 22%.

The recent change is part of the county's effort to better understand the health impacts of COVID-19, officials said on Friday.

Initially, anyone who had COVID-19 at the time of their death was counted in the death toll, in accordance with state definitions.

Now the county is only counting those in which COVID-19 was listed as part of the cause of death on the death certificate, which focuses more on the determinations made by the medical examiner.

It brings the county's death toll down from 2,201 to 1,698 individuals, according to the county's Public Health Department.

"Throughout the pandemic, we have focused on bringing the best information to the public as soon as we have it," said Dr. Sarah Rudman, assistant public health officer. "As we see more vaccinations and fewer cases and deaths, we have had the opportunity to more deeply analyze the deaths that came in during the height of the pandemic."

Alameda County conducted a similar review of county deaths in early June and their death toll dropped by 411, to 1,223 total fatalities.

Rudman said by reevaluating the data, the county can better understand what happened in the last 15 months and inform future decisions.

"At the same time, our hearts go out to all families and loved ones of those we have lost during the pandemic, regardless of whether their deaths were ultimately attributed to COVID-19," she continued.

Despite definition changes, COVID-19 remains the third leading cause of death for Santa Clara County residents in 2020.

The Public Health Department said it will continue to review data to learn more about the pandemic impacts, "particularly on those communities hardest hit by the pandemic."

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 21-27

Leader of Santa Clara County's COVID-19 testing and vaccine task force to leave

In another sign that Santa Clara County is confident it has control over the spread of COVID-19, the county's COVID-19 testing and vaccine officer is stepping down on July 2.

Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, whose planned departure was announced during Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, said he will be making his "second attempt at retirement." Fenstersheib held the county's top public health position until retiring in 2013, having worked for the county for 29 years. He worked as San Benito County's health officer until May 2020 when he quit rather than bow to pressure from the San Benito County Board of Supervisors to reopen the economy in the early months of the pandemic. Weeks later, current Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody asked him to join the local effort against COVID-19.

He ramped up testing from 1,000 tests a day to the state's goal of more than 4,000 and beyond; oversaw efforts to procure more vaccines directly from the federal government; and set up a comprehensive vaccination network. Under his direction, the county is nearing its goal of vaccinating 85% of residents, thus reaching what it considers herd immunity to stop the spread of the disease. It reached the top spot among large counties in the U.S. in terms of vaccinating residents and has the 17th highest ranking among all 3,000 of the nation's counties, he reported.

County supervisors thanked him for his work. "Your dedication to our county is so much appreciated. I'm certainly very sad to see you going, but I guess that's also good news, showing our numbers of cases are dropping to the point that it is manageable," Supervisor Otto Lee said.

Supervisor Joe Simitian called Fenstersheib an exemplary model of public service. "When I look at Marty Fenstersheib, what I see is the face of public service, and I think for anyone who wonders whether the notion of public service has come and gone as an American value, I would just ask them to take a look at Marty," Simitian said. "He is the personification of public service in a way that I think should really give courage and strength to any who doubt that we still have it in us as a nation."

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 14-20

State launches digital COVID-19 vaccination records to be used in lieu of paper cards

Vaccinated state residents can now access their vaccine record digitally through a tool introduced Friday by California's Department of Public Health and Department of Technology.

The digital record can be accessed at myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov and requires residents to input their name, date of birth, phone number or email address and a four-digit PIN.

Users will then receive a link to their digital record, which has the same information as the physical Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination record card given out when people receive their shots, as well as a QR code that can be scanned to show the same information.

Officials with the two departments stressed that the digital record would not be used as a so-called vaccine passport and is an alternative way for vaccinated residents to confirm their status when entering a business or event.

"More than 22 million Californians are now at least partially vaccinated, with nearly 20 million fully vaccinated," state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said Friday in a briefing on the tool.

"The odds are someone is going to misplace their paper CDC card and the digital COVID-19 vaccine record provides a convenient backup," Pan said.

The state Department of Technology's Office of Enterprise Technology designed the tool in-house, according to the office's Deputy Director Rick Klau.

Klau also noted that QR code readers will only be able to see the information present on the digital vaccine card and will not be able to store that information.

"They will see as if they were looking at the CDC card but it does not permit the creation of a copy of that information for storage," Klau said.

The state also has no plans to launch its own mobile app that would verify vaccine record QR codes, Klau said, although state officials are in talks about the possibility of a trusted QR code verification system that is compliant with the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, which oversees the security of credit and debit cards.

Vaccinated people who need to correct or update their vaccination record can do so at cdph.ca.gov/covidvaccinerecord or contact the state's COVID-19 hotline at 833-422-4255.

To incentivize vaccination, leaders plan to raffle off concert tickets

Santa Clara County and the city of San Jose are raffling off more than 100 tickets to upcoming concerts, events and other prizes to anyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccine at select county-run vaccination sites in the next few weeks.

It is the county's latest incentive to encourage more vaccinations.

Residents can win tickets to Golden State Warriors games or concerts featuring Harry Styles, the Weeknd, Bad Bunny, Justin Bieber, Marc Anthony, Evanescence and many other artists.

Anyone can enter the raffle by getting vaccinated at county-run sites at Overfelt High School, the County Fairgrounds Expo Hall, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Valley Specialty Center, Mountain View Community Center, Levi's Stadium (through June 24) or Gilroy High School (through July 7). Pop-up clinics are not included in the raffle.

Different prizes will be raffled off every week and eight to 10 winners will be announced each Wednesday at 2 p.m. from June 23 to July 28 on the Santa Clara County Public Health Department's Instagram Live feed @scc_publichealth.

Those who have already been vaccinated also have a chance to win some of the raffles as well if they accompany an unvaccinated person to one of the aforementioned sites and bring proof of vaccination.

"People who aren't vaccinated are still very susceptible to severe illness from COVID-19," said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Vaccine Officer for the County of Santa Clara. "It's important for everyone in the county who is eligible to get the vaccine. We hope this opportunity will encourage people to do the right thing and get vaccinated for their safety and for the safety of our entire community."

All event tickets are for the SAP Center in San Jose except the Golden State Warriors tickets and Trevor Noah tickets, which are for events held at Chase Center in San Francisco. A full list of the events can be found at covid19.sccgov.org.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations in Santa Clara County, including details on scheduling appointments, visit sccfreevax.org.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 7-13

Four mass vaccination sites to close in Santa Clara County

Four out of Santa Clara's five mass vaccination sites are closing in the next few weeks, but it is not a bad thing, county health leaders said.

With nearly 80% of the eligible county residents vaccinated, temporary emergency sites are no longer needed.

Remaining vaccine appointments can be accommodated at pop-up and mobile sites, retail pharmacies and health care clinics.

On Friday, the Berger site is closing. Residents who had their second vaccine dose scheduled there will have appointments transferred to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.

The site at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara will close two weeks later on June 24 and those needing their second dose will also be transferred to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.

Gilroy High School will close on July 7, where appointments will be transferred to Valley Health Center Gilroy.

And the Mountain View Community Center still does not have a set closing date but when it does, residents will be directed to go to Valley Health Center in Sunnyvale.

Right now, COVID-19 case rates are at an all-time low with a rolling seven-day average of about 20 cases, county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said at a Board of Supervisors meeting this week.

"I anticipate that our case rate will vary, it may go up and down, but I don't expect it (to) surge back up because of our vaccination rates," Cody said.

The county's goal is to inoculate 85% of eligible residents vaccinated by Tuesday, the day the state forgoes its tier system, its current mask mandate and essentially opens back up with many less restrictions.

Vaccine and testing officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said vaccine supply is plentiful and urged remaining residents to book an appointment or go to a walk-up site soon.

To make a vaccine appointment or find a site, people can visit sccfreevax.org or call 211.

State health department warns of scams involving vaccine incentive program

The state Department of Public Health is asking Californians to be on the lookout — and to report — any incidents of potential fraud involving scammers trying to take advantage of the state's recently announced COVID-19 vaccination incentive programs.

The public notified the department of scammers impersonating state officials shortly after Friday's announcement of the first cash prize drawing of the Vax for the Win program, which is intended to motivate people to get vaccinated before the state's reopens on June 15.

People reported that scammers impersonating state officials contacted them by telephone, email, text messages and through social media, asking for fees and bank information.

State officials urge people who have been approached by such scams to email [email protected] or call the Vax for the Win incentives hotline at 833-993-3873.

Below are facts about the program and how to recognize legitimate contacts from fraudulent ones:

• There is no process for entry in the Vax for the Win program. All vaccinated individuals are automatically entered.

• Winners can decline the prize and/or remain anonymous. The privacy of winners is protected. Only the California Department of Public Health knows the identity of the person associated with the random number drawn.

• Winners will be notified by CDPH officials through an official "State of CA CDPH" caller and text ID, a CDPH email address or in person by CDPH staff.

• Winners will not be asked to pay any fees associated with verifying eligibility for the cash prize.

• Winners will not be asked to provide their bank information.

• CDPH will email winners an official state government form to be awarded their winnings. A check will be mailed to the winner by the State Controller's Office.

For reliable information and details of the Vax for the Win program, visit covid19.ca.gov/vax-for-the-win.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 31-JUNE 6

Most vaccinated workers must continue masking under revised Cal/OSHA workplace guidance

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health approved revised workplace guidelines that would require workers to continue wearing a mask in some situations even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a marathon hearing that lasted more than six hours Thursday, Cal/OSHA's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to adopt the revised guidance, which mandates that fully vaccinated workers need to wear a mask if a co-worker in the same room is unvaccinated.

In addition, masks are not required in rooms in which all workers are vaccinated. Outdoors, vaccinated and unvaccinated workers without symptoms only need to wear a mask when working at an event with more than 10,000 attendees.

Employers will also be able to get rid of distancing requirements and protective partitions if they provide N95 respirators to unvaccinated employees.

The board took a circuitous route to approve the revised guidance, voting first against the rules after some business groups argued they're too strict and then voting again to adopt them roughly an hour later.

Those against the revised guidance noted that it is more strict than the guidance for fully vaccinated people issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which allows them to forego a mask in most indoor and outdoor settings if they are more than two weeks past receiving their last vaccine dose.

Board members and business and labor advocates backing the revised rules stressed that they are temporary, only codified until Oct. 2.

The board also said it would work to develop a replacement set of rules. Since last year, all workers have been required to wear a mask at all times, regardless of vaccination status, a rule that would have remained in place had the board voted down the revised rules.

The board also voted to establish a three-member subcommittee to advise Cal/OSHA officials about developing a new set of workplace rules that would likely take effect in August at the earliest.

Most of the rules approved Thursday will take effect June 15 — the same day the state is expected to remove all capacity restrictions and reopening tiers — if the state's Office of Administrative Law finds them legally sound in the next 10 days.

Some additional portions of the revised guidance, like the removal of protective partitions and barriers between employees, will take effect July 31.

On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom was cagey when asked whether he would issue an executive order by June 15 to override the revised rules, saying only that he felt the board was "moving in the right direction" and that he looked forward to working with business and labor groups to develop future workplace safety guidance.

"We're processing this ... what happened last night just happened last night," Newsom said. "We look forward to updating you more as we make progress towards eventually getting (the pandemic) 100% behind us."

Bay Area health officers urge schools to commit to full-time in-person learning in fall

Health officers from all over the Bay Area gathered in San Francisco on Thursday to voice their support for the return of in-person learning for all students in the fall.

With most COVID-19 restrictions being lifted across the state as California prepares to fully reopen on June 15, the gathering marked the first time all 10 Bay Area health officers met in person since the onset of the pandemic over a year ago.

The health officers are pushing for the reopening of all schools and all grade levels for this fall, citing a significant drop in COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations as well as higher vaccination rates among people at increased risk and children 12 and over.

"We're seeing a significant rise in all sorts of issues; anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicidality, alcohol and drug use and a host of other chronic mental health conditions. The data is clear. Kids must return to school. School must begin full time, in-person, full classrooms, this fall, if not, sooner," San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow said.

"We've chartered slightly different paths over the course of the pandemic, it was enormously difficult. On this we are 100% united," said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. "We have learned more about the science of COVID, how it's spread, and how it impacts our schools and communities and we have pivoted, as necessary. And this is why at this moment and time we feel that schools should be open to all."

"We've seen first hand that the rate of transmission within schools is low," said Marin County Health Officer Dr. Matthew Willis. "We've found children are far more likely to be infected outside the school in the general community than within the school."

"This is an immense priority for all of us," San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip said. "It's time to move past the remote learning model and back to the full range of learning and support that our educational communities provide. Bay Area health officers urge school administrators, teachers and parents to work together now to plan for full classrooms for all grades in the fall."

"The classroom environment is a very safe environment and it's getting more and more safe as most of our older students and staff are vaccinated," said Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano.

The officers said if schools reopen fully, they'll still have to follow guidelines set forth by the California Department of Public Health and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which requires masks for all students K-12.

While most of the state's public elementary schools reopened over the last few months, most middle schools and high schools remain closed for full-time in-person learning.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 24-30

Health officials from 10 Bay Area counties back full-time, in-person school this fall

Health officers from 10 Bay Area counties and one city Friday called for California schools to open for full-time, in-person learning this fall.

Officers from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sonoma and the city of Berkeley issued a statement supporting opening schools for all grades.

"The lack of in-person learning has disrupted education, weakened the social supports provided by school communities, negatively impacted mental health, and prevented participation in the rituals and shared milestones that tie our communities together," according to the group statement.

"The science is now clear that the risk of transmission among children wearing masks is very low, even with reduced spacing between desks," the group asserted.

Factors supporting this conclusion include that in the Bay Area and throughout the state, there are high rates of vaccination among people at increased risk of severe disease, including older adults and those with a high risk of medical complications, according to the group.

Also, children ages 12 and older are now eligible for vaccinations and there is low overall community prevalence.

The group noted that "many schools" in California have brought students and teachers back to campus under the guidelines of the California Department of Public Health including requirements for face covering, basic cleaning, enhanced ventilation and other measures to facilitate a safe return to in-person instruction.

Schools are not legally mandated to reopen in the fall, nor has Gov. Gavin Newsom called for them to do so.

California will reopen on June 15 without any capacity limits or physical distancing requirements for businesses or events, the state's Health and Human Services secretary said May 21.

Newsom in April had announced the expected June 15 reopening date, which state officials confirmed as COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations continue to drop and the number of people vaccinated continues to increase.

Nine Bay Area health officers support new CDC guidance for multiple vaccinations

Health officers in nine Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley announced Friday that they support recent federal guidance approving people to get vaccines for other illnesses at the same time they get a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had previously recommended that people wait at least 14 days after getting the COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated against other preventable illnesses.

With more and more real-world evidence of the vaccines' safety and efficacy, the CDC updated that guidance on May 14.

The Association of Bay Area Health Officials — which includes officials from the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Solano and the city of Berkeley — said Friday that it will support that guidance going forward.

"We know a lot of people have delayed getting care and regular immunizations during the pandemic. This new guidance will make it easier for people to catch up on any immunizations they're due for when they get a COVID-19 vaccine at their provider's office," Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said.

COVID-19 vaccines are available statewide for anyone age 12 and up. Residents who get vaccinated in the next two weeks and those who have already been vaccinated will also be eligible for the state's drawings to win part of $116.5 million in gift cards and cash prizes.

Needed: Nearly 181K vaccinations towards herd immunity

Santa Clara County public health leaders have asked residents and workers to make one more big push to help the county reach herd immunity levels against COVID-19 among those ages 12 and older.

On Tuesday, Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the county's COVID-19 testing and vaccine officer, told the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors that the county needs another 180,925 people ages 12 and older to reach the desired 85% mark of those who have at least one vaccine dose in their arm. The percentage is believed to confer "herd immunity" on a population to stop the spread of a disease.

The county and the nation would still need to vaccinate 85% of the total population to reach true herd immunity levels. Vaccines have not yet been approved for children under age 12 and infants. Fenstersheib said demand has slowed down for the vaccines, but the number of doses remains plentiful.

The county continues to see infection rates and deaths fall. From Jan. 27 through May 23, the county has averaged 45 new cases per day, county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said. The county continues to stay firm in the state's least-restrictive "yellow" tier under the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, with a 0.5% infection positivity rate overall and a 1.0% rate among the county's 25% most disadvantaged residents under the state's Healthy Places Index.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 17-23

State confirms June 15 reopening with no capacity, physical distancing requirements

California will reopen on June 15 without any capacity limits or physical distancing requirements for businesses or events, the state's Health and Human Services secretary said Friday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom last month announced the expected June 15 reopening date, which state officials on Friday confirmed as COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations continue to drop and the number of people vaccinated continues to increase.

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly on a call with reporters Friday said COVID-19-related hospitalizations are down to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic, while vaccines are available with no wait throughout the state for everyone ages 12 and up.

As a result, California will end its tiered system of restrictions for counties as it lifts the capacity and distancing limits on June 15.

"Those requirements of the past are no longer needed for the foreseeable future," Ghaly said.

He said the state will be laying out recommendations and guidelines for vaccine verifications for businesses but will not be creating any sort of vaccine passport system.

Dee Dee Myers, a senior adviser to Newsom, said confirming the June 15 reopening date is "a really important milestone as we move forward" and "will allow people to really plan in detail" for their businesses or events in the coming weeks and months.

"We're still in the middle of that transition, and not sure what the next normal is going to look like," Myers said.

Ghaly said a priority will be working with local school districts to make sure K-12 schools are fully reopening for the new school year, and said while vaccines were recently made available for people as young as 12 years old, vaccine eligibility for children ages 2-11 might not happen until the late summer or early fall.

As California reopens fully, public health officials anticipate that COVID-19 cases will rise, but Ghaly said he doesn't think it will have a significant impact on the state's hospital systems given current levels of vaccination, and there won't be any new metrics counties will need to reach to stay out of further capacity or social distancing restrictions.

Bay Area health officers formally support state keeping mask mandate through June 15

Public health officers in 11 Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley formally voiced their support Wednesday for the state keeping its mask mandate in place through June 15.

State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced Monday that the state would keep its mask mandate in place despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updating its mask guidance last week to permit fully vaccinated people to forego wearing a mask both indoors and outdoors in most situations.

June 15 is also when the state plans to lift its tiered reopening system, formally called the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, allowing businesses to expand back to their full indoor capacities.

In a joint statement, health officers in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties and the city of Berkeley said that while the CDC's update was supported by the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines available to the public, just 47% of state residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated.

"This next month is critical to ensuring more of our residents can access vaccinations, and that businesses and other entities are able to prepare for implementation of the CDC's updated masking guidance," the health officers said in their statement.

Several Bay Area counties are well ahead of the state's vaccination percentage, having fully vaccinated more than 60% of people 16 and up. Santa Clara and San Mateo counties reported 57.3% and 77.6% of residents ages 12 and up, respectively, were vaccinated as of Wednesday.

In addition to the continued vaccination of adults, the 12 jurisdictions are also just starting to administer vaccines to children ages 12-15, who became eligible for the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week.

"Because the vaccine supply had previously been so low, many people did not have the opportunity to be vaccinated," San Mateo County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Curtis Chan said in a statement. "Now there is enough vaccine for everyone — at county-sponsored clinics, health care providers, national chain pharmacies, and other community organizations. Let's help more people and communities get immunized by June 15th."

State's mask mandate to continue until June 15

California will wait until next month to implement recent masking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for fully vaccinated people, state officials said Monday.

State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the state will begin enforcing the new CDC guidance, which permits fully vaccinated people to forego wearing a mask both indoors and outdoors in most situations, on June 15.

June 15 is also when the state plans to lift its arcane tiered reopening system, formally called the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, allowing businesses to expand back to their full indoor capacities.

"This four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change while we continue the relentless focus on delivering vaccines, particularly to underserved communities and those that were hard hit throughout the pandemic," Ghaly said Monday during a media teleconference briefing.

The CDC issued its updated guidance Thursday, stating that it was safe for people who are at least two weeks past their last vaccination date to not wear a mask or practice social distancing.

California's mask mandate requires people to wear a face covering at all times indoors or on public transit, regardless of vaccination status, unless actively eating or drinking.

Outside, state residents are not required to wear a mask or other face covering as long as they can maintain proper distance between themselves and others, regardless of vaccination status.

Ghaly argued that the state was not questioning the safety or timing of the CDC's guidance by waiting until June 15 to lift California's mask mandate.

Rather, state health officials plan to use the next month to determine to what extent the state will enforce some masking rules and how it will do so.

"It's in no way saying the science or the direction by the CDC is wrong or there's a challenge to it," Ghaly said. "It's really just giving ourselves across the state some additional time to have it implemented with a high degree of integrity with a continued focus on protecting the public health in mind."

The state keeping its masking guidance in place for the next month will also apply to businesses, even if some have already announced they will adhere to the CDC's guidance.

Between the CDC's announcement on Thursday and Monday's announcement by state officials, Walmart, Trader Joe's and Costco announced they would not require fully vaccinated customers to wear a mask indoors.

"The CDC has given states a chance to guide how (the new guidelines) get implemented," Ghaly said. "So we expect businesses in California to adhere to where the state is, and move to implement these standards and prepare for them on June 15 as opposed to now."

After June 15, Ghaly said the state may still deem it necessary to restart the mask mandate if coronavirus cases flare up.

Local jurisdictions and businesses will also have carte blanche, more or less, to require face masks indoors or in certain situations.

More than 34.5 million vaccine doses have been administered across the state since the coronavirus vaccines first became available in mid-December.

Roughly 15.6 million state residents - 49% of the state's population — are fully vaccinated, according to state vaccination data. Another 4.7 million — 15% of the population — have received the first dose of either of the two-dose vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.

"We continue to urge from the mountaintops, if you will, all Californians to get vaccinated to ensure that infections and hospitalization rates remain low across the state and that we can all return to those activities we love and have been missing for so long," Ghaly said.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 10-16

Vaccine clinics scheduled at local schools

Vaccinations for San Mateo County residents ages 12 and older will be offered Saturday, May 15, at San Mateo High School and Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School in East Palo Alto, then next week Tuesday and Wednesday at the San Mateo County Event Center. Other appointments and clinics are available beyond Wednesday.

There are about 40,000 county residents 12 to 15 years old, according to the county. Read more here.

The Palo Alto Unified School District is opening up its first vaccine site for eligible students this Sunday at Palo Alto High School. It will be at Palo Alto High School's Peery Family Center gym, said Lana Conaway, assistant superintendent of equity and student affairs.

Through a partnership with Safeway Pharmacy, the district will host daylong clinics on campus to administer shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Parents will be able to schedule a time slot for their children online ahead of time, with up to 1,000 shots of the vaccine available during each clinic (all 1,000 slots have been taken for the May 16 event). Read more here.

The Menlo Park City School District, through Safeway Pharmacy, will be hosting drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinics on Friday, May 21, and Monday, May 24, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hillview Middle School, 1100 Elder Ave. in Menlo Park for anyone over 12 years old.

Advanced registration and a signed parent consent form are required. The form is here in English and here in Spanish.

In partnership with Walgreens, Menlo-Atherton High School will receive 500 doses of Pfizer's vaccine to administer the first round of shots to members of the school community ages 12 and older on Wednesday, May 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those who get inoculated on that day will receive their second dose three weeks later on June 19. To register, visit wagsoutreach.com.

Ravenswood City School District students ages 12 and older can receive a dose of the Pfizer vaccine when their parents drop them off to campus on dedicated days through early June, according to the Ravenswood Family Health Network.

Vaccination opportunities have been lined up at Costaño Elementary on Thursday, May 27, from 8-9 a.m.; Los Robles Elementary on June 1, 3 and 4 from 8-9 a.m.; and Belle Haven Elementary on June 8, 10 and 11, from 8:15-9:15 a.m.

COVID-19 vaccine now available for Santa Clara County residents ages 12 and older

Santa Clara County officials announced Wednesday that all residents ages 12 and older can get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Appointments to get the Pfizer vaccine are available on the county's website at sccfreevax.org, which includes information about numerous drop-in vaccination sites throughout the county.

The Pfizer vaccine was endorsed for people ages 12-15 Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is fantastic news," Dr. Sara Cody, the county's health officer and director of public health, said in a statement. "The Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective, and I'm thrilled that more of our young people can now get vaccinated to protect themselves, protect their community, and safely return to more activities."

Residents between ages 12-17 need to provide a signed consent form from a parent or legal guardian. The consent form is available online during the appointment-making process and directly at vax.sccgov.org.

San Mateo County launches COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 12-15

San Mateo County began offering COVID-19 vaccinations to 12 to 15 year-olds at its Pfizer vaccine clinics on Thursday.

The Pfizer vaccine got final approval from the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup on Wednesday evening, giving clearance for California to begin vaccinating 12 to 15 year-olds after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its authorization on Monday.

Clinics are available throughout San Mateo County without an appointment, though people can still schedule an appointment at the state's MyTurn.ca.gov website. San Mateo County residents 12 to 17 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at the vaccination clinic. They can also bring a signed copy of the vaccination consent form, available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Samoan and Tongan.

Read more here.

FDA authorizes Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 12-15

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday amended an emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 12 to 15 years old, the federal agency said.

The FDA expanded the emergency use authorization, which since Dec. 11 allowed the vaccine to be administered to people ages 16 and older.

Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said allowing the vaccine in younger teens is a significant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency undertook "a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations," she said in a statement.

Approximately 1.5 million COVID-19 cases in people ages 11-17 have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from March 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021, although children and adolescents generally have a milder reaction to COVID-19 as compared to adults, the FDA said.

The vaccine would be administered at the same dosage and regimen as for people ages 16 and older — in two doses given three weeks apart.

"Having a vaccine authorized for a younger population is a critical step in continuing to lessen the immense public health burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

A safety study of 2,260 participants in the 12 to 15 age group found they reported the same sets of side effects from the vaccine as adults. They were followed for more than two months after receiving the doses.

The most commonly reported side effects in the adolescent clinical trial were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever and joint pain. With the exception of pain at the injection site, more adolescents reported these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose.

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet on Wednesday to discuss whether to recommend the use of the vaccine to the adolescent group. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to make the decision about whether to recommend its use. California's Public Health Department will make its own decision after a review of the data on whether the vaccine can be used for this age group in the state.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 3-9

Santa Clara County further expands vaccination hours

Santa Clara County continues to encourage teens and other eligible community members to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by further expanding its evening and weekend hours and various pop-up sites that don't require an appointment.

Teens and young adults currently have lower rates of vaccination. Younger people ages 16 to 29 comprise the highest number of unvaccinated individuals in the county. Eighteen- to 34-year-olds have the highest rate of COVID-19 infection of any age group, county officials noted in a press release Saturday.

"As we approach school graduation events and the summer holiday season, it is vital for those who intend to attend gatherings and celebrations to do so in the safest manner possible for themselves and the community — fully vaccinated," the county said in a May 8 statement.

"We have prioritized the lowest vaccinated census tracts for our mobile pop up clinics and door to door canvassing," Deputy County Executive Dr. Rocio Luna said. "Our mobile clinics have delivered more than 45,000 doses of vaccine at over 100 sites, and we're also locating clinics at schools and offering incentives for youth to get vaccinated."

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 26-MAY 2

Clinics boost vaccination rates in underserved communities

Community clinics have helped boost COVID-19 vaccination rates in hard-hit San Mateo County neighborhoods, but there are still pockets of people the effort has not yet reached.

In the county's most vulnerable communities, the vaccination rate was 59% as of April 29, while the countywide average is over 70%.

At the Ravenswood Family Health Network, vaccine clinics serve residents of East Palo Alto, where vaccination rates have been the lowest of all cities in San Mateo County. As of April 29, 46% of East Palo Alto residents had received the vaccine.

Ravenswood has administered over 15,000 vaccine doses so far, according to Chief Executive Officer Luisa Buada. There are clinics in East Palo Alto, Mountain View and Sunnyvale.

Read more here.

Most vaccination sites will accept drop-ins this week in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County health officials announced Monday that COVID-19 vaccines will be available to residents age 16 and older on a drop-in basis at most of its vaccination sites through Sunday.

Same-day appointments are also available at vaccination sites throughout the county, including at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara and Eastridge Mall in San Jose.

The Mountain View Community Center is among the locations with multiple drop-in days. The center, located at 201 S. Rengstorff Ave., is open for drop-ins on Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

County health officials say 65% of residents age 16 and older have received a first dose and that 37% are fully vaccinated. The county figures are available online at sccfreevax.org.

A full list of locations is available at covid19.sccgov.org.

Officials fix undercount of Latinos vaccinated by Kaiser in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County officials have corrected its count of Latinos who have received the COVID-19 vaccine from Kaiser Permanente.

Officials recently determined that when data counting Latinos was transferred into the state's immunization registry, most had their ethnicity replaced with "other" or "non-Hispanic."

Working with Kaiser, county officials fixed the error and added more than 22,000 to the count of Hispanic/Latino community members who have received at least one dose.

The county's vaccination dashboard is available here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 19-25

Health officials reassure safety of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Nine health officers from the greater Bay Area on Sunday released a statement supporting recent federal guidance to lift the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for adults.

The health officers, from the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Solano, and the city of Berkeley, said they agree with findings that the vaccine is safe and the risk of developing the rare clotting disorder is extremely low.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration announced they would accept the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' recommendations to lift pausing on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for all adults.

Sunday's statement from the health officers recommends Bay Area health providers resume administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in an effort to prevent community spread and severe illness and death from COVID-19.

The region's health officers also support adding a warning label and the Western States Scientific Safety Review's recommendation that culturally and linguistically appropriate informational materials in an accessible reading level be made available.

The San Mateo County Health Department wasn't included in the statement, but a representative said Sunday the health officer for the county agreed with lifting the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should contact their primary healthcare provider if they have concerns or if they develop severe symptoms of headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination, the health officers said.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 12-18

State opens COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone ages 16 and older

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opened statewide Thursday to everyone age 16 and older, including in seven of the 11 counties in the greater Bay Area.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced March 25 that the state planned to open vaccine access to everyone 16 and older Thursday in anticipation of increasing dose allocations from the federal government.

Newsom has said several times in recent weeks that the state's only constraint preventing it from administering up to 6 million doses per day has been supply.

On Thursday, he said the state expects to receive roughly 2 million doses this week, with weekly allocations from the federal government increasing in the weeks ahead.

"April 15, 2021, in the state of California is not Tax Day, it's 'vax' day," Newsom said during a briefing at Our Lady of Rosary Church in Union City.

The eligibility change comes roughly four months after vaccine doses began arriving in California amid the winter surge of coronavirus cases.

Doses continued to trickle into the state in the early part of the year, but state and local officials repeatedly complained that a lack of supply hampered the ability to open eligibility beyond essential sectors like health care and food service workers.

That began to change over the last two weeks as millions of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses flooded into the state.

Since March 30, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties have opened vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older ahead of the state's Thursday deadline.

Roughly half of the state's eligible residents have received at least one vaccine dose, according to Newsom. Last week alone, the state administered some 2.7 million vaccine doses, he said.

Newsom noted that the temporary pause in use of the vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen is not likely to significantly hurt the state's vaccination effort as it represents only 4% of the state's weekly vaccine administrations.

The state issued a pause in the use of the one-dose Janssen vaccine Monday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed severe blood clots within two weeks of receiving the shot.

Roughly 7 million Janssen vaccines have been administered nationwide, and a causal link between the vaccine and the clots has not yet been established, according to federal officials.

Newsom said the state is "more than able" to make up for the unused Janssen vaccines with the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Newsom and other state officials have pointed to widespread vaccine supply as critical to the state's plan to lift reopening restrictions on businesses on June 15 and to prevent a surge like the one during the winter that forced the state to issue a stay-at-home order from mid-December to Jan. 25.

New coronavirus cases have plummeted since then, however. Newsom said Thursday that the state's COVID-19 test positivity rate of 1.7% is the lowest among all 50 states.

"Roughly 2,300 people are hospitalized, proving still how deadly this disease is," Newsom said. "But consider, in January, we had close to 23,000 people hospitalized."

Eligible state residents can contact their local health department for information about how to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Residents can also use the state's My Turn vaccine scheduling tool, revamped for Thursday's eligibility change, here.

"We are making progress," Newsom said. "We're going to defeat this disease; we're going to end this pandemic. There's a bright light at the end of the tunnel, but we still have more work to do."

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 5-11

Starting April 8, Santa Clara County residents and workers who are 16 years and older can sign up on the county’s website for COVID-19 vaccine appointments, according to a county public-information officer. Those who are 16 and older become eligible to receive a shot on April 15, and the county is allowing people to sign up a week in advance of the date their group becomes eligible.

Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, director of COVID-19 testing and vaccines, said on Tuesday that there continues to be a shortage of vaccines, and on Thursday, the county sign-up page at sccfreevax.org noted no appointments were available. A spokesperson on Thursday afternoon confirmed the reason is the shortage. However, people should keep trying to get an appointment, as more will open up as more vaccines are available. The state expects the supply to increase later in April and May.

Those having difficulty making appointments can opt to subscribe to the Bay Area Vaccine Hunters Facebook page, which provides additional information on when appointments slots at health care centers and pharmacies become available. (Read more about it in "Bay Area vaccine hunters are here to help.")

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MARCH 29-APRIL 4

State updates event guidance to allow limited crowds for live performances, private events

Counties outside of the state's purple COVID-19 reopening tier will be allowed to resume indoor events like conferences and concerts as soon as April 15, according to new guidance announced Friday by state public health officials.

Counties that are in the red, orange and yellow tiers will be allowed to resume indoor live events and performances with capacity caps ranging from 10% to 50%, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Capacity caps will change depending on the tier in which a county sits as well as whether a venue requires all attendees to be tested or show proof of full vaccination before entering.

Indoor event spaces will also be required to sell tickets in advance, designate areas for eating and drinking, ensure attendees can remain physically distant from each other and limit attendance to California residents.

"We will continue to work with businesses, arts organizations, community groups and others to open carefully, with health and safety top of mind, so that we never have to go backwards," said Dee Dee Myers, a senior adviser to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The CDPH also issued updated guidance allowing private events like receptions and conferences to resume both outdoors and indoors.

Such activities must be held outside and can have capacities up to 25 people in the purple tier, 50 in the red tier, 100 in the orange tier and 200 in the yellow tier.

Attendees will also have to purchase tickets in advance and events must have a defined guest list and assigned seating. Private events can move indoors and expand capacity if all guests have tested negative or shown full proof of vaccination.

Smaller outdoor gatherings are also allowed under the new guidance, which previously limited gatherings to three households.

As of April 15, outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are allowed in the red tier, up to 50 people in the orange tier and up to 100 people in the yellow tier.

Outdoor gatherings in the purple tier remain limited to three households and must be held outdoors while gatherings in the other three tiers can be held indoors with modifications and capacity limits, although they remain discouraged by state officials.

State public health officials said the changes to the tier system, formally known as the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, are the result of continuing vaccination progress and lowering COVID-19 case rates across the state.

"By following public health guidelines such as wearing masks and getting vaccinated when eligible, we can resume additional activities as we take steps to reduce risk," said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the secretary of the state's Health and Human Services Agency.

An updated chart of what activities are allowed in each tier of the Blueprint can be found here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MARCH 22-28

Santa Clara County to receive $15.5M for vaccination efforts in underserved communities

Community health centers in Santa Clara County will receive $15.5 million in federal funds to broaden access to the COVID-19 vaccines in underserved communities, according to a March 25 announcement from the office of Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose.

The funding will be split across five community health centers with the following allocations: The Gardner Family Health Network, $7,890,875; The Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley, $3,630,375; School Health Clinics of Santa Clara County, $1,595,125; Santa Clara County, $1,585,500; and Asian Americans for Community Involvement of Santa Clara County, $823,375.

The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, which was passed at the end of February and signed into law earlier this month.

Throughout California, the community health centers are set to receive a total of $175 million in federal funding from the legislation.

"This funding will help ensure that the vital Community Health Centers in Santa Clara County and across the state can accelerate the pace of vaccinations and continue to provide quality treatment for patients in some of the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities," Lofgren said.

The federal funds may also be used for preventive and primary care for people who are vulnerable to COVID-19 or to expand the community health center's operational capacity, according to the statement.

The county will also be reimbursed just over $25 million from the federal government for expenses related to distributing and administering COVID-19 vaccines, Lofgren said in a separate statement issued March 23.

The funds will come from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"Our County has been a leader in its COVID-19 response and this federal funding will ensure our county government can continue vaccine operations without taking funding away from other essential services," Lofgren said in the statement.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MARCH 15-21

Bay Area health officers emphasize safety of all 3 available COVID-19 vaccines

Health officers in 10 counties in the greater Bay Area on Monday emphasized the safety of the three available COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to curb skepticism and encourage residents to get vaccinated.

The health officers in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma counties as well as the city of Berkeley issued the joint statement as vaccine hesitancy has ticked up following the federal approval of the vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, which requires just one dose.

"What we can say with certainty is that all three vaccines provide levels of protection that are comparable to some of the best vaccines we have for other serious infectious diseases for which we routinely vaccinate people," the health officers said.

Concerns about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine stem from its perceived lack of effectiveness in clinical trials.

In phase three clinical trials, which included some 40,000 participants, the J&J vaccine was roughly 66.1 percent effective at preventing symptoms after four weeks, 85.4 percent effective at blocking severe cases and 100 percent effective at preventing deaths and hospitalizations, according to the company.

The two-dose vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech showed slightly higher effectiveness at 95 percent, leading to some concern that the J&J vaccine is undesirable.

The health officers argued, however, that the clinical trial results are not perfect comparisons due to their different trial populations and the different phases of the pandemic in which trials were completed.

The three vaccines have also not been studied head-to-head, the health officials said.

"If this had occurred in the absence of a prior announcement and implementation of 94 and 95 percent efficacy (vaccines), one would have said this was an absolutely spectacular result," National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said about the J&J vaccine during a media briefing in January.

In addition, the J&J vaccine has several benefits that those from Pfizer and Moderna do not, including much less cumbersome storage requirements and the need for only one dose, eliminating the need to return for a second dose three weeks after the first.

"With COVID-19 continuing to circulate as we work toward community immunity, our collective medical advice is this: the best vaccine is the one you can get the soonest," the health officers said.

Residents in each of the 10 counties are encouraged to contact their medical provider or public health department if they have questions about the vaccines.

Residents can visit myturn.ca.gov or call 833-422-4255 to find out if they are eligible for a vaccine or sign up to be notified once it is their turn.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MARCH 8-14

State allows breweries, wineries, distilleries to serve alcohol without a meal regardless of tier

State public health officials released updated reopening guidelines Thursday, allowing breweries, wineries and distilleries to operate without serving meals regardless of their county's tier.

Breweries, wineries and distilleries have been allowed to operate under restaurant guidance since last year, provided that they provide meals with alcoholic beverages. Alcohol vendors that did not provide meals, either from their own kitchens or a partnered vendor such as a food truck, had to remain closed in the purple and red tiers.

Starting Saturday, that will change, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Breweries, wineries and distilleries in red and purple tier counties will be allowed to serve alcohol to customers outdoors, provided that those customers have reservations and do not stay for more than 90 minutes. On-site consumption without a meal must also end by 8 p.m.

In the orange tier, the affected businesses may also resume indoor operations at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. Yellow tier restrictions increase those caps to 50% and 200 people, according to the CDPH.

Bars that do not serve meals in purple and red tier counties must remain closed while bars in orange tier counties will be allowed to operate outdoors with modifications and those in yellow tier counties will be allowed to operate indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

State officials also announced that, beginning June 1, overnight sleepaway camps can resume with restrictions in red, orange and yellow tier counties.

Up-to-date information on tiers and which businesses can operate in each county can be found at covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.

Santa Clara County transfers thousands of vaccine appointments because of lower vaccine supply

Because of low and unpredictable vaccine supply from the state, Santa Clara County has transferred thousands of appointments, county officials said Wednesday.

About 8,500 appointments for Kaiser Permanente patients scheduled through the county between Thursday and March 21 will be transferred to Kaiser to reschedule.

The reason for the transfer is because the state has "assured" Kaiser that it will have sufficient vaccine doses for its members, whereas the county received "no such commitment" for residents uninsured and vulnerable, county officials said.

Despite getting an additional allocation of 7,500 Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the county only received 3,000 more doses than it did last week. That is because the county received 1,400 fewer Moderna shots and 3,510 fewer Pfizer vaccines than it had the week before, according to county data.

But this is not because the state has gotten less Moderna and Pfizer vaccine doses. On the contrary, the state received 29,900 more Moderna doses and 40,950 more Pfizer doses.

The state has allocated 40% of vaccine doses to be targeted to 400 lower-income ZIP codes in the state, but no ZIP codes have been identified in Santa Clara County — which may explain why its allocations were lower this week, county Testing and Vaccine Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said at Tuesday's county Board of Supervisors meeting.

"We are not included in that (400 ZIP codes) so again our equity efforts are jeopardized with the insufficient vaccines and the focus that the state has on everywhere else but us," Fenstersheib said.

At a news conference last week, Supervisor Cindy Chavez said the state needed to "treat all (counties) fairly," noting the high and disproportionate COVID-19 positivity rates in east San Jose and south county.

The county has the capacity to inoculate 12,000 to 15,000 people a day, but supply constraints allow the county to give 8,000 shots daily, Fenstersheib said.

All the people transferred are Kaiser members under the age of 75, according to the county's Public Health Department.

The department also noted that Kaiser will prioritize scheduling vaccine appointments through its system for those patients being transferred.

"The decision to transfer these patients back to Kaiser for their vaccine appointments was made after careful consideration of the available options," the department said in a statement. "This transfer of appointments will prevent additional cancellations of vaccination clinics and appointments."

As of Wednesday, the county has not canceled any appointments because of vaccine supply, it has only transferred those 8,500 Kaiser patients, according to the county's Emergency Operations Center.

The county maintains that its main priority in terms of inoculation is to ensure vaccine access for communities most impacted by COVID-19.

More than 200K educators, child care workers receive COVID-19 vaccine

More than 200,000 educators and child care workers received a coronavirus dose over the last week, more than double the goal set by the state of California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

Last week, the state began reserving 10% of the vaccine shipments sent to local health departments and multi-house health care entities for educators and child care workers in an effort to hasten the reopening of schools across the state.

That 10% allocation will total at least 75,000 vaccine doses per week, Newsom said.

"This is welcome news for teachers, students and parents as more and more schools reopen safely across the state," Newsom said in a statement. "We will continue working with our local partners to accelerate this effort in communities across the state so that all school staff have access to a vaccine within weeks."

Newsom touted the effort, saying that the increase in vaccinations for workers like teachers and school staff allowed all 58 of the state's counties to vaccinate educators throughout the week. Prior to that, 35 counties had opened vaccine eligibility to teachers and child care workers.

To date, 10.5 million vaccine doses have been administered across California, according to state officials.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 22-28

Santa Clara County could return to 'red tier' COVID-19 restrictions next week

Santa Clara County health officials announced Thursday that indoor dining and other currently prohibited activities could resume as soon as this Wednesday, March 3, following a decline in new COVID-19 cases and rising vaccination rates.

The rollback of public health restrictions would allow numerous activities — ranging from gyms and fitness centers to indoor dining at restaurants — to return under the state's "red tier." The county has been stuck in the more restrictive purple tier since mid-November, following a staggering increase in cases that lasted through the holidays.

The number of newly reported COVID-19 cases in the county has dropped significantly in the last month, with a seven-day rolling average ending Feb. 17 of 231 new cases reported daily. Coupled with high vaccination rates, and the county is now poised to return to the red tier on Wednesday, county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said.

"With vaccinations now reaching more broadly into the community, including over half of those age 65 and older, we are making significant progress in protecting our most vulnerable community members," Cody said in a statement.

County health officials are also relaxing public health restrictions related to youth sports and other outdoor activities, with new rules set to go into effect on Friday, Feb. 26. The new rules, based on state guidelines, allow for outdoor, low-contact sports including biking, badminton, golf and tennis.

Indoor sports will remain prohibited as of Friday, and will likely stay off-limits even after the state switches the county from the purple tier to the red tier. Sports allowed in the red tier include baseball, cheerleading, dodgeball, softball and volleyball.

Rules related to outdoor gatherings have also been relaxed, though Cody is still advising that anyone participating in an outdoor gathering should wear a mask when coming within 6 feet of others. Indoor gatherings remain prohibited.

COVID-19 case totals decline among minorities

The number of people in the most vulnerable communities across Santa Clara and San Mateo counties who are testing positive for COVID-19 are finally coming down, health leaders in both counties told their respective board of supervisors on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Both counties have made concerted equity efforts toward giving residents in the most underserved communities access to care, testing and vaccines, the leaders said. Residents of those communities, including east San Jose, parts of Mountain View, Gilroy, East Palo Alto, east Menlo Park, North Fair Oaks, Burlingame, Daly City and Pacifica, have been disproportionately impacted by the deadly and debilitating virus.

One month ago, the seven-day average of cases per 100,000 of population was about 85 for Latinos, but it plummeted to about 35 by Feb. 15; cases for Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders dropped from 80 to about 25. African Americans dropped from 31 to about 11; Asian populations in general dropped from 25 to a little more than 10; and whites dropped from less than 20 to fewer than 10, according to Santa Clara County data.

While county officials were pleased with the over 60% drop in cases among Latinos, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders and African Americans, the equity gap still needs to be further reduced so that the difference in case percentages will be equal, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said.

San Mateo County also saw a similar trend. Cases have dropped by more than 60% among Latinos, the hardest-hit group, according to county data.

San Mateo County improves to red tier for COVID-19, allowing for indoor dining and worship services

California public health officials approved San Mateo County's move from the most restrictive purple tier COVID-19 designation to the less-restrictive red tier on Feb. 23. It means that more businesses and activities in the county will be allowed. The new tier will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Five counties moved to a less restrictive tier on Tuesday: Humboldt, Marin, San Mateo, Shasta, and Yolo moved from purple to red. Trinity County worsened, going from orange to red. Forty-seven counties remain in the purple tier, nine in the red tier and two stayed in the orange tier, according to state data.

San Mateo County officials said the movement to the red tier and downward trend in infections are encouraging.

"This is great news for our small businesses and our entire community," said San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President David J. Canepa. "And this move is a direct result of all of us taking personal responsibility for our actions. If we wear our damn masks, keep our distance and follow common-sense health and safety protocols, we can get back to doing what we all love to do."

Read more here.

Updated health order allows outdoor activities to resume in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County health officials announced an update to the county's COVID-19 health order Monday, allowing for multiple outdoor activities including youth sports and performing arts to resume.

The health order revision will take effect Friday, according to county officials. The county also plans to relax restrictions on multi-household outdoor gatherings to discourage residents from gathering indoors, where the risk of coronavirus transmission is higher.

The update follows the state's announcement last Friday that it would allow outdoor youth sports to resume with a handful of caveats, requiring regular testing for contact sports like football and rugby and linking the resumption of some sports like baseball to the reopening tier in which a county is placed.

Santa Clara County Health Officer and Director of Public Health Dr. Sara Cody acknowledged the need to maintain mental and physical health as the region nears the anniversary of the first coronavirus-related stay-at-home order.

"Children and adults alike need to participate in the many activities that support their mental, physical, and social wellbeing," Cody said in a statement. "We know that the state has made rapid changes to its rules on athletic activities. It is important that changes are consistent across the board."

The updated guidance on outdoor activities is expected to be posted to the county's coronavirus website in the coming days.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 20-21

Santa Clara County as of Saturday had 108,873 cumulative COVID-19 cases and as of Sunday had 109,054 cases. The death toll rose to 1,729 over the weekend. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 12 was 311 and ending Feb. 13 was 296. On Saturday, there were 257 people hospitalized, 26 of which were new. On Sunday, 225 people were hospitalized, 30 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Saturday had 38,349 total cases and as of Sunday had 38,353 total cases. There was no change to the death toll, which stands at 497. There were 51 patients hospitalized with confirmed cases on Saturday, which slightly dropped on Sunday to 48 patients and an additional patient who had a suspected case.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 19

Outdoor youth sports will soon be allowed to resume in California counties that meet a threshold for coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday.

Outdoor sports like football and baseball will be allowed to resume as early as Feb. 26, Newsom said during a briefing in Alameda County.

While indoor sports competitions are still prohibited, outdoor youth sports will be allowed in counties that have case rates of fewer than 14 new cases per day per 100,000 residents.

As of Friday, 27 counties across the state met that threshold, including Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties.

"The fact that kids are not even in school and don't even have the ability to organize around sports, it's impacting them in profound and significant and, in many cases, deleterious ways," Newsom said.

Let Them Play CA, a group of youth sports coaches and student athletes across the state that have advocated for sports to resume, lauded Newsom and state legislators for lifting the ban on outdoor sports.

"From the moment the governor called us to say he would work with us to help get sports back for kids, it has been a methodical march to get to this wonderful place," Let Them Play CA said in a joint statement with the Golden State High School Football Coaches Community.

"It has not been easy; there were many bumps along the way, but good people kept working together to create a positive outcome for our most 'essential business' — our kids."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Friday had 108,462 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,725 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 11 was 331. There were 253 hospitalized, 39 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Friday had 38,229 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 497 deaths. There were 68 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 18

Santa Clara County as of Thursday had 108,255 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,708 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 10 was 344. There were 253 hospitalized, 39 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Thursday had 38,124 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 497 deaths. There were 70 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 17

Santa Clara County as of Wednesday had 107,980 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,682 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 9 was 361. There were 274 hospitalized, 36 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Wednesday had 38,036 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 481 deaths. There were 82 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 16

Santa Clara County as of Tuesday had 107,769 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,669 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 8 was 367, which breaks down to 19 cases for every 100,000 people. There were 280 hospitalized, 28 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Tuesday had 37,948 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 481 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 8 was 108, which breaks down to 14 cases for every 100,000 people. There were 73 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 13-15

Santa Clara County's cumulative COVID-19 case count was 107,428 as of Saturday and 107,441 as of Sunday. The total number of deaths was 1,667 on Saturday and 1,668 on Sunday. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 5 was 428 and ending Feb. 6 was 408. There were 319 hospitalized on Saturday and 281 hospitalized on Sunday; 37 new patients recorded on both days.

The county as of Monday had 107,619 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,668 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 7 was 394. The average has fallen below 400 for the first time since Nov. 19, according to county data. There were 296 hospitalized, 29 of which were new.

San Mateo County's cumulative COVID-19 case count was 37,872 as of Saturday, 37,879 as of Sunday and 37,880 as of Monday. The county's death count rose to 481 over the three-day weekend. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients with confirmed cases was 74 on Saturday and 66 on Sunday. The county's total of hospitalized COVID-19 patients was on a downward trend over the past week, but slightly rose Monday to 73, all but one of which was a suspected case.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 12

Santa Clara County as of Friday had 106,749 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,643 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 4 was 444. There were 326 hospitalized, 54 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Friday had 37,621 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 474 deaths. There were 81 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 11

On Feb. 22, San Mateo County will begin performing COVID-19 vaccinations to teachers and child care providers, first responders and food and agricultural workers who are eligible under the state's Phase 1B, as supply allows.

"People are understandably clamoring for the vaccine, and we need to move as swiftly as possible to make that happen as soon as possible," Supervisor Carole Groom said in a statement Thursday. "We must do everything we can under the constraints we have to limit the enormity of the pandemic as COVID-19 continues to ravage our community."

The county intends to provide the vaccine to eligible residents in this group who can't be served by their health care provider. Certain grocery store employees are considered agricultural workers eligible for the vaccine under the state's Phase 1B, according to the county.

The county is currently vaccinating people in the 65-plus age group, health care workers, and residents of long-term care facilities. As of this week, the county has administered at least one dose to one-third of residents ages 65 and up, according to a county press release. Eighty-four percent of the county's 447 COVID-19 deaths are people in this age group, a statistic that has heightened efforts to vaccinate them.

"Getting vaccines into the arms of San Mateo County residents is our highest and most urgent priority," Supervisor Dave Pine said in a statement. "While we are doing everything possible to ensure everyone who is eligible for the vaccine receives one, we are facing serious supply limitations that complicate our efforts. We ask for patience and understanding in these very trying times."

County education leaders have developed a prioritization and logistics plan for school employees, according to a Thursday newsletter from the Redwood City school district. The stages of this prioritization process are as follows:

Priority 1a: All in-person special day class teachers and instructional aides.

Priority 1b: All teaching and support staff required to report in-person interacting regularly with students and their families, including teachers and instructional assistants; child nutrition staff; maintenance, facilities and operations staff; psychologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists; support staff working on campus such as office personnel and yard duties; and school site leaders such as principals and assistant principals.

Priority 2: All staff reporting in-person at sites or district facilities who are not required to interact with students, but who interact with the public and are reporting for work in-person (including the district office staff).

Priority 3: All teaching and support staff who are currently not working in-person, including teachers conducting distance learning lessons.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Thursday had 106,023 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,624 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 3 was 447. There were 325 hospitalized, 46 of which were new

San Mateo County as of Thursday had 37,548 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 474 deaths. There were 86 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 10

Genomics researchers at Stanford University have confirmed California's first two cases of the South African coronavirus variant in Alameda and Santa Clara counties, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

The 501Y.V2 variant is one of several recent mutations of the virus, most of which involve changes to its spike protein — the part of the virus that enables it to enter human cells — that may make it more contagious and slightly more resistant to vaccines.

"The issue of mutations is top of mind, not only here in the state of California, across this nation, but increasingly around the globe," Newsom said Wednesday during a briefing in Fresno County.

The state has also confirmed 159 cases of the COVID-19 variant that originated in the United Kingdom and 1,203 cases of the two variants that originated on the West Coast, according to Newsom.

Read more here.

Local leaders stress caution during Lunar New Year celebrations

As the Lunar New Year approaches and those celebrating on Friday get ready to usher in the Year of the Ox, Santa Clara County officials and local Vietnamese leaders are urging residents to shift how they celebrate.

Celebrating safely means avoiding celebrations with those outside of one's household, avoiding indoor gatherings and wearing a mask, "or better yet two masks," county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said on Wednesday.

Lunar New Year, also known as Tet, is one of the most important celebrations in Vietnamese culture.

Santa Clara County is home to the largest Vietnamese community outside of Vietnam. Many celebrate with fireworks, tasty treats, little red envelopes and large crowds to mark the occasion.

So officials recognize that requesting residents to stay at home and tune into celebrations online is a big ask.

"As a Vietnamese American physician, Tet is extremely important to me and my family. It's a time of celebration together with family," said Dr. Phuong Nguyen, chief medical officer at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

But Nguyen, along with other local leaders, said shifting the way people celebrate Tet this year is nonetheless a necessity.

"This sacrifice, even though I know is extremely difficult for us, will afford us the opportunity for many more years in the future to celebrate together," Nguyen said.

Nguyen said she has seen firsthand the devastating impacts COVID-19 has had on patients and family members, especially in the Vietnamese community, which has been disproportionately affected.

Vietnamese Americans made up 28% of COVID-19 cases among Asian Americans between June 1 and Dec. 3, yet they make up 19% of the population of Asian Americans in the county, according to the county's public health department.

The county has seen a steady decrease in case counts, hospitalizations and deaths, but major holidays have subsequently resulted in COVID-19 spikes.

"We saw a spike after Thanksgiving, we saw a spike after Christmas, and we do not want to see a spike after Lunar New Year," county Public Information Officer Betty Duong said.

Officials said progress in vaccination and the decrease in coronavirus cases do not mean the county is immune from another spike.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Wednesday had 106,023 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,594 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 2 was 454. There were 347 hospitalized, 60 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Wednesday had 37,437 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 447 deaths. There were 89 people hospitalized, a drop of 26 patients over the past week.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 9

Santa Clara County as of Tuesday had 105,740 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,576 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 1 was 467, which breaks down to 24 cases for every 100,000 people. The rolling average dropped by 209 compared to seven days earlier. There were 334 hospitalized, 45 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Tuesday had 37,277 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 447 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 1 was 312, which breaks down to 40 cases for every 100,000 people. There were 96 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 8

Santa Clara County houses of worship can resume indoor services at 20% of capacity following a temporary court order Monday evening, county officials said.

Health officials in the county strongly discourage any indoor services no matter how few people gather because of the health risk involved.

Religious groups have been gathering in other ways for months and are encouraged to use the same methods to avoid the risk to the health of their members and the public, county officials said.

"We are disappointed by the temporary order of the federal district court," county Counsel James R. Williams said in a statement. "COVID-19 continues to pose a serious risk in our community, and unfortunately no court decision can decree otherwise."

Indoor gatherings of other kinds are still prohibited. People who decide to worship indoors must abide by all other safety rules such as social distancing and the wearing of masks.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Monday had 105,386 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,546 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 31 was 481. There were 326 hospitalized, 42 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Monday had 37,139 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 447 deaths. There were 93 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 6-7

Santa Clara County as of Saturday had 104,924 cumulative COVID-19 cases, which rose to 105,094 on Sunday. The number of deaths stood at 1,539 on Saturday and went up to 1,540 a day later. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 29 was 496 and ending Jan. 30 was 490. There were 358 hospitalized, 44 of which were new, on Saturday. On Sunday, there were 344 hospitalized, 48 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Saturday had 37,056 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 37,058 cumulative cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. The death toll remains at 436. There were 98 people hospitalized on Saturday and 92 people hospitalized on Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 5

Santa Clara County as of Friday had 104,076 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,523 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 28 was 511. There were 377 hospitalized, 41 of which were new. The total of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has fallen below 400 for the first time since Dec. 7.

San Mateo County as of Friday had 37,035 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 436 deaths. There were 97 people hospitalized with confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 4

On Thursday, Santa Clara County rolled out a new data dashboard that breaks down how many county residents have been vaccinated for COVID-19.

The detailed dashboard shows how many doses have been administered daily since Dec. 15, indicating totals for first and second doses. It also shows statistics on how many residents have been vaccinated by age group, gender, race/ethnicity.

As of Feb. 4, at least one dose has been administered to 170,940 residents (or 10.6% of the county population) ages 16 and above. Of that total, 38,024 residents (or 2.4% of the population) have received two doses.

The dashboard can be found at sccgov.org.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Thursday had 103,748 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,505 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 27 was 558. There were 413 hospitalized, 53 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Thursday had 36,599 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 436 deaths. There were 106 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 3

Santa Clara County as of Wednesday had 103,236 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,473 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 26 was 603. There were 438 hospitalized, 58 of which were new. The total number of patients has dropped by 64 compared to a week earlier.

San Mateo County as of Wednesday had 36,451 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 395 deaths. There were 115 people hospitalized, which is 23 fewer patients compared to the start of the week.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 2

Santa Clara County as of Tuesday had 102,836 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,433 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 25 was 667, which breaks down to 34 cases for every 100,000 people. There were 463 hospitalized, 45 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Tuesday had 36,214 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 395 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 25 was 258, which breaks down to 34 cases for every 100,000 people. There were 122 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: FEB. 1

Santa Clara County as of Monday had 102,427 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,418 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 24 was 679. There were 474 hospitalized, 46 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Monday had 36,052 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 395 deaths. There were 121 people hospitalized, the lowest total recorded over the last seven days.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 30-31

Santa Clara County as of Saturday had 101,280 cumulative COVID-19 cases and as of Sunday had 101,964 cumulative cases. The total number of deaths was 1,395 as of Saturday and 1,414 as of Sunday. The county's rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 22 was 723 and ending Jan. 23 was 695. There were 479 hospitalized, 62 of which were new, on Saturday. On Sunday, 476 people were hospitalized, 59 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Saturday had 35,879 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and as of Sunday had 35,882 cumulative cases. The death toll stands at 382. The county recorded 127 people hospitalized with confirmed cases as of Saturday. Of the 138 people hospitalized on Sunday, all but two had confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 29

Santa Clara County as of Friday had 101,261 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,394 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 21 was 778. There were 487 hospitalized, 65 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Friday had 35,466 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 382 deaths. There were 134 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 28

Santa Clara County as of Thursday had 100,468 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,344 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 20 was 829. There were 503 hospitalized, 62 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Thursday had 35,235 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 382 deaths. There were 137 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 27

Santa Clara County as of Wednesday had 99,702 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,314 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 19 was 893, the first time it has dipped below 900 since early December. There were 502 hospitalized, 47 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Wednesday had 34,958 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 356 deaths. There were 149 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 26

State officials announced Tuesday that Government Operations Agency Secretary Yolanda Richardson will take over handling the state's COVID-19 vaccine distribution, with the intent of streamlining the vaccination process and expanding where and when people can get vaccinated.

The state plans to work with local public health officials and third-party health care entities to create a "vaccine administration network," according to Richardson, who emphasized the state's need for more doses and medical personnel who are trained to administer them.

"We want to make sure that nothing slows down the administration of vaccines other than the pace in which (the) vaccine arrives in the state," Richardson said Tuesday during a briefing on the pandemic.

State officials plan to partner with a third-party administrator to oversee the vaccine network and ensure health care systems across the state are moving in sync to vaccinate the state's 40 million residents.

Roughly 2.6 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered statewide as of Tuesday, according to the California Department of Public Health, and 4.7 million doses have been shipped to local health departments and multicounty health systems like Kaiser Permanente.

State and local officials, including those in Santa Clara County, have equally lamented just how much demand is outpacing supply so far, pleading with the federal government to make more doses available and the timing of vaccine shipments more predictable.

"We continue to hear that being a problem, predictability's certainly something we would all like to know," Richardson said.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden's administration announced plans to boost the federal government's weekly vaccine dose allocation to states by 16%, give governors a three-week allocation forecast and purchase approximately 200 million more doses from vaccine developers Pfizer and Moderna.

The increase in allocation would make some 10 million doses available to states each week. Richardson said it is still unknown what California's share of that allocation will be.

"But we are grateful for any additions that we get in the vaccine so that we can definitely meet more of the supply needs that we know have been a challenge for our providers," she said.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Tuesday had 99,174 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,278 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 18 was 960, which breaks down to 50 cases for every 100,000 people. There were 523 hospitalized, 57 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Tuesday had 34,738 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 356 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 18 was 341, which breaks down to 44 cases for every 100,000 people. There were 138 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 25

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state will change its vaccine distribution hierarchy to an age-based system, once all health care workers, people over age 65, food and agriculture workers, teachers and school staff members are vaccinated.

The age-based system "will allow us to scale up much more quickly and get vaccines to impacted communities much more expeditiously," Newsom said.

Newsom argued that the state's current average number of vaccinations per day puts the state on track to meet President Joe Biden's goal of 100 million vaccinations across the country in his first 100 days in office.

The state would only have to average around 110,000 vaccinations per day to meet that goal, Newsom noted.

"Even if things were static — they will not be — but even if things were static, we would more than exceed the goal that was laid out by the Biden administration," Newsom said.

Newsom also acknowledged the state's lackluster vaccination rate so far, ranking in the bottom half of states by the percentage of vaccine doses administered.

Around 130,000 state residents are being vaccinated each day as of Jan. 15, according to the California Department of Public Health. As of Jan. 17, roughly 3.2 million vaccine doses have been shipped to local health departments and multicounty health care systems.

Public health officials in many counties, including some in the Bay Area, have argued they don't have access to enough doses to efficiently vaccinate large numbers of people.

Likewise, the state's original framework of which demographics to vaccinate and when likely contributed to the lag, Newsom said.

"We realize we have got to increase throughput here," he said. "While we are proud of the framework we put out ... we recognize it has advantages and it has disadvantages as it relates to speed and efficiency."

The state also plans to reallocate some vaccine doses that go unused to ensure every possible dose is utilized.

"We have tripled our rate of administration of the vaccine," Newsom said, noting that daily vaccinations were at just 43,459 on Jan. 4. "We're just getting going."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Monday had 98,583 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,264 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 17 was 1,036. There were 555 hospitalized, 67 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Monday had 34,510 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 356 deaths. There were 134 people hospitalized. The county has started sharing data on the number of residents vaccinated in the county, which can be found here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 23-24

Santa Clara County as of Sunday had 98,057 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,234 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 15 was 1,104 and on Jan. 16 was 1,068. The number of cumulative cases and deaths on Sunday captures data from the prior two days due to earlier issues with the state's reporting system for communicable diseases, according to the county.

The county reported 569 people were hospitalized on Saturday, 83 of which were new. The county saw those numbers drop on Sunday, when 545 were hospitalized, 81 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Saturday had 34,292 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 34,294 on Sunday. The death roll remains at 340. There were 148 people hospitalized with positive cases as of Saturday. On Sunday, 157 people were hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 22

Santa Clara County as of Friday had 96,430 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,181 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 14 was 1,127. There were 585 hospitalized, 84 of which were new. The number of hospitalized patients has fallen below 600 for the first time since Dec. 17, according to county data.

San Mateo County as of Friday had 34,255 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 340 deaths. There were 158 people hospitalized with confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 21

Santa Clara County as of Thursday had 95,936 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,158 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 13 was 1,194. There were 601 hospitalized, 79 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Thursday had 33,468 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 340 deaths. There were 178 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 20

Santa Clara County as of Wednesday had 94,905 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,129 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 12 was 1,271. There were 608 hospitalized, 79 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Wednesday had 33,207 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 309 deaths. There were 180 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN 19

California's average daily coronavirus test positivity rate is down nearly 10% over the last two weeks, a sign that the state's winter surge may be turning a corner, the state's Health and Human Services secretary said Tuesday.

The state's 14-day average test positivity rate sits at 11.6%, according to Dr. Mark Ghaly. That figure is down from the 12.7% positivity rate on Jan. 5.

It is also higher than the state's average test positivity rate over the last seven days, 9.9%, which is also under 10% for the first time in several weeks.

"We are seeing some reductions in transmission," Ghaly said Tuesday during a briefing on the pandemic.

"I think we're seeing that statewide, not just in certain parts that often have seen that decrease first, but we're seeing it also in some of those most heavily impacted areas like Southern California and San Joaquin Valley," he said.

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations have also decreased 2.8% over the last seven days and 8.5% over the last 14 days, according to Ghaly.

The decreases all indicate that the state's wave of winter coronavirus cases and deaths may be beginning to crest, Ghaly said.

State officials, including Gov. Gavin Newsom, have referred to the winter spike in cases as the "last wave" of the virus before vaccines become widely available to the public.

To date, roughly 3.2 million vaccine doses have been shipped to the state's local health departments and health care systems, with roughly 1.5 million doses administered.

On Friday, counties across California administered the largest number of vaccine doses in one day to date — 110,505 — ultimately helping the state meet its goal of doling out 1 million doses by Friday.

Delays in data reporting also mean the state's total number of administered vaccine doses is likely even higher than 1.5 million, Ghaly said.

According to Ghaly, several local public health departments and private health care systems, including San Francisco, have also expressed concern that they will run out of vaccine doses soon as new shipments remain at a trickle.

State officials have remained optimistic that the incoming administration of President Joe Biden will dramatically increase vaccination shipments, subsequently allowing the state to increase the speed with which it vaccinates both vulnerable groups like people over age 65 and the public at large.

"The number one thing we want to make sure we do across the state is make sure we're doing this safely, with speed and in an equitable way," Ghaly said.

'Please practice patience': San Mateo County health officer releases statement on vaccination rollout

Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County's health officer, released a new statement on Tuesday addressing the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and the county's vaccine rollout process.

Morrow reaffirmed that the county remains focused on vaccinating all eligible Phase 1A health care workers and long-term care residents and that it will move into Phase 1B — which would include people 65 and up -- "when the vaccine doses it receives for its Phase 1A populations are more complete."

"We are in a textbook rationing situation," Morrow wrote. "We have more demand than supply. Ignoring this fact, or pretending that this is somehow not the case, is not useful.

"The Feds and the State have attempted to fairly deal with this rationing situation by creating the tiered prioritization scheme, although there is evidence these tiers are slowly being abandoned," he added. "Everyone’s experience of having lived through the last 10 months of this pandemic and the current surge has caused the demand for the vaccine to be very high. This rationing situation, in and of itself, creates more demand."

Morrow acknowledged the county has not vaccinated people as quickly as it had hoped, saying that to vaccinate most of the population adequately by July, all entities in the county need to vaccinate 40,000 people per week — but the current supply coming from the state is about one-tenth that rate. He said the main constraint is that vaccine supply "is massively inadequate for the demand."

"We all want to go faster, but until this supply issue is ameliorated, we won’t be able to," he said. "The solution is to ramp up production. I don’t know how feasible this is."

Morrow also called on health care providers, such as Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health, to "fully step up and play a major role in this effort," and asked the public to practice gratitude and patience.

"You will be able to get your vaccine this year," he said. "Hang in there."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Tuesday had 94,366 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,109 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 11 was 1,379, which breaks down to 71 cases for every 100,000 people. There were 614 hospitalized, 88 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Tuesday had 32,887 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 309 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 11 was 469, which breaks down to 60 cases for every 100,000 people. There were 189 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 18

Santa Clara County as of Monday had 93,557 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,076 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 10 was 1,431. There were 612 hospitalized, 75 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Monday had 32,596 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 309 deaths. There were 181 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 16-17

Santa Clara County had 92,422 cumulative COVID-19 cases on Saturday and 92,625 on Sunday. Twenty-five new deaths were recorded over the weekend, raising the death toll to 1,065. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 8 was 1,480 and ending Jan. 9 was 1,464. There were 623 hospitalized, 92 of which were new, as of Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 15

Warning: Curative tests may yield false negatives in asymptomatic individuals

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an alert that Curative, a COVID-19 test provider operating widely in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, may return false negative results for asymptomatic individuals.

"The County is monitoring the situation and engaging with Curative as it works to resolve the FDA’s concerns," according to a press statement from the San Mateo County's emergency operations center. "Please take the FDA's communication into consideration when choosing the appropriate testing vendor for you and your family."

Access more information about testing in San Mateo County at smcgov.org/testing. Details on COVID-19 testing in Santa Clara County is available at sccgov.org.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Friday had 89,983 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,040 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 7 was 1,354. There were 638 hospitalized, 88 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Friday had 31,204 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 294 deaths. There were 188 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 14

Gov. Gavin Newsom released updated guidance on Thursday to guide the safe reopening of schools across the state, including new restrictions and oversight for both public and private schools.

Notably, the new framework explicitly prohibits schools that have not yet been formally open — now defined by the state as a school that has been operational for at least one full grade level, including for hybrid learning — from reopening for in-person education.

Schools will now be required to report the status, scale and model of reopening every other week to the State Safe Schools Team, a group of health and educational experts tasked with overseeing implementation of in-person instruction. And "to ensure public transparency," California plans to launch an interactive map detailing the reopening status and COVID-19 transmission rates reported by schools. School staff and parents can also send in safety concerns about specific schools online or via telephone to the State Safe Schools Team, which will monitor reports and "when appropriate" intervene with technical assistance or enforcement.

The state is now requiring that all students on reopened campuses wear masks, regardless of age, and recommends disposable surgical masks for staff interacting frequently with others.

Newsom's announcement cites the "best available science" that demonstrates "in-person instruction can be implemented safely, especially for elementary schools." It also states that transmission rates are low at elementary schools, children with COVID-19 most often get the virus from an adult they live with rather than at school and that transmission among or from students is uncommon.

"Core mitigation strategies are necessary for safe and successful schooling. If those mitigation strategies are implemented as several layers of safety, elementary schools can be safe workplaces for teachers and other staff and safe learning environments for children," the California Department of Public Health said.

More information is available on the state's new online reopening hub.

Santa Clara County COVID-19 death toll reaches 'sobering milestone'

Ten months into the pandemic, Santa Clara County recorded more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, a "sobering milestone" that comes as the rates of infections and hospitalizations are reaching all-time highs.

On behalf of the county, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody offered condolences to community members who lost a loved one as a result of the deadly disease. "One thousand deaths is a devastating and tragic milestone for our community. We mourn each life lost, and our goal continues to be to save as many lives as possible," she said in a statement issued Thursday.

Cody also emphasized the importance of taking safety precautions to avoid potentially spreading the virus. "Even though we’ve all been sacrificing for almost a year to fight this virus, prevent infections, and return to our normal lives, we must remain vigilant or we will see more deaths and extreme challenges for our hospitals and healthcare systems," she said.

As of Wednesday, the county's rolling average of new cases over a seven-day span ending Jan. 5 was 1,302, which breaks down to 67 cases for every 100,000 people. County data also shows just 5% of intensive care unit beds were available and 47% of beds were filled by COVID-19 patients.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Thursday had 88,379 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,028 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 6 was 1,288. There were 666 hospitalized, 92 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Thursday had 30,650 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 294 deaths. There were 188 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 13

Officials warn about vaccine misinformation in unofficial texts

Santa Clara County officials warned this week of unofficial texts inviting residents to make a vaccination appointment in the county.

The texts wrongfully claim an "extra" supply of vaccines and provide a link to register for one of the county's vaccination sites.

To the county's knowledge, someone was able to access the link that goes to the state's vaccination platform, CalVax, and texted that link to an untold amount of people.

"We know this because we had a huge amount of people show up to Berger (vaccination site) who didn't have an appointment and they told us they were able to get on the appointment list by getting access to CalVax without going through our typical system," County Executive Jeff Smith said.

Smith said a link is given to those who are eligible for vaccination only after they have completed a declaration that they meet priority requirements.

Right now, that means people who are in Phase 1A, which includes health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff.

The county expects to move into vaccinating those in Phase 1B tier 1 — those over 75 years and older and other essential front-line workers.

The county is currently investigating the erroneous text messages. Smith said whoever sent it did not hack the system and instead was able to "inappropriately" get access to the link.

The county's vaccination systems and information are secure, Smith assured the county's board of supervisors on Tuesday.

To access more vaccine information for Santa Clara County, people can visit sccfreevax.org.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Wednesday had 87,045 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 1,011 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 5 was 1,302. There were 689 hospitalized, 87 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Wednesday had 30,196 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 268 deaths. There were 188 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 12

California's working groups overseeing the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines are discussing potentially making the vaccine available to everyone age 65 and older, the state's health and human services secretary said Tuesday.

As of Monday, 816,673 coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered to health care workers and nursing home staff and residents, according to state officials.

While the state is rolling out vaccine doses in phases, targeting the most at-risk demographics first, new guidance Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraged states to begin vaccinating everyone age 65 and up rather than segmenting them depending on whether they have underlying medical conditions.

"We believe that having more vaccines, inviting more to be vaccinated will allow California to go faster and quicker through our population and get that vaccine out of our freezers and into our populations to get that protection," HHS Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

Roughly 15% of the state's population is older than 65, according to 2019 population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Ghaly noted that the state's vaccination rollout has been somewhat tempered so far due to a general lack of available doses as well as a limited number of medical professionals licensed to administer vaccine doses.

Both of those are expected to change in the coming days, however, with state and local public health officials collaborating to establish large-scale drive-thru coronavirus vaccination sites at sports stadiums like Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and the Oakland Coliseum as well as Cal Expo in Sacramento and Disneyland.

In addition, the state is recruiting additional medical practitioners such as pharmacists and dentists as well as the National Guard to increase the administration of vaccine doses.

Prior to the new CDC guidance, the state planned to expand its vaccination pool this month to people age 75 and older as well as education and child care, emergency services, food and agriculture workers.

Those groups are still expected to begin receiving vaccine doses in the coming weeks in addition to those over 65, assuming the state's vaccine distribution working group expands the vaccination pool.

To date, nearly 2.5 million vaccine doses have been shipped to California's local health departments and health care systems, according to state officials.

Ghaly said that figure is still well behind what the state had hoped for by now.

"The truth is, with such limited supply of vaccine and little bit coming into the state, we continue to look at ways that our structure allows us to get vaccine out to those populations as quickly as possible while still allowing us to, unimpeded, finish the vaccine that we've already received," Ghaly said.

According to Ghaly, in addition to the more than 800,000 doses administered, roughly 99,000 state residents have received both doses of the vaccine required to build immunity.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Tuesday had 85,929 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 986 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 4 was 1,240, which breaks down to 64 cases for every 100,000 people. There were 695 hospitalized, 77 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Tuesday had 29,664 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 268 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 4 was 593, which breaks down to 77 cases for every 100,000 people. There were 199 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 11

Santa Clara County's Board of Supervisors will consider directing staff to create an urgency ordinance on Jan. 12 that would require large health care systems to produce a written plan and timeline for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to county residents. The administration and County Counsel would present the board with the ordinance at the Jan. 26 meeting. Read more here.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Monday had 84,725 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 944 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 3 was 1,271. There were 693 hospitalized, 90 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Monday had 29,199 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 268 deaths. There were 189 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 9-10

Santa Clara County recorded 83,504 cumulative COVID-19 cases and a total of 943 deaths from the virus over the weekend. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Jan. 1 was 1,261 and slightly dipped to 1,256 for cases reported through Jan. 2.

The county ended the weekend with 700 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 121 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 29,184 cumulative cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 29,196 on Sunday. A total of 255 have died. The county's COVID-19 hospital data shows 183 people were hospitalized with confirmed cases on Saturday, which dropped to 180 on Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 8

Santa Clara County as of Friday had 82,170 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 883 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Dec. 31 was 1,196. There were 708 hospitalized, 96 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Friday had 27,754 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 255 deaths. There were 184 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 7

Santa Clara County as of Thursday, the county had 78,683 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 815 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Dec. 30 was 1,196. There were 815 hospitalized, 105 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Thursday had 27,358 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 255 deaths. There were 189 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 6

Santa Clara County as of Wednesday county had 76,366 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 799 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Dec. 29 was 1,129. There were 709 hospitalized, 119 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Wednesday had 27,017 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 234 deaths. There were 171 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 5

Santa Clara County as of Tuesday county had 76,235 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 771 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Dec. 28 was 1,076. There were 709 hospitalized, 119 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Tuesday had 26,497 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 234 deaths. There were 177 people hospitalized.

The county has seen more than 8,000 people test positive for COVID-19 in the last month and was down to one available intensive care unit bed on Jan. 5, Board of Supervisors President David Canepa said in a tweet.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 4

California has administered just 35% of the COVID-19 vaccine doses it has received to date, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

The state has received approximately 1.29 million doses of vaccine from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the biotechnology company Moderna, according to Newsom.

Of those, 454,306 have been administered as of Sunday to health care workers and long-term care facility staff and residents. The yet-unused doses remain in storage units across the state.

Newsom called the lag in vaccine administration "not good enough" and noted anecdotal evidence of some health care workers turning down their chance to receive the vaccine, but did not have hard data on just how many doses have been refused as the vaccines have been rolled out.

"Regardless of those that are unwilling to take the shot — their right — we have plenty of people that want to take that shot," Newsom said, adding "we're trying to address that concern without putting people in a position where they feel like they've done the wrong thing."

The 11-county Bay Area has already received 298,305 doses of vaccine from both Pfizer and Moderna, according to the state's Department of Public Health.

More vaccine shipments are expected in the next week, including second doses for those that have already received a first vaccination.

The vaccination rollout will also begin expanding this month, according to Newsom, beyond the health care workers and long-term care facilities that were prioritized first.

People age 75 and older as well as education and child care, emergency services, food and agriculture workers will be eligible to receive the vaccine next.

Newsom and state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said California is also working to make its vaccination schedule somewhat flexible in the event the number of refusals begins to pile up.

The two said that would allow those with a lower vaccination priority level such as people between the ages of 50 and 74 to get vaccinated earlier than they would normally be eligible for.

The state is "clarifying the guidance that is already out that gives those vaccination sites flexibility to make sure they aren't wasting any vaccine and then also continuing to add more description to how we make sure we have people lined up in the case that there's some extra doses," Ghaly said.

Newsom, previewing his proposed budget for the next fiscal year, said he intends to allocate some $300 million for vaccinations in the coming year with the intent of vaccinating millions of California residents.

However, both he and Ghaly said the vaccine distribution is still in its nascent stages and warned the state not to lower its guard.

"Even if 100% of the doses that California has received were in arms already, it would not be soon enough so we need to look forward to the vaccine and the solution that it's going to bring us as part of our mid-term and longer-term response but right now it's about reducing our individual and our community risk of transmission," Ghaly said.

State extends deadline to apply for small business relief grant

Gov. Gavin Newsom's Office of Business and Economic Development announced Monday that the deadline for the first round of applications for the Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program has been extended.

The first round has been extended to Jan. 13 at 11:59 p.m. from Jan. 8. Details for the second round will be announced shortly.

On Nov. 30, Newsom and the state Legislature announced that $500 million was available to small businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is administered by California's Office of the Small Business Advocate, part of the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development.

"Inclusive, equitable relief is fundamental to the small business support developed by this administration," CalOSBA Director Isabel Guzman said. "This grant program provides that support through a network of community development financial institutions and community based organizations, ensuring reach to those highly impacted small businesses in disadvantaged communities, underserved small business groups, and industries disproportionately impacted by this pandemic."

The California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program provides grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. Grants are not being reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis but all will be reviewed, state officials said Monday.

So many businesses were trying to complete the application online that website traffic was high, and some businesses may have had trouble accessing the application, according to the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development.

Adjustments have been made to the website and the deadline extended so that everyone interested can apply, state officials said.

Help with the application process is available in multiple languages and formats. For more information on grant requirements and eligibility, please visit careliefgrant.com.

Dentists now allowed to administer COVID-19 vaccines

California dentists have been added to the state's army of medical providers who will now be able to administer COVID-19 vaccinations, according to an order by the director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

The order, which was signed on Jan. 4, takes effect immediately. It will allow the state's 36,000 dentists to administer the vaccine, which would hopefully help speed up administration of the vaccines.

The state has thus far received 1.29 million doses of vaccines, with another 611,500 on the way, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday. The state has administered an estimated 454,306 doses to the first group of recipients under the Phase 1A protocols, which includes front-line health care workers, and employees and residents of long-term care facilities. There are an estimated 3 million people who would benefit from the vaccines in the first phase, according to Newsom.

"Dentists are ready, willing and able to help administer COVID-19 vaccinations to the public," California Dental Association President Judee Tippett-Whyte said in a statement released on Monday. "We can help with surge capacity at clinics and vaccinations sites — wherever we're needed to quickly administer vaccinations and save lives."

Dentists are in a singular position to administer vaccines because they receive extensive training in anatomy, pathology, pharmacology and autoimmune response as part of their dental education, the association said.

"Additionally, dentists are already trained to provide injections in objectively more complex areas of the mouth that commonly have gag reflexes, major blood vessels, nerves and a moving tongue. Dentists already have the ability to practice outside of their traditional scope of practice during declared states of emergency under the implied or express direction of government entities. The DCA waiver establishes the necessary training dentists must complete through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is specific to vaccine administration, contraindications and adverse reactions," according to the association.

The dentists would most likely administer the vaccines at hospitals, clinics and vaccination sites to be set up to meet the demand, the association said.

The new order fits under Newsom's March 4 state of emergency order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state Department of Consumer Affairs director may waive statutory or regulatory professional licensing requirements and amend scopes of practice for people licensed under Division 2 of the Business and Professions Code, including dentists.

"California dentists have a broad scope of practice. Business and Professions Code section 1625 provides that dentists may diagnose or treat, by surgery or other method, diseases and lesions, and they can correct malpositions of the human teeth, alveolar process, gums, jaws, or associated structures. Such diagnosis or treatment may include all necessary related procedures as well as the use of drugs, anesthetic agents, and physical evaluation," state Consumer Affairs Director Kimberly Kirchmeyer said in the order.

Her order waives the code section where it prohibits licensed dentists from independently initiating and administering COVID-19 vaccines that are approved or authorized by the federal Food and Drug Administration to anyone 16 years of age or older and, in cases involving a severe allergic reaction, epinephrine or diphenhydramine by injection.

The waiver is subject to conditions. Dentists must successfully complete a series of COVID-19 training programs available through the CDC; comply with federal and state recordkeeping and reporting requirements; provide documentation to the patient’s primary care provider; and enter information in the appropriate immunization registry designated by the immunization branch of the state Department of Public Health. Dentists are also required to give the vaccine in accordance with any FDA emergency use authorization.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

On Jan. 4, Santa Clara County was unable to update data on cases and deaths to issues with the state's CalREDIE system, which reports information on communicable diseases. The county had 700 people hospitalized with the virus, 101 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 25,973 cumulative cases as of Monday. Seven more people have died, raising the death toll to 234. There were 172 people hospitalized for COVID-19, all with confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 2-3

Santa Clara County as of Jan. 2 had 74,228 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 747 deaths. There were 691 hospitalized, 108 of which were new.

As of Jan. 3, the county had 74,359 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 747 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Dec. 25 was 971. There were 691 hospitalized, 97 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 25,724 cumulative cases as of Sunday. The death toll stands at 227. There were 135 people hospitalized with confirmed cases on Saturday. Of the 203 people hospitalized on Sunday, 172 had confirmed cases and 31 had suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JAN. 1

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department launched a vaccine clinic this week for those next in the distribution sequence: Fire department and ambulance paramedics, EMTs, critical care transport nurses, flight nurses and paramedics on air ambulances. This clinic vaccinated more than 500 staff by Jan. 1, the county announced on Twitter.

The county has updated its mandatory directive on Dec. 31 regarding capacity limitations: In all businesses except for health care, indoor break rooms or break areas are off-limits for eating or drinking (even for one person at the time) or for gathering. Businesses may allow personnel into these spaces only as necessary to use appliances, such as coffee makers, refrigerators, or microwaves, or to use alone for other purposes provided by law, such as lactation.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Jan. 1 had 74,205 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 747 deaths. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Dec. 24 was 1,217. There were 696 hospitalized, 100 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 25,722 cumulative cases as of Friday. The death toll stands at 227. There were 165 people hospitalized with confirmed cases.

2020

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 31

Santa Clara County as of Dec. 31 had 69,879 cumulative COVID-19 cases and 709 deaths. There were 682 hospitalized, with 96% of the county's standard ICU beds occupied by all types of patients. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Dec. 23 was 1,217.

San Mateo County reported 25,721 cumulative cases as of Thursday. The death toll stands at 227. There were 158 people hospitalized with confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 30

The first case of the more highly transmissible strain of the deadly virus that causes COVID-19 has been recorded in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

Newsom made the announcement during a Dec. 30 livestreamed interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, noting that he had just received word around noontime of the confirmed case. The variant, also called strain B.1.1.7, infected an individual in San Diego County, the California Department of Public Health said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. The person does not have any known travel history.

Fauci, who sat down for a one-on-one virtual interview with Newsom at 1 p.m., said he wasn't surprised. It's likely that more cases will be reported in California and in other U.S. states, considering the prominence of the variant in the United Kingdom, where it was first identified. Travelers between the two countries and travelers who arrive indirectly from the U.K. through other countries could also contribute to the spread, he said. The variant was first reported in the U.S. Tuesday in Colorado where there are now two confirmed cases.

"I don't think Californians should think this is something that's odd. This is something that's expected," Fauci said.

"It looks pretty clear" that the new strain more easily binds to receptors on human cells and is therefore more easily transmitted, Fauci said. U.K. health officials have said there's no indication that the new variant increases the virulence or spread of the disease — meaning it doesn't seem to make people more sick or increase mortality rates, he said. It also doesn't seem to evade antibodies from the new vaccines.

"People who have had COVID-19 don't seem to get reinfected by this," he said.

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, are notorious for their ability to mutate, but most mutations are insignificant, he said.

California health officers urged public vigilance.

"The detection of the first case of this United Kingdom variant strain in California is concerning," state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in the statement. "As we learn more about how this patient contracted this strain, I want to stress the importance of continuing our mitigation efforts to prevent COVID-19 and this new strain. This includes masks, physical distance, and during this current surge in California, staying at home and not mixing outside households, and not traveling."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

On Dec. 30, Santa Clara County was unable to update data on cases and deaths to issues with the state's CalREDIE system, which reports information on communicable diseases. The county had 697 people hospitalized with the virus, 108 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Dec. 30 had 24,589 cumulative cases of COVID-19, with 227 deaths. There were 174 people hospitalized, with 95% of standard ICU beds occupied by all types of patients. Surge beds remained available. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day was 311, or 40 cases per 100,000 people.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 29

Santa Clara County as of Tuesday had 67,423 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 21 is 1,300, which breaks down to 67 cases for every 100,000 people. Twenty-three more people have died, raising the death toll to 673. In addition, 712 people were hospitalized with the virus, 107 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 24,246 cumulative cases as of Tuesday. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 21 is 332, which breaks down to 43 cases for every 100,000 people. The death toll stands at 217. There were 165 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 28

The state of California has joined a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens to provide coronavirus vaccinations to long-term care facility residents and staff, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

CVS and Walgreens will provide vaccine doses from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer to residents and staff members in facilities like nursing homes and assisted living centers.

According to Newsom, CVS will provide vaccines to around 500 nursing homes while Walgreens will do so at roughly 350 nursing homes over the next three to four weeks.

"By leveraging CVS and Walgreens resources, we can effectively deploy vaccines to residents and staff at our long-term care facilities, which are at higher risk of COVID transmission — and do it at no cost to the state or local government," Newsom said in a statement.

Residents and staff members in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are among the first in the state to receive the vaccine along with front-line health care workers, in-home health care workers, primary care clinic workers, laboratory workers, dental health clinic employees and pharmacy staff.

According to Newsom, the state's task force overseeing the vaccine distribution schedule is expected to approve as soon as Wednesday the next groups that will have access to the vaccine.

People over age 75 or age 65 if they have underlying health conditions, workers in education and childcare, emergency services, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, manufacturing and the industrial, residential and commercial sectors are all expected to begin receiving the vaccine in January on the current schedule.

In addition, unhoused residents and people in the state's prison system will be among the next pool of people with access to the vaccine.

The state also expects to receive fewer vaccines than it had originally planned for by the end of the year, Newsom said, with only around 1.8 million doses from Pfizer and the biotechnology company Moderna expected to arrive in California by the end of the week.

The state had originally planned for as many as 2.2 million doses from the two companies.

"It's not a point of criticism," Newsom said. "I still think it's an extraordinary success story."

Even with the vaccine rollout, Newsom and state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said they expect both January and February to be "challenging" given how widespread the virus currently is within the state.

The statewide test positivity rate is now up to 12.5%, according to Newsom, despite California reporting results from more than 300,000 tests per day on average over the last seven days.

In addition, hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions continue to climb, which is likely to necessitate an extension of the state's regional stay-at-home order later into January for most of California, including the Bay Area.

The surge is likely to be exacerbated by holiday-related travel, Ghaly said.

"We really hope that as we enter one of these last worrying periods for the foreseeable future with New Year's that people do make the decision to stay local, stay at home, don't mix outside of their households," Ghaly said.

"Things that were a month ago or two months ago a low-risk activity, today, are really high risks because of the level of COVID that's circulating in our communities," he added.

Applications for small business grants open Wednesday

Starting Wednesday, small businesses in California can apply for grants of up to $25,000 through the state's Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program.

The first round of grants opens at 8 a.m. Wednesday and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 8, with approvals announced starting Jan. 13.

Grant amounts will vary from $5,000 to $25,000, depending on the applicant's annual gross revenue. Nonprofits are also eligible to apply.

The grants are part of the $500 million relief program that Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Nov. 30.

For more information about the grants, visit careliefgrant.com.

The California Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is available to assist with grant applications. People can learn more at californiasbdc.org/covid-19-relief-grant.

Likely extension of stay-at-home orders

Stay-at-home orders currently in effect in the Bay Area and three other California regions likely will remain in place past the minimum three-week duration, state officials affirmed Friday.

The state's stay-at-home order is triggered when a region's average intensive care unit capacity falls below 15%. The Bay Area, greater Sacramento, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California are under the order as of Friday, the California Department of Public Health said.

The earliest date the Bay Area may become eligible to exit the order is Jan. 8, the state department said. Greater Sacramento could become eligible to exit the order as early as Jan. 1, while San Joaquin and Southern California could possibly become eligible on Monday, Dec. 28.

The available ICU capacity in the latter two regions is down to a grim 0%, according to the department. In the Bay Area, ICU capacity is at 9.8%, and in greater Sacramento, ICU capacity is 16.7%, the department said.

The state department's prediction was in line with a Dec. 21 announcement from Gov. Gavin Newsom. The governor said at that time that skyrocketing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations would probably keep the stay-at-home orders in effect for multiple regions across the state.

The health department Friday said California has 2,042,290 confirmed cases to date, though numbers may not represent true day-over-day change as reporting of test results can be delayed. There were 39,144 newly recorded confirmed cases Thursday and the seven-day positivity rate is 11.9%, while the 14-day positivity rate is 12.4%, the department said.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Monday had 66,270 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 20 is 1,254. The death toll stands at 652. In addition, 669 people were hospitalized with the virus, 110 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 23,916 cumulative cases as of Monday. Five more people have died, raising the death toll to 217. There were 154 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 26-27

Santa Clara County as of Saturday had 64,838 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 18 is 1,259. The death toll stands at 652. In addition, 630 people were hospitalized with the virus, 85 of which were new.

Santa Clara County as of Sunday had 64,974 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 19 is 1,256. The death toll stands at 652. In addition, 651 people were hospitalized with the virus, 93 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 23,681 cumulative cases as of Sunday. The death toll stands at 212. There were 140 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 25

Santa Clara County as of Friday had 64,723 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 17 is 1,247. Nine more people have died, raising the death toll to 652. In addition, 665 people were hospitalized with the virus, 119 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 23,643 cumulative cases as of Friday. The death toll stands at 212. There were 137 people hospitalized with confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 24

Santa Clara County as of Thursday had 61,090 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 16 is 1,202. Twelve more people have died, raising the death toll to 643. In addition, 645 people were hospitalized with the virus, 124 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 23,621 cumulative cases as of Thursday. The death toll stands at 212. There were 133 people hospitalized with confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 23

At an emotional press conference Wednesday on the cusp of Christmas Eve, Santa Clara County health leaders begged the public to cancel their holiday travel and gathering plans to help prevent further skyrocketing COVID-19 cases. Read more here.

Santa Clara County as of Wednesday had 59,923 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 15 is 1,194. Seventeen more people have died, raising the death toll to 632. In addition, 631 people were hospitalized with the virus, 106 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 22,241 cumulative cases as of Wednesday. Nine more people have died, raising the death toll to 212. There were 145 people hospitalized.

Eshoo receives COVID-19 vaccine

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, rolled up her sleeve to receive a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, a moment the congresswoman shared in a tweet.

"As more vaccines are shipped out, I encourage everyone to get vaccinated," she said in the tweet. "We have to protect ourselves & others against this deadly virus."

Eshoo was vaccinated at the recommendation of the Office of the Attending Physician. She was able to end her self-quarantine on Wednesday after consulting with the office. Eshoo had been staying in her Washington, D.C. home since last week as a precaution after learning a member of her staff tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 16.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 22

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, has tested negative for COVID-19, the congresswoman announced Tuesday. She had been under self-quarantine after a potential exposure last week, when she learned on Wednesday evening, Dec. 16, that a member of her staff was confirmed with the virus. Eshoo received her negative test result on Monday, Dec. 21, she said in a statement.

"Per CDC guidelines and in consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician, I'm eligible to end my period of quarantine tomorrow," she said. "My thanks to the many constituents for their kind messages of support in recent days."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Tuesday had 58,637 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 14 is 1,173, which breaks down to 60 cases for every 100,000 people. Nine more people have died, raising the death toll to 615.

In addition, 623 people were hospitalized with the virus, 59 of which were new. The county's intensive care unit bed availability stands at 10%.

San Mateo County reported 21,913 cumulative cases as of Tuesday. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 14 is 394, which breaks down to 51 cases for every 100,000 people. The death toll stands at 203. There were 136 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 21

Santa Clara County as of Monday had 57,452 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 13 is 1,183. Twenty-four people have died, raising the death toll to 607. In addition, 621 people were hospitalized with the virus, 99 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 21,558 cumulative cases as of Monday. Five more people have died, raising the death toll to 203. There were 122 people hospitalized.

First COVID-19 vaccines administered at San Mateo Medical Center

San Mateo County's public hospital, the San Mateo Medical Center, received its first allotment of 957 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine last week, according to county spokesperson Michelle Durand. The first person from the county medical system to be vaccinated was Dr. Suja Georgie, an internal medicine specialist at the hospital, she said. She received her first dose of the vaccine on Friday, Dec. 18.

The county expects to receive 7,300 doses of the Moderna and 2,925 doses of the Pfizer vaccines this week, with additional vaccines coming by the end of the month, she said.

Doses are being used to vaccinate clinical and non-clinical health care workers involved in caring for COVID-19 patients, as well as medical first responders, she added.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 19-20

Santa Clara County as of Saturday had 54,905 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 10 is 1,164. The death toll stands at 583. In addition, 610 people were hospitalized with the virus, 102 of which were new.

The county's total of COVID-19 cases went up to 56,334 on Sunday. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 11 is 1,147. The death toll stands at 583. In addition, 608 people were hospitalized with the virus, 106 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 21,160 cumulative cases as of Sunday. The death toll stands at 198. There were 133 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 18

Second COVID-19 vaccine gains FDA's emergency-use authorization

Moderna gained emergency authorization Friday from the Food and Drug Administration to distribute its COVID-19 vaccine. A total of 39,300 doses for Santa Clara County and 7,300 doses for San Mateo County are set to arrive this week.

Under the authorization, doses of the vaccine can be given to people ages 18 and older.

"With the availability of two vaccines now for the prevention of COVID-19, the FDA has taken another crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic that is causing vast numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States each day," FDA Commission Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement.

Palo Alto congresswoman self-quarantines after COVID-19 exposure

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, is under self-quarantine after learning a member of her staff tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

"On the advice of the Office of the Attending Physician and consistent with CDC guidelines, I am self-quarantining to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 to others, though I'm not currently showing any symptoms of the virus," she said in a statement issued Friday.

Eshoo plans to continue working from her home in Washington, D.C., according to the statement.

As of early Friday afternoon, Eshoo had not tested positive for COVID-19, according to Matt McMurray, a spokesperson for Eshoo's office.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Friday had 53,885 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 10 is 1,170. Seventeen more people have died, raising the death toll to 583. In addition, 576 people were hospitalized with the virus, 102 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 20,479 cumulative cases as of Friday. The death toll stands at 198. There were 133 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 17

On Thursday, Dec. 17, the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommended the emergency use authorization of the Moderna Inc. COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 18 years and older by a vote of 20 in favor and one abstention.

The decision, which was made after an eight-hour hearing by video conference, could increase the nation's vaccine supply. Moderna is now the second company to have reached this stage and could follow Pfizer-BioNTech as soon as Friday or this weekend with approved authorization.

Some committee members who had not voted in favor of recommending the Pfizer authorization last week said on Thursday that they were impressed with Moderna's data and transparency.

"We're in an unparalleled crisis," Dr. A. Oveta Fuller said.

"Moderna gave a very transparent and thorough study from the beginning," she said, noting that she didn't say yes to the Pfizer study the last time. She also felt that Moderna took care of the study participants and planned to monitor them closely for adverse effects.

Dr. Michael Kurilla, the lone abstainer, said he could not vote in favor of the recommendation.

"I'm very uncomfortable with the language in the midst of a pandemic and with a limited supply of vaccine available. A blanket statement of individuals 18 years and older is just too broad. I'm not convinced for all of these age groups the benefits do actually outweigh the risks, and I would prefer to see it more targeted for people at high risk of serious and life-threatening COVID disease," he said.

Rather than an emergency use authorization, he preferred to have recommended an expanded access program, which would have been more targeted.

Dr. Arnold Monto, the committee's acting chair, said that even though the approval was more sweeping than for the Pfizer vaccine, people should not think that one vaccine is thought better than the other. The decision was weighted in the way information was presented and the nuances of the panel's scientific inquiry, he said.

Cases found in Peninsula schools

The Woodside Elementary, Las Lomitas Elementary Portola Valley school districts have reported COVID-19 cases in recent weeks since reopening classrooms.

The Las Lomitas district's newly created COVID-19 case dashboard shows a total of nine cases since its two schools resumed widespread classroom instruction in October. There have been cases at both La Entrada Middle School in Menlo Park and Las Lomitas Elementary School in Atherton. There was one case reported in September when only high risk cohorts of students were on campus.

Woodside Elementary reported one case the week of Dec. 7 and another the week of Dec. 14. Neither of the cases resulted in students needing to move to distance learning, according to the district.

Corte Madera School in Portola Valley reported one case the week of Nov. 30, forcing one student cohort to move to distance learning until Dec. 7. In the same district, there was a positive case at Ormondale School, the week of Dec. 7, which led one student cohort to switch to distance learning until Jan. 4.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Thursday had 52,414 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 9 is 1,136. Five more people have died, raising the death toll to 566. In addition, 566 people were hospitalized with the virus, 99 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 20,089 cumulative cases as of Thursday. Fifteen more people have died, raising the death toll to 198. There were 120 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 16

Santa Clara County as of Wednesday had 51,233 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 8 is 1,086. Eight more people have died, raising the death toll to 561. In addition, 558 people were hospitalized with the virus, 110 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 19,645 cumulative cases as of Wednesday. The death toll stands at 183. Of the 112 people hospitalized, 112 had confirmed cases and three had suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 15

Santa Clara County as of Tuesday had 50,315 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 7 is 1,056, which breaks down to 54 cases for every 100,000 people. Twenty-four more people have died, raising the death toll to 553. In addition, 528 people were hospitalized with the virus, 89 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 19,330 cumulative cases as of Tuesday. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 7 is 336, which breaks down to 43 cases for every 100,000 people. The death toll stands at 183. Of the 110 people hospitalized, 105 have confirmed cases and five are suspected.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 14

Santa Clara County public health officials announced Monday a reduction in the mandatory quarantine period for those who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have traveled out of the county.

Residents in either group are now being asked to quarantine from others for 10 days, down from 14 days, said Dr. Sarah Rudman, assistant health officer for Santa Clara County. The quarantine rules went into effect late last month amid a steep rise in COVID-19 cases, and was meant to curb the spread of community transmission during the holidays.

County health officials are also recommending those in quarantine take a COVID-19 test no earlier than six days after being exposed to the virus — or six days after returning from travel — to account for the incubation period and an early false negative. Those who get tested earlier should get a second test at the end of quarantine, Rudman said.

The change in quarantine time is a trade-off, Rudman said. The latest data show that the last four days of quarantine do little to curb the spread of the virus, and that the advantages of getting people back to work outweigh the small chance of unusually late infections.

"We feel the science that the CDC shared with us the last several weeks, confirmed by the California Department of Public Health review, tells us there is a minimal loss to safety making the change from 14 to 10 days, while there may be a benefit to getting folks back out into the workforce," Rudman said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends anyone exposed to someone with COVID-19 to stay home for 14 days after their last contact with the individual. The county's reduction aligns with the CDC's guidance that allows a 10-day quarantine period without a test and if people report no symptoms during daily monitoring.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Monday had 49,216 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 6 is 1,015. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 529. In addition, 491 people were hospitalized with the virus, 103 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 18,875 cumulative cases as of Monday. Four more people have died, raising the death toll to 183. There were 105 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 12-13

Santa Clara County as of Saturday had 45,986 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 4 is 988. No additional deaths were reported, leaving the death toll at 526. In addition, 446 people were hospitalized with the virus, 82 of which were new.

On Sunday, the county's total of COVID-19 cases rose to 48,015. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 5 is 1,020. No additional deaths were reported, leaving the death toll at 526. In addition, 484 people were hospitalized with the virus, 87 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 18,584 cumulative cases as of Sunday. No additional deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 179. There were 102 people hospitalized on Saturday and 99 people hospitalized on Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 11

COVID-19 vaccine doses will be sent to Palo Alto VA

The Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System is one of 37 VA sites across the country picked to get initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the health care system announced Friday.

The Palo Alto VA was chosen by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which considered the health system could provide the vaccine to a substantial number of people and store the doses at the required temperatures.

The local health system intends to administer the vaccine to health care workers and veterans who reside in its long-term health care facilities, and plans to expand to other veterans who request it, according to a press release.

"We are very excited to provide a vaccine that has the potential to help get COVID-19 under control when used alongside public health measures such as masking, physical distancing and frequent handwashing," VA Palo Alto Director Thomas Fitzgerald III said in the release.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Friday had 45,178 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 3 is 894, an increase of 146 from the prior day. Seven more people have died, raising the death toll to 526. In addition, 426 people were hospitalized with the virus, 72 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 18,560 cumulative cases as of Friday. The death toll stands at 179. There were 99 people hospitalized with confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 10

Santa Clara County as of Thursday had 44,039 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Dec. 2 is 744. Four more people have died, raising the death toll to 519. In addition, 414 people were hospitalized with the virus, 83 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 17,176 cumulative cases as of Thursday. Two more people have died, raising the death toll to 179. There were 98 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 9

Santa Clara County as of Wednesday had 43,001 COVID-19 cases. The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases ending Dec. 1 was 683, an increase of 84 from the previous day. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 515. In addition, 403 people were hospitalized with the virus, 76 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 16,884 cumulative cases as of Wednesday. The death toll remains at 177. There were 99 people hospitalized

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 8

State's daily average COVID-19 case average has more than doubled in last two weeks

California's average number of new coronavirus cases per day has more than doubled over the last two weeks, one of the state's top health officials said Tuesday.

The state recorded 23,272 cases Tuesday and has averaged 23,503 new cases per day over the last seven days, according to state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

The state was recording around 11,000 new cases per day on average two weeks ago, Ghaly said, a reflection of the surge of new cases that has engulfed much of the state.

"It is so ubiquitous, so around our communities that many actions and activities are causing the transmission," Ghaly said.

Test positivity has been on the rise over the last two weeks, according to Ghaly, with the state's seven-day test positivity rate sitting at 10.1% and its 14-day positivity rate at 8.7%.

As a result of the sheer number of new cases, coronavirus-related hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions have also skyrocketed over the last 14 days.

Hospitalizations have risen 71% over the last two weeks while ICU admissions have jumped 68.7% over that same span of time.

At 10,567, the state now has its highest number of hospitalized coronavirus patients since the pandemic began.

State officials have rolled out new regional stay-at-home orders to combat the rise in transmission and minimize social mixing both at businesses and in private gatherings.

Ghaly pointed to the success of lockdowns in European countries like the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands as templates for what state officials hope to accomplish with the new orders, which have gone into effect for Southern California, the San Joaquin Valley and parts of the Bay Area.

"Rather than focus on the sector-by-sector restrictions, the top of our message is, as much as you can, stay home," Ghaly said. "We know that it works, we know that we can bring transmission rates down."

Information on the state's stay-at-home orders can be found at covid19.ca.gov.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Tuesday had 41,316 COVID-19 cases and a seven-day rolling average of 592 new cases per day, which breaks down to 30 cases for every 100,000 people. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 512. In addition, 383 people were hospitalized with the virus, 75 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 16,666 cumulative cases as of Tuesday and a seven-day rolling daily average of 185 new cases, which breaks down to 24 cases for every 100,000 people. The death toll remains at 177. There were 88 people hospitalized as of Tuesday, all with confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 7

San Mateo County health officer releases rationale for not implementing stay-at-home order

In a new statement released Monday, Dec. 7, San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow listed a number of reasons why the county has not joined neighboring Bay Area counties in implementing the state's new stay-at-home order, saying in part that the new state framework is "rife with inexplicable inconsistencies of logic" and calling it "style over substance, without any hint of enforcement."

The order, which the state introduced last week, takes effect in areas where the intensive care unit capacity drops below 15%. But several Bay Area counties, including Santa Clara, decided to implement the order preemptively. It began in Santa Clara County on Sunday evening and lasts through Jan. 4. The order temporarily closes barbershops, hair salons, personal services, bars and wineries. Retail is limited to 20% of capacity to reduce exposure, and restaurants are restricted to takeout and deliveries. The order also limits all nonessential travel.

San Mateo County did not join health officers in neighboring counties in announcing Friday, Dec. 4, that the order would be implemented in the coming days. In his statement Monday, Morrow cited several reasons for why that's the case, including his belief that the new restrictions "are likely to drive more activity indoors, a much riskier endeavor."

He doubted that a new order would change behaviors of those who were not adhering by COVID-19 guidelines before. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, people should wear a face covering when around people outside of their household, practice social distancing, avoid gatherings and only travel for essential purposes.

"The power and authority to control this pandemic lies primarily in (the public's) hands, not mine," Morrow said.

"While I don’t have scientific evidence to support this, I also believe these greater restrictions will result in more job loss, more hunger, more despair and desperation (the structure of our economy is, for the most part, if you don’t work, you don’t eat or have a roof over your head), and more death from causes other than COVID," Morrow wrote. "And I wonder, are these premature deaths any less worrisome than COVID deaths?"

San Mateo County's unadjusted case rate of 16.3 new cases per day per 100,000 is less than the state's case rate of 30.2 per day per 100,000, according to the state's data.

Statewide, ICU capacity is at 14.2%, compared to 25.7% in the Bay Area region, and 32.6% in San Mateo County.

Morrow also called into question the decision to base the implementation of the order off of ICU capacity numbers, saying, "There is not a good or standard method for understanding ICU capacity on a county level, much less on a regional level. Basing such extreme decisions on non-standardized and poorly understood metrics seems fraught to me."

Morrow noted that the state could issue a stay-at-home order for the entire Bay Area and said San Mateo County would support such a move, or that new data could convince him to do so before the state.

"Either of these situations occurring is really quite moot, because neither absolves you of your personal, social, and moral responsibility to stop the spread and protect your fellow humans, many of whom can’t stay at home because they are protecting you, or are keeping society running, or are at high risk of death," he said.

Read Morrow's full statement here.

Stanford plans to bring back undergraduates this winter

Stanford University is still planning to allow freshmen and sophomores to live on campus starting in January, but has made some changes based on the latest public health directives and recommendations from medical experts.

Undergraduates who choose to return to Stanford will arrive in a phased approach two weeks after the quarter begins "to allow more time for the current surge to pass" and to decrease the number of students who need to travel, move in and get tested at any time, Provost Persis Drell wrote in an announcement.

Students will be tested twice on the day they arrive and twice per week afterwards. Classes will take place remotely. For the first two weeks that returning or newly arriving undergraduate and graduate students are on campus, in-person gatherings will be prohibited (including gatherings of student households, defined as a group of no more than eight people in a residential facility or area who want to interact with each other as would members of a household).

"Our experiences and outcomes this fall, coupled with the advice we have received from our medical experts, give us the confidence to move forward with these modified plans," Drell said.

San Mateo County advises vigilance at businesses against COVID-19 as cases spike

San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy said county officials were alarmed by the 85% spike in new COVID-19 cases between October and November during a Dec. 2 media briefing.

They've begun issuing citations for businesses that violate the health orders. With 747 complaints so far, the most common complaints against businesses are that they are not insuring social distancing and not requiring customers to wear masks. Of the complaints, 24% were against businesses in San Mateo, 16% in Redwood City and 10% in Burlingame, he said.

"This is the time to be extremely careful," he said of the next six weeks. "To really be vigilant and make sure you comply with all the regulations and requirements to operate businesses. We are headed into some darker days before the light at the end of the tunnel. ... This is that hill at the end of the race everyone dreads."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Monday had 40,624 COVID-19 cases and a seven-day rolling average of 558 new cases per day, a one-day increase of 40. Eight more people have died, raising the death toll to 511. In addition, 365 people were hospitalized with the virus, 62 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 16,371 cumulative cases as of Monday. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 177. Of the 84 people hospitalized, 83 had confirmed cases and one had a suspected case.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 5-6

On Saturday, Santa Clara County had a total of COVID-19 cases 39,124 and a seven-day rolling average of 488 new cases per day. The death toll stands at 503. In addition, 319 people were hospitalized with the virus, 60 of which were new.

As of Sunday, the county had 39,193 COVID-19 cases and a seven-day rolling average of 518 new cases per day. The death toll stands at 503. In addition, 333 people were hospitalized with the virus, 56 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 16,101 cumulative cases as of Sunday, with a death toll of 176. There were 84 people hospitalized as of Sunday

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 4

Santa Clara County as of Friday had 37,517 COVID-19 cases and a seven-day rolling average of 487 new cases per day. Eight more people have died, raising the death toll to 503. In addition, 311 people were hospitalized with the virus, 46 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 16,065 cumulative cases as of Friday, with a death toll of 176. There were 75 people hospitalized with confirmed cases of the virus.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 3

Santa Clara County as of Thursday had 36,673 COVID-19 cases and a seven-day rolling average of 533 new cases per day. Nine more people have died, raising the death toll to 495. In addition, 296 people were hospitalized with the virus, 67 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 15,217 cumulative cases as of Thursday. Six more deaths were reported, raising the toll of 176. There were 80 people hospitalized as of Thursday, 79 of whom were confirmed with the virus. The county's number of patients confirmed with the virus nearly doubled over the last 10 days.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 2

Santa Clara County public health officials raised alarm bells in a Wednesday press conference that local hospitals are nearing capacity for treating patients sick with COVID-19, following a surge in cases that is only expected to worsen following the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Only 44 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds were available countywide as of Tuesday, Dec. 1, and hospitals serving communities hardest hit by the virus — specifically the southern end of the county and eastern parts of San Jose — are even closer to maximum capacity, said Dr. Jennifer Tong, associate chief medical officer for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Across all five hospitals serving these parts of the county, there are less than a dozen ICU beds still open, she said.

"What this means is that the hospitals in our hardest hit communities have the fewest beds available for those in need," Tong said.

Among hospitals elsewhere in the county, ICU bed capacity was at 84% as of Tuesday, Tong said. If trends continue, the county could exceed hospital capacity by as soon as the middle of next month.

The wave of hospitalizations comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the county, with 499 new cases and four more deaths reported on Wednesday. County officials imposed new restrictions to curb the spread following Thanksgiving weekend, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine for those entering the county after traveling more than 150 miles.

"The travel quarantine is yet another important protection in this multilayered effort to try and control the surging cases and ensure we have adequate hospital capacity," County Counsel James Williams said at the press conference.

County health department staff also released new details about the COVID-19 vaccine, including a specific plan to manage and distribute doses when they become available. The county will receive an allocation of the vaccine by the state of California, and is required to follow a federally mandated prioritization for distribution.

Doses will initially be available for those who are at highest risk, Tong said, including those working in the health care environment and other frontline workers with heightened risk of exposure to the virus. She could not say how many doses the state would provide to the county, nor how much capacity is available in the county to store vaccine doses. Vaccines developed to date must be stored at temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius.

Tong said it may be a long time before vaccines are widely available, and that it is imperative for people to follow public health guidelines and prevent the spread of the virus until then.

"Let me emphasize that we all must continue to do our part to stay safe while we wait," Tong said. "It might take many months before everyone who is interested in getting a vaccine is able to get one."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Wednesday had 35,945 COVID-19 cases and a seven-day rolling average of 498 new cases per day. Four more people have died, raising the death toll to 486. In addition, 287 people were hospitalized with the virus, 50 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 15,040 cumulative cases as of Wednesday, with a death toll of 170. Of the 73 people hospitalized as of Wednesday, 72 had confirmed cases and one was suspected.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: DEC. 1

Santa Clara County as of Tuesday had 35,457 COVID-19 cases and a seven-day rolling average of 481 new cases per day, which breaks down to 24 cases for every 100,000 people. Six more people have died, raising the death toll to 482. In addition, 288 people were hospitalized with the virus, 46 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 14,812 cumulative cases as of Tuesday, with a death toll of 170. There were 72 people hospitalized as of Tuesday. The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases ending Nov. 23 was 132 cases, which breaks down to 17 cases for every 100,000 people. (case numbers in the most recent week are subject to change).

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 30

Dr. Scott Atlas leaves the White House

Dr. Scott Atlas, Stanford University's Hoover Institution senior fellow and controversial White House coronavirus task force adviser, resigned his position in President Donald Trump's administration on Monday, according to his tweet. He posted the resignation letter on his Twitter account, @ScottWAtlas.

He said he was "honored to have served @realDonaldTrump and the American people during these difficult times."

Atlas, who has come under fire for his support of herd immunity to control the deadly virus and who has largely dismissed mask wearing and social distancing, joined the task force as a special advisor in August. The appointment lasts 130 days and this week would have been his last. Atlas will officially leave on Tuesday. He defended his and the White House's actions to fight the virus, according to Fox News.

Members of Stanford's Faculty Senate approved a resolution on Nov. 19 to condemn Atlas for his statements promoting "a view of COVID-19 that contradicts medical science."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County as of Nov. 30 had 35,085 COVID-19 cases, 476 deaths and a seven-day rolling average of 437 new cases per day. In addition, 286 people were hospitalized with the virus — a jump of 65 people in the last five days.

San Mateo County reported 14,614 cumulative cases as of Nov. 30, with a death toll of 170. There were 62 people hospitalized as of Nov. 30. The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases ending Nov. 22 was 129 cases (case numbers in the most recent week are subject to change).

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 26-29

On Nov. 28, Santa Clara County leaders announced new public-health restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected residents at a much faster rate than ever before.

San Mateo County also announced it was moving into the state's purple tier, and leaders imposed a nighttime curfew. Read more here.

Santa Clara County reported 760 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, Nov. 28, raising the total to 33,732. No additional deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 476. There were 239 people hospitalized, 59 of whom were new.

San Mateo County reported 48 new cases of COVID-19 as of Nov. 27, bringing the county's total to 14,148. The death toll remains at 170. There were 44 people hospitalized as of Nov. 24. Data from both counties may be incomplete due to an earlier problem with the state's reporting system for communicable diseases.

Santa Clara County as of Nov. 29 had 34,292 COVID-19 cases, 476 deaths and a seven-day rolling average of 417 new cases per day. In addition, 272 people were hospitalized with the virus — a jump of 50 people in just two days. Of these, 74 were in intensive care units and 186 out of 817 ventilators were in use.

San Mateo County reported 14,148 cumulative cases as of Nov. 29, with a death toll of 170. There were 46 people hospitalized as of Nov. 27. The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases ending Nov. 21 was 122 cases (case numbers in the most recent week are subject to change).

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 25

The recent spike in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Santa Clara County is more evidence that residents should avoid gathering for holidays like Thanksgiving and traveling to prevent spreading the virus, county officials said Wednesday.

"We're very concerned about what is happening here in our community," County Counsel James Williams said. "We are extremely concerned about what this means for our hospitals' ability to care for not only people with COVID-19, but for other people who need access to care."

"The hope is that next year, we can enjoy our Thanksgivings with our families and our winter holidays also, but this year we just have to be more strict, because it's going to protect your family, yourself, your co-workers and it will allow people to not have to go into the hospital," said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the county's COVID-19 testing officer.

Santa Clara County reported 469 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, raising the total to 32,049. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 470. There were 213 people hospitalized, 45 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 346.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 24

Santa Clara County has a total of 31,603 cases of the coronavirus, 512 of which were new on Tuesday. There were 197 people hospitalized, 30 of whom were new. Both increases in cases and patients are the largest the county has seen in a single day since the pandemic began, county officials said in a press release.

County leaders emphasized the importance of exercising caution against COVID-19 with the Thanksgiving holiday weekend fast approaching.

"As we head into the holiday season, the way to show family, friends and fellow Santa Clara County residents that you care about them is to not hold large gatherings with them that can easily spread the virus," Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez said. "We are reaching a tipping point with COVID-19 numbers and we need to change course now."

Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the county's COVID-19 testing officer, also urged the public to be vigilant as hospitalizations have risen in the county.

"The ability for our hospitals to care for the most critical patients is a critical concern when dealing with COVID-19," he said. "The more we protect ourselves and our families from COVID-19, the less likely we will be filling up hospital beds."

Santa Clara County will be stricter in enforcing capacity limits and social distancing protocols this weekend by suspending the grace period for fines starting on Thanksgiving and lasting until Sunday. Read more here.

Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 467. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 328.

San Mateo County reported 146 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 13,707. The death toll remains at 170. There were 44 people hospitalized with confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 23

California's latest surge of COVID-19 infections is "unprecedented," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday, as new cases and hospitalizations have skyrocketed in recent weeks.

Newsom, speaking from his home in quarantine after three of his children were recently exposed to a California Highway Patrol officer who tested positive for the virus, said the state has averaged nearly 12,000 new cases per day over the last seven days, a level California hasn't reached since the pandemic began.

Of those new cases, 60% of them are among those 18 to 49 years old, according to Newsom.

Hospitalizations have also spiked by 77% over the last 14 days while intensive care unit admissions have risen by 55% over that span.

"Obviously this extends all across the United States and many parts of the world," Newsom said of the recent surge. "We're not immune here in the state of California."

California has clamped down on social activities like indoor restaurant dining in response to the new surge, moving more than two dozen counties into the state's most-restrictive reopening tier and implementing a monthlong curfew to discourage residents from spreading the virus.

The surge also comes as the state builds its capacity to dole out millions of doses of a coronavirus vaccine, Newsom said.

That work includes collaborating both with local governments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has given some $28 million to the state to distribute vaccines when they are available to mass amounts of people.

Newsom likened the state's vaccination planning to its annual efforts to vaccinate roughly 19 million residents against the annual flu.

"We're not starting from scratch," Newsom said.

Newsom said he, his wife and his children are asymptomatic and tested negative over the weekend before going into quarantine on Sunday.

Newsom and state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly reiterated that residents should avoid large Thanksgiving gatherings later this week, particularly in light of most of the state's new cases being reported in people under 50 years old.

"We need to just be very careful," Ghaly said. "We know that our hospitals are seeing levels of surge that they've never seen before, even at the height of our June and July peak of cases."

Stanford Faculty Senate votes to condemn Dr. Scott Atlas

Members of Stanford University Faculty Senate approved a resolution on Nov. 19 to condemn Dr. Scott Atlas for his statements related to COVID-19, the university announced Nov. 20.

Atlas, a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and a special assistant to President Donald Trump on COVID-19 issues, has taken six actions that "promote a view of COVID-19 that contradicts medical science," the faculty senate allege, including discouraging the use of masks, misrepresenting information about pandemic management, endangering citizens and public officials, showing disdain for established medical knowledge and damaging Stanford’s reputation and academic standing, according to Stanford News.

Atlas' actions are “anathema to our community, our values and our belief that we should use knowledge for good,” according to the resolution, which was approved by 85% of the faculty membership.

A mid-November tweet by Atlas exhorted Michiganders to "rise up" against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's public health orders to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 infection.

"As elected representatives of the Stanford faculty, we strongly condemn his behavior. It violates the core values of our faculty and the expectations under the Stanford Code of Conduct, which states that we all 'are responsible for sustaining the high ethical standards of this institution,'" the resolution stated.

The resolution did not ask the university to sanction Atlas, however, which some felt could have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and willingness to enter government service among faculty, Stanford News noted.

In a Nov. 23 article in The Stanford Review, Atlas said he was "disappointed" in the Faculty Senate's resolution.

"I wish to correct the misinterpretation of my social media posts that allegedly endangered citizens and public officials. I have made it clear that this was not my understanding or intent. I would never urge or support violence. This manufactured controversy only distracts from what should be our shared goal: to save lives and reduce the harms from this pandemic. My intent was never to divide us, nor to do any harm," he wrote in part.

"Unfortunately, the Stanford Faculty Senate has chosen to use its institutional voice to take sides in the debates over the complex scientific and medical questions raised by the pandemic. I fear that this precedent could further embroil the University into politics and raises the threat that the University will criticize other faculty who disagree with Stanford's institutional views on these or other issues."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 439 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, raising the total to 31,103. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 464. There were 191 people hospitalized, 23 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 325, an increase by five from the previous day.

San Mateo County reported 227 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 13,561. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 170. There were 43 people hospitalized with confirmed and suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 21-22

Santa Clara County reported 386 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, raising the total to 30,025. The death toll stands at 463. There were 175 people hospitalized, 34 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 312, or 16 new cases per day per 100,000 people in the county.

On Sunday, the county announced 284 new cases, raising the total to 30,676. The death toll stands at 463. There were 192 people hospitalized, 30 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 320.

San Mateo County reported 131 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the county's total to 13,334. The death toll stands at 169. Of the 36 people hospitalized, 32 were confirmed with the virus and four had suspected cases. The county has seen a nearly 40% increase in people hospitalized since Nov. 16.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 20

Santa Clara County reported 407 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, raising the total to 30,025. Four more people have died, raising the death toll to 463. There were 166 people hospitalized, 24 of whom were new.

The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 294, an increase by 26 from the previous day.

Before releasing its coronavirus data on Friday afternoon, the county issued a statement that noted the average is the highest it's been since the beginning of the pandemic. The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has also seen a significant rise. The rate has gone up by more than 50% over the previous seven days, from 110 on Nov. 12 to 166 on Nov. 19.

The county's free COVID-19 testing facilities will be closed on Thanksgiving Day this Thursday, Nov. 26. Tests will be available by appointment Nov. 27-29 at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose. The county continues to operate testing sites available by appointment, including ones on the Midpeninsula. For more information, visit sccfreetest.org.

San Mateo County reported 189 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 13,203. The death toll stands at 169. There were 29 people hospitalized with the virus, three of whom were new. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day ending Nov. 20 was 108, or 14 new cases per day per 100,000 residents in the county.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 19

State orders monthlong curfew in purple-tier counties

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday a limited stay-at-home order for California that will go into effect Saturday night and last for a month to try to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The order is for counties in the "purple" or most-restrictive tier in the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy plan and will order all nonessential work and gatherings to stop from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Read more here.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 345 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, raising the total to 29,631. Six more people have died, raising the death toll to 459. There were 161 people hospitalized, 29 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 265.

San Mateo County reported 107 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 12,988. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 169. There were 26 people hospitalized with confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 18

Santa Clara County reported 281 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, raising the total to 29,297. Six more people have died, raising the death toll to 453. There were 155 people hospitalized, 22 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 261, an increase by 19 from the previous day.

San Mateo County reported 100 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 12,878. The death toll has stood at 168 since Nov. 12. There were 28 people hospitalized with the virus, which breaks down to 27 confirmed cases and one suspected case.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 17

Santa Clara County reported 345 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising the total to 29,023. Two more people have died, raising the death toll to 447. There were 151 people hospitalized, 32 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 241, an increase by 10 from the previous day.

San Mateo County reported 105 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 12,780. The death toll has stood at 168 since Thursday. Of the 29 people hospitalized, 27 are confirmed cases and two are suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 16

Stanford distances itself from Dr. Scott Atlas' COVID-19 stance

Dr. Scott Atlas, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, has urged Michigan residents to "rise up" against new COVID-19 orders given by that state's governor, but apparently the university takes a dim view of his public statements.

The university released a public statement on Monday expressing an opposite position from Atlas, who has questioned mask-wearing and supports "herd immunity" as an effective way to beat back the deadly coronavirus.

"Stanford’s position on managing the pandemic in our community is clear. We support using masks, social distancing, and conducting surveillance and diagnostic testing. We also believe in the importance of strictly following the guidance of local and state health authorities.

"Dr. Atlas has expressed views that are inconsistent with the university’s approach in response to the pandemic. Dr. Atlas’s statements reflect his personal views, not those of the Hoover Institution or the university," Stanford said.

Atlas, a neuroradiologist, does not have a background in infectious diseases nor in epidemiology. He is on leave from his position at Hoover Institution while he works for President Donald Trump's administration. He issued a tweet on Sunday evening after Michigan officials announced new COVID-19 restrictions.

"The only way this stops is if people rise up," he wrote. "You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp."

He has been harshly criticized by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and many medical professionals for the statement, according to multiple news reports. Whitmer was targeted in an alleged kidnapping plot by right-wing extremists due to her COVID-19 restrictions for the state. Thirteen people were arrested in early October in connection to the plot.

On Monday, Atlas followed up with another tweet claiming he didn't intend to incite violence: "Hey, I NEVER was talking about violence. People vote, people peacefully protest. NEVER would I endorse or incite violence. NEVER!!"

"I'm sorry I'm not very articulate on Twitter, " he also told Fox News. "Basically if you want to change things you have to have your voices heard, I didn't mean anything more than that."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 388 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, raising the total to 28,686. One more death has raised the death toll to 445. There were 145 people hospitalized, 33 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 231, an increase by five from the previous day.

San Mateo County reported 127 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 12,684. The death toll has stood at 168 since Thursday. Twenty-six people confirmed with the virus and two people with suspected cases were hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 14-15

Santa Clara County reported 330 new cases on Saturday and another 335 on Sunday, raising the total to 28,628. There was no change all weekend to the death toll, which remains at 444. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stood at 210 on Saturday and went up to 226 on Sunday.

The county recorded 129 people hospitalized, 44 of whom were new, as of Saturday. The total number of hospitalizations went up to 135 on Sunday, 25 of which were new.

San Mateo County reported 52 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 55 additional cases on Sunday, bringing the county's total to 12,557. The death toll has stood at 168 since Thursday. Twenty-four people confirmed with the virus were hospitalized on Saturday and went down to 22 on Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 13

State asks people to limit travel over spiking COVID-19 cases

In response to recent spikes in COVID-19 cases around the country, California joined two other western states Friday asking people to limit travel and abide by voluntary self-quarantine guidelines for the foreseeable future.

In a joint announcement, Gov. Gavin Newsom and his counterparts in Oregon and Washington issued "travel advisories" urging people traveling to their states or returning home from out of state to self-quarantine for 14 days.

"Increased cases are adding pressure on our hospital systems and threatening the lives of seniors, essential workers and vulnerable Californians," Newsom said. "Travel increases the risk of spreading COVID-19, and we must all collectively increase our efforts at this time to keep the virus at bay and save lives."

During self-quarantine, people are asked to limit interactions to members of their immediate household.

The request does not apply to people traveling across state lines for essential work, which the announcement defines as "work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security."

The governors are also asking people refrain from all recreational travel.

"If you do not need to travel, you shouldn't. This will be hard, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner. But the best way to keep your family safe is to stay close to home," said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said cases have doubled in his state over the past two weeks and, according to the state's Department of Health, now has 123,356 confirmed COVID-19 infections.

California hit 991,609 confirmed cases Thursday and Oregon's COVID-19 cases grew to 53,779.

Nationally, more than 10.5 million cases have been confirmed since January, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 362 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, raising the total to 27,648. Four more deaths have raised the death toll to 444. There were 110 people hospitalized, 23 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 194, an increase by 18.

San Mateo County reported 121 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 12,450. The death toll has stood at 168 since Thursday. There are 19 people hospitalized with confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 12

Santa Clara County reported 185 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, raising the total to 27,299. No new deaths were reported, keeping the toll at 440. There were 102 people hospitalized, 17 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases stands at 176, an increase by 19 from the previous day.

San Mateo County reported 100 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 12,332. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 168. There are 30 people hospitalized, which breaks down to 22 confirmed cases and eight suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 11

Health officials in 10 Bay Area jurisdictions jointly issued guidelines this week for the holiday season, advising residents to keep gatherings short and small to prevent spreading the coronavirus.

Gatherings are encouraged to be held outdoors and limited to three

households or fewer for two hours, at most, according to the guidelines from public health officers in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, San Francisco Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties and the city of Berkeley.

People with symptoms or the coronavirus should not attend holiday gatherings. If symptoms develop after a gathering, all guests should be notified and tested for the virus.

"When people who live in different houses or apartments are together at the same time in the same space, risk of COVID-19 spreading goes up, even when the people are relatives or friends," Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said.

When possible, residents are encouraged to gather for the holidays virtually and deliver meals to family and friends rather than holding traditional holiday dinners.

People are also encouraged to participate in holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah by decorating their houses, attending holiday events outdoors and watching holiday movies at one of the Bay Area's drive-in movie theaters.

"Please celebrate safely this year and protect yourself and your family by including masks, keeping a distance and staying outdoors," Cody said.

The full list of holiday recommendations for the 10 counties can be found here.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 159 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, raising the total to 27,124. Four more people have died, raising the death toll to 440. There were 106 people hospitalized, 16 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 157.

San Mateo County reported 98 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 12,232. The death toll has stood at 165 since Monday. There are 21 people confirmed with the virus in the hospital.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 10

Santa Clara County reported 232 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising the total to 26,972. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 436. There were 107 people hospitalized, 13 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 146.

San Mateo County reported 75 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 12,127. The death toll has stood at 165 since Monday. Of the 26 people hospitalized, 20 are confirmed cases and six are suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 9

Is California seeing signs of the next wave?

California's rate of positive coronavirus tests has increased nearly 50% over the last three weeks, possibly portending the next wave of the pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

The state's 14-day positivity rate has risen from 2.5 on Oct. 19 to 3.7 Monday, according to Newsom. Likewise, the number of coronavirus patients within the state's hospital system has risen by nearly 29% over the last two weeks.

Those increases also come as the state continues to ramp up its testing capacity, as California is now averaging nearly 144,000 coronavirus tests per day.

While the state has fortified its stocks of personal protective equipment, ventilators and intensive care unit beds in anticipation of the pandemic's next wave, Newsom said the recent case and hospitalization increases should be sobering for all residents of the state.

"We're starting to see people take down their guard, take off their masks, begin to mix outside their households," Newsom said. "We've seen some early indication related to Halloween. I'm very sober about that and that's what I was elected to focus on."

The effects of the statewide increase in new cases are expected to trickle down to the county level and affect which businesses can reopen when the state modifies its pandemic reopening tier assignments on Tuesday.

A total of 10 counties are in the "purple tier," the most restrictive section of the state's four-tiered reopening system.

The next two tiers, red and orange, include 20 and 19 counties, respectively, including much of the greater Bay Area. The least-restrictive yellow tier includes only nine counties, including San Francisco County.

Newsom said he expected to see multiple counties move into more restrictive tiers this week.

"This is exactly why we designed the tier status the way we did," Newsom said. "It was about being more and less restrictive, not based upon political whim, but based upon the data, based upon the epidemiology, based upon the facts on the ground... the tier system is working as it was designed."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 264 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, raising the total to 26,747 Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 433. There were 103 people hospitalized, 19 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 139.

San Mateo County reported 70 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 12,049. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 165. Of the 20 people hospitalized, 17 have confirmed cases and three have suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 7-8

Santa Clara County reported 257 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday. There were 93 people hospitalized, 21 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day stands at 134.

The county reported 358 more new cases on Sunday, raising the total to 26,490. The death toll remained flat over the weekend at 430. There were 102 people hospitalized, 25 of whom were new, on Sunday. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day has grown to 139.

San Mateo County reported 116 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the county's total to 11,937. The death toll has stood at 162 since Thursday. There are 18 people hospitalized, which breaks down to 17 confirmed cases and one suspected case.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 6

Santa Clara County reported 193 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, raising the total to 25,883. Six more people have died, raising the death toll to 430. There were 87 people hospitalized, 22 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is 134.

San Mateo County reported 75 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 11,710. The death toll has stood at 162 since Thursday. There are 18 people hospitalized with confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 5

Santa Clara County reported 172 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, raising the total to 25,705. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 424. There were 99 people hospitalized, 14 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is 133, the highest average since mid-September.

San Mateo County reported 75 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 11,710. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 162. There are 24 people hospitalized, 20 with confirmed cases and four with suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 4

Santa Clara County reported 124 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, raising the total to 25,543. Nine more people have died, raising the death toll to 421. There were 98 people hospitalized, 14 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is 131.

San Mateo County reported 67 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 11,629. The death toll remains at 161. Of the 21 people hospitalized, 19 are confirmed cases and two are suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 3

Santa Clara County reported 150 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising the total to 25,492. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 412. There were 88 people hospitalized, 19 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is 130.

San Mateo County reported 75 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 11,564. The death toll remains at 161. There are 22 people hospitalized, which breaks down to 17 confirmed cases and five suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: NOV. 2

Santa Clara County reaches testing milestone

Santa Clara County has performed more than 1 million COVID-19 tests since the beginning of the pandemic, county officials announced Monday.

The 1 million mark constitutes tests performed locally by the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, county Public Health Department, state of California and private health care providers in the region, according to a press release.

Tests provided through the county make up more than 30% of all COVID-19 tests, the release states.

"This shows the exemplary commitment from our community to confront COVID-19,” Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the county's COVID-19 testing officer, said in a statement. "We are all in this together and it is important that all essential and frontline workers continue to be tested regularly."

As of Sunday, the county recorded 1,039,665 tests, 29,537 of which returned positive, and had a test positivity rate of 1.7%. Results turn around in one-and-a-half days on average, according to the county's testing dashboard.

The county continues to provide free COVID-19 tests by appointment on a recurring basis at multiple locations, including at the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts on Tuesday, Nov. 3 and the Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium on Friday, Nov. 6. Tests can be scheduled at sccfreetest.org.

San Mateo County expands visits at congregate health facilities

San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow last Thursday revised visitation guidelines for care facilities to expand indoor visits for compassionate care.

The order applies to long-term congregate care facilities, which include nursing facilities, hospices, group homes, homes for the elderly or any facility providing residential care in a congregate setting.

The prior July 14 order allowed indoor visits only to address urgent legal or end-of-life concerns.

Now, indoor visits are allowed for compassionate care, which includes visits with residents who are at the end of life, struggling to adjust, grieving the death of a loved one or experiencing emotional distress.

Indoor visits are limited to a case-by-case basis if outdoor visits are infeasible due to weather or health concerns.

Facilities must comply with safety measures, such as screening residents and visitors for COVID-19 symptoms and providing personal protective equipment to visitors, residents and staff.

Visits must be scheduled in advance, and hand sanitizer and staff supervision are also required.

The revised order also allows in-person group activities and group dining for residents, once care facilities follow guidelines from the state's Department of Public Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Activities that may increase COVID-19 transmission — such as singing — are still prohibited.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 142 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, raising the total to 25,277. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 409. There were 86 people hospitalized, 17 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is 128.

San Mateo County reported 32 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 11,479. The death toll remains at 161. There are 21 people hospitalized, which breaks down to 16 confirmed cases and five suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 31-NOV. 1

Santa Clara County reported 121 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, raising the total to 25,094. The death toll remains at 406. There were 90 people hospitalized, 15 of whom were new.

The county reported 156 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, raising the total to 25,139. The death toll remains at 406. There were 85 people hospitalized, eight of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is 125.

San Mateo County reported 77 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the county's total to 11,451. The death toll remains at 161. Of the 17 people hospitalized, 15 have confirmed cases and two have suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 30

Santa Clara County reported 202 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, raising the total to 24,867. The death toll has risen by two to 406. There were 85 people hospitalized, 12 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is 119, a decrease by four from the previous day.

San Mateo County reported 38 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 11,374. The death toll remains at 161. There are 19 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 29

Santa Clara County reported 113 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, raising the total to 24,665 The death toll has risen by two to 404. There were 83 people hospitalized, 17 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is 123, an increase by one from a day earlier.

San Mateo County reported 66 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 11,341. Two more people have died, raising the death toll to 161. There are 18 people hospitalized, which breaks down to 17 confirmed cases and one suspected case.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 28

Santa Clara County reported 137 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, raising the total to 24,558 The death toll has risen by 10 to 402. There were 78 people hospitalized, 12 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is 122, the highest average so far this month.

San Mateo County reported 48 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 11,278. The death toll remains at 159. There are 14 people hospitalized, 12 of whom are confirmed cases and two that are suspected.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 27

Santa Clara County reported 123 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising the total to 24,425 The death toll has risen to 392. There were 80 people hospitalized, 12 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is 115, an increase by two from the previous day.

San Mateo County reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 11,232. The death toll remains at 159. There are 17 people hospitalized, which breaks down to 14 confirmed cases and three suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 26

Santa Clara County reported 171 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, raising the total to 24,313. The death toll remains at 388. There were 87 people hospitalized, 10 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is 113, a decrease by one from a day earlier.

San Mateo County reported 47 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 11,198. The death toll remains at 159. There are 18 people hospitalized, all of which are confirmed cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 24-25

Santa Clara County reported 141 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, raising the total to 24,014. The death toll remains at 388. There were 87 people hospitalized, 15 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is at 114, a decrease by one from a day earlier.

The county reported 135 new cases on Sunday, raising the total to 24,144. The death toll remains at 388. There were 90 people hospitalized, 16 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is at 114.

San Mateo County reported 73 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the county's total to 11,149. The death toll remains at 159. There are 21 people hospitalized, 20 of which are confirmed and one of which is suspected.

PREVIOUS UPDATES OCT. 23

Santa Clara County reported 207 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, raising the total to 23,881. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 388. There were 89 people hospitalized, six of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is at 115, an increase by six from a day earlier.

San Mateo County reported 71 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 11,075. The death toll remains at 159. There are 21 people hospitalized, 19 of which are confirmed and two of which are suspected.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 22

Santa Clara County reported 95 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, raising the total to 23,679. The death toll remains at 385. There were 92 people hospitalized, 13 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is at 109, an increase by one from a day earlier.

San Mateo County reported 41 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 11,002. Two more people have died, raising the death toll to 159. There are 22 people hospitalized, 18 of which are confirmed cases and four which are suspected.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 21

Santa Clara County reported 137 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, raising the total to 23,591. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 385. There were 96 people hospitalized, the highest number in nearly a month. Eighteen of those patients were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is at 108, a decrease by one from a day earlier.

San Mateo County reported 39 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 10,961. No new deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 157. There are 23 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 20

Santa Clara County reported 103 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising the total to 23,458. Four more people have died, raising the death toll to 382. There were 88 people hospitalized, 13 of whom were new. The most recent seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is at 109, an increase of nine from the previous day and the highest average so far this month.

San Mateo County reported 30 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 10,918. No new deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 157. There are 24 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 19

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the launch Monday of a scientific working group that will examine the safety of any coronavirus vaccine that receives federal approval.

The working group includes 11 epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists and other medical experts from across the state that will be tasked with independently reviewing vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Two of the members have ties to Stanford University Health system: Dr. Grace Lee, a professor who specializes in infectious disease at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, and Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, professor and chief of the division of infectious disease within Stanford Medicine's Department of Pediatrics.

Newsom said the Scientific Safety Review Workgroup will do so as pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies like Pfizer and Moderna roll out their coronavirus vaccines into next year.

The state's independent review process will also remain in place regardless of who wins the November presidential general election, Newsom said.

"There's been, frankly, a lot of politicization ... around vaccinations and we have to make sure that they're safe and they're effective," he said Monday during a briefing on the state's pandemic response.

Newsom cautioned that the amount of vaccine doses available before the end of the year will be a fraction of the U.S. population and that most Californians should not expect to have access to a vaccine until 2021.

The state was given an estimate of around 45 million total vaccine doses being available across the country by the end of the calendar year, according to Newsom.

That number, he cautioned, was strictly for state planning purposes and was also on the high end of the likely pool of available vaccine doses.

"Don't anticipate or expect that you can go down to a local pharmacy any time in this calendar year and likely get a vaccination," Newsom said.

In addition to the coronavirus' medical novelty, the pace of vaccine development is likely to be hampered because most treatments currently consist of two shots over 21 days.

Those doses must also be kept in either cold storage or ultra-cold storage at temperatures as low as below 70 degrees Celsius.

That necessary cold storage could further affect the availability of commodities like dry ice that would be used to prevent the vaccine doses from spoiling.

"While a small number of doses of an FDA-approved vaccine could be deployed before year's end, the reality is that the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us well into 2021 — and widespread vaccine distribution likely won't occur for many more months," said Dr. Erica Pan, the state's acting public health officer.

However, even when the time comes that a vaccine is widely available, the pandemic will not end overnight, Newsom said, adding that uncertainly still remains whether a vaccine will effectively prevent contracting the virus long-term.

"Even if millions and millions of Americans, millions of Californians, get that vaccination, get that second shot ... it's absolutely essential that we maintain our vigilance," he said.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 135 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, raising the total to 23,355. Five more people have died, raising the death toll to 378. There were 87 people hospitalized, 14 of whom were new. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is at 100, which is within the daily range since Oct. 1 of between 93 and 102.

San Mateo County reported 53 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 10,889. No new deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 157. There are 28 people hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 17-18

Starting Monday, Oct. 19, San Mateo County will launch a COVID-19 compliance unit that will warn and cite businesses that fail to follow the county's pandemic-related health order.

During a media briefing on Wednesday, County Manager Mike Callagy said that people will be able to call 211 or go online to report businesses that have not been compliant.

Callagy said the compliance unit will work with businesses to ensure that they understand what is required of them.

Under the county's health order, businesses must implement social distancing protocols, require face coverings, and provide hand sanitizer or soap and water. Businesses must also prepare and distribute a health and safety plan to personnel.

"It's not our intention to go out and cite businesses," Callagy said Wednesday. "We want to go out and work with businesses to make sure that they are compliant and providing a safe and healthy environment for individuals who come to their business."

Read more here.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 80 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, raising the total to 23,052. No additional deaths were reported, keeping the toll at 373. There were 86 people hospitalized, 23 of whom were new. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day was at 99, which is within the daily range since Oct. 1 of between 93 and 102.

The county reported 173 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, raising the total to 23,224. No additional deaths were reported, keeping the toll at 373. There were 78 people hospitalized, 11 of whom were new. The seven-day rolling average of new cases per day is at 101, which is within the daily range since Oct. 1 of between 93 and 102.

San Mateo County reported 71 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the county's total to 10,810. No new deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 157. As of Sunday, 21 people were hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 16

Santa Clara County reported 116 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, raising the total to 22,974. Six more people have died, raising the death toll to 373. There are 83 people hospitalized, 21 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 21 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 10,739. No new deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 157. As of Friday, 29 people were hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 15

Santa Clara County reported 69 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, raising the total to 22,859. Four more people have died, raising the death toll to 367. There are 85 people hospitalized, 15 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 33 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 10,687. Two more people have died, raising the death toll to 157. Twenty-six people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 14

Santa Clara County reported 64 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, raising the total to 22,801. The death toll has stayed at 363 since Tuesday. There are 79 people hospitalized, 13 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 34 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 10,655. The death toll has stood at 155 since Oct. 8. Twenty-four people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 13

Santa Clara County reported 100 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising the total to 22,741. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 363. There are 80 people hospitalized, 10 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 23 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 10,622. The death toll has stood at 155 since Thursday. Twenty-nine people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 12

State's contact tracing capacity on the rise

Roughly 95% of California's local health departments now have the capacity to contact new coronavirus cases and their recent contacts on the same day their test result is reported, the state's top public health official said Monday.

The state's testing numbers have now eclipsed 125,000 per day after late summer heat waves and wildfires prompted some testing centers to temporarily close. Over the weekend, an average of more than 150,000 tests were completed across the state.

Test results are regularly being reported in 24 to 48 hours, at which point the state's corps of more than 10,000 contact tracers are able to alert people who may have been exposed to a positive case.

The state has also collaborated with local epidemiologists and used remote communication tools like Zoom to support state and local disease investigation efforts.

"(We are) really building up this infrastructure across the state so we can continue to box in the virus as much as we can and make sure that a single case doesn't turn into 20 or 30 cases," state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Monday during a briefing on the state's pandemic response.

The state intends to push its daily testing capacity north of 250,000 by next year, due in part to an agreement with the Massachusetts-based diagnostics company PerkinElmer to provide 150,000 of those tests per day.

According to Gov. Gavin Newsom, California will also utilize some $150 million in federal funding and $83 million in philanthropic funds to help counties isolate and quarantine residents who test positive before they have a chance to spread the virus on a large scale.

The increase in testing and focus on contact tracing has also led to a steady downward trend of the state's daily positivity rate.

Over the last seven and 14 days, the state's average daily rate is down to 2.6%, a full percentage point decrease since mid-September.

"We are not going to slip backwards on testing, we are going to forge forward and be much more aggressive," Newsom said.

"We're not ashamed of testing people, we're not ashamed of identifying individuals that have been tested positive, but we must make that meaningful," he said.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 97 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, raising the total to 22,644. Five more people have died since Friday, raising the death toll to 362. There are 78 people hospitalized, 18 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 28 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 10,601. The death toll has stood at 155 since Thursday. Thirty-three people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 10-11

Santa Clara County reported 112 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday and 139 on Sunday, raising the total to 22,555. The death toll has stood at 357 since Friday. (The county's data dashboard only updates the death count on weekdays.) There are 75 people hospitalized, seven of whom are new, as of Sunday.

San Mateo County reported 21 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 20 on Sunday, bringing the county's total to 10,573. The death toll has stood at 155 since Thursday. Thirty-three people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 9

Santa Clara County reported 160 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, raising the total to 22,312. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 357. There are 75 people hospitalized, nine of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 50 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 10,510. The death toll has stood at 155 since Thursday. Thirty-three people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 8

Santa Clara County reported 101 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, raising the total to 22,154. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 354. There are 74 people hospitalized, nine of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 59 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 10,452. One more person has died since Monday, raising the death toll to 155. Twenty-seven people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 7

Santa Clara County reported 83 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, raising the total to 22,056. Six more people have died, raising the death toll to 353. There are 76 people hospitalized, 11 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 50 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 10,395. The death toll has stayed at 154 since Monday. Twenty-eight people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 6

State to start tracking inequity of coronavirus spread

California will start tracking a metric intended to determine the inequity of the coronavirus' spread, the state's two top public health officials said Tuesday.

The state's Healthy Places Index provides coronavirus test positivity data on a census tract-level with the goal of highlighting the areas of the state that are either healthier or unhealthier than others, allowing for more targeted support for communities that are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.

Since late August, state public health officials have tracked the case rate per 100,000 residents and the test positivity rate for each of the state's 58 counties to determine how widespread the virus is and whether it is safe for a county to open certain businesses.

Starting Tuesday, the state also began tracking the HPI scores for individual counties. Those with lower scores will be able to move quicker through the state's color-coded, tiered reopening system, according to Dr. Erica Pan, the state's acting public health officer.

"We have to prioritize our interventions to the communities where we're seeing the most disease," Pan said, noting that communities with the most coronavirus transmission are often those inhabited by essential workers.

So far, Humboldt County is the only county to move to a less restrictive reopening tier based on its HPI score, moving to the least restrictive yellow tier.

Pan and state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly argued California is the first state in the country to tie economic reopening to reducing unequal test positivity.

Ghaly also emphasized the importance of "ensuring that we invest dollars that the state has received from the federal government to work on mitigating and reducing transmission, that counties are using those dollars in targeted ways to focus ... on communities with a disproportionate impact."

Only two counties in the greater Bay Area — Sonoma and Monterey counties — are in the most restrictive reopening tier.

None of the Bay Area's other counties changed tiers when the state updated its tier assignments on Tuesday.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 54 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising the total to 21,978. Two more people have died, raising the death toll to 347. There are 84 people hospitalized, 17 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 30 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 10,347. The death toll has stayed at 154 since Monday. Thirty people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 5

Santa Clara County reported 108 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, raising the total to 21,926. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 345. There are 88 people hospitalized, 14 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 31 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 10,309. Two more people have died, raising the death toll 154. Thirty-seven people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 3-4

Santa Clara County reported 130 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, raising the total to 21,734. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 333. There are 78 people hospitalized, 10 of whom are new.

The county announced another 107 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, raising the total to 21,840. Eleven more people have died, raising the death toll to 344. The new diagnoses and deaths reported Sunday have occurred over the past several days, according to the county. There are 76 people hospitalized, 17 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 70 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the county's total to 10,275. The death toll has stayed at 152 since Thursday. Thirty-six people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 2

Santa Clara County reported 149 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, raising the total to 21,605. Five more people have died, raising the death toll to 330. There are 82 people hospitalized, 11 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 77 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 10,205. The death toll has stayed at 152 since Thursday. Thirty-four people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: OCT. 1

Santa Clara County reported 85 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, raising the total to 21,457. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 325. There are 87 people hospitalized, 13 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 61 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 10,126. Two more people have died over the past week, raising the death toll to 152. Thirty-nine people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 30

Santa Clara County reported 87 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, raising the total to 21,379. Four more people have died, raising the death toll to 322. There are 87 people hospitalized, 13 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 50 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 10,069. The death toll has stood at 150 since Sept. 24. Forty-four people are hospitalized

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 29

Santa Clara County reported 73 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising the total to 21,294. Four more people have died, raising the death toll to 318. There are 89 people hospitalized, 13 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 41 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 9,900. The death toll has stood at 150 since Thursday. Forty-two people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 28

Outdoor playgrounds are allowed to reopen to the public following certain guidelines for local officials and visitors, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health announced Monday.

Following Newsom's stay-at-home order in March, playgrounds and other outdoor recreational facilities were closed in an effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Earlier this month on Sept. 16, numerous state lawmakers signed a letter authored by San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, asking Newsom to reopen playground and outdoor facilities, citing these spaces as "a critical resource for children and families to access outdoor space, exercise, and relax."

On Monday, Newsom's administration released guidelines for outdoor playground and outdoor recreational facility reopenings.

Guidelines include maintaining social distancing, wearing masks at all times, and limiting visits to 30 minutes per day. Additionally, adults are asked to supervise children at all times to ensure adherence to the guidelines.

Local officials overseeing the playgrounds must post the rules and park capacity at the entrance of the playgrounds.

"Playgrounds don't make money ... but they keep our kids happy and healthy, physically and mentally," Gonzalez posted on Twitter.

Outdoor playgrounds are open in Santa Clara County, where adults and children are required to wear face coverings, with the exception of "very young children," according to a FAQ webpage for the county's COVID-19 public health order. The county also advises adults to practice "rigorous hand hygiene" with children and keep 6 feet of distance from people outside of their households.

San Mateo County's outdoor playgrounds remain closed as of Tuesday morning, Sept. 29, according to county parks communication specialist Carla Schoof. The county is reevaluating its guidelines in response to the new state guidance, she said.

Newsom: Likelihood of COVID-19 resurgence increased in recent weeks

While California's rate of new coronavirus cases is at its lowest point in months, the likelihood of the virus resurging has increased in recent weeks in the state's largest metro areas, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

The state's average daily positivity rate over the last 14 days is now at 2.8%, Newsom said, down from 3.6% on Sept. 14.

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions have also continued to decline in recent weeks, both by around 20% over the last 14 days.

That trend of reduced viral spread has resulted in more than a dozen counties across the state, including several in the Bay Area, moving out of the state's most restrictive reopening tier since the state switched to the color-coded tier system on Aug. 31.

Newsom, however, echoed state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly's recent warning that there are reasons to believe the virus may begin spreading exponentially once again.

"While it's true we have seen a three-fold decrease in the total number of cases since our peak in mid-July, we are seeing early signs that those decreases are beginning to slow down, they're beginning to plateau," Newsom said.

The virus' effective reproduction number, which measures how many people can be infected at any given time, hit its nadir in the Bay Area and Southern California in late August and early September, according to Newsom, and has been trending upward since.

Once that reproduction number, measured as R effective, is higher than one, exponential spread of the virus is likely to occur.

In the greater Bay Area, with the exception of Monterey County, the rate dipped below one in mid-August and fell as low as 0.9 before rising back up to around 0.95 as of Monday.

While there is still time for the state to curb the potential growth in cases, Newsom said, Californians will have to be cautious to avoid spurring a second large wave of cases, particularly in tandem with the seasonal flu.

"We have once again tamed the growth of transmission rate in the state of California," Newsom said.

"But this R effective rate is a point of caution and consideration as it relates to the work that each and every one of us must do to continue to see a decrease, not just a plateauing of transmission rates."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 97 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, raising the total to 21,241. Two more people have died, raising the death toll to 314. There are 89 people hospitalized, 13 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 9,950. The death toll has stood at 150 since Thursday. Thirty-two people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 26-27

Santa Clara County reported 151 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, raising the total to 21,030. Five more people have died, raising the death toll to 301.

The county announced another 127 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, raising the total to 21,153. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 312. These figures represent new diagnoses and deaths over the past several days. There are 86 people hospitalized, 10 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 56 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the county's total to 9,897. The death toll has stood at 150 since Thursday. Twenty-nine people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 25

State's coronavirus case rates trending up

California's coronavirus case and hospitalization rates are trending in the wrong direction and could hamper some counties' plans to reopen businesses, the state's Health and Human Services secretary said Friday.

Case and hospitalization rates have trended up in recent days as the state begins to collect data from cases contracted during Labor Day weekend, according to Dr. Mark Ghaly.

Cases may also be rising slightly as counties have begun moving out of the state's most restrictive reopening tier, allowing them to reopen restaurants and gyms with limited capacities.

In addition, state residents who have been evacuated due to recent wildfires could be contributing to the uptick in cases as evacuees may interact with family or friends who live in different households, raising the chance of spreading the virus, Ghaly said.

"We're seeing some early signs that the positive disease and health care trends that we've been experiencing and, frankly enjoying because of these great behaviors over the last many weeks have started to slow," Ghaly said during a briefing with members of the media.

New cases have trended down statewide since the end of July and beginning of August, even when accounting for a rise in daily reported tests.

The state's 14-day average of daily positive tests has fallen from a peak of 9,504 on July 4 to 3,315 on Monday, the lowest level in three months. Those positive tests have trended up as the week has worn on, Ghaly said.

State public health officers are forecasting a short-term spike in statewide hospitalizations, which have fallen from a high of nearly 9,000 in late July to 2,474 on Friday.

However, those hospitalizations are expected to increase by roughly 89% over the next month to nearly 5,000.

While the state has dealt with that level of hospitalizations before, Ghaly said, the looming threat of flu season in conjunction with rising coronavirus hospitalizations would be uncharted territory.

"We see things coming together that we want to make sure we're very vigilant around to ensure that even if we go up a little bit with our hospitalizations, we don't continue to have high rates and even come close to the numbers we saw during the summer," he said.

Ghaly reiterated his previous stance that it's important for state residents to avoid letting their guard down about the coronavirus and to continue following state public health guidance like wearing a mask and physically distancing to reduce the virus' spread.

"Indeed, there is concern and we have the tools to reduce transmission," he said. "And by doing these simple things, we can hopefully bring these early trends of increase back down and help us get back to where we were just a week or two ago."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 128 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, raising the total to 20,882. Two more people have died, raising the death toll to 306. There are 104 people hospitalized, 17 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 9,843. The death toll has stood at 150 since Thursday. Thirty-four people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 24

San Mateo County expands COVID-19 testing via mobile sites

San Mateo County announced this week that it will expand countywide COVID-19 testing through mobile sites and targeted testing in at-risk neighborhoods.

The county currently offers free COVID-19 testing through Verily's Project Baseline program. Testing is available Tuesdays through Saturdays at the San Mateo County Event Center.

Mobile testing through Project Baseline is also available on rotation at Half Moon Bay, Daly City, San Bruno, East Palo Alto and North Fair Oaks.

"At the most fundamental level, increasing access to testing is about equity," said Warren Slocum, President of the county's Board of Supervisors. "We want to make sure that everyone, regardless of income or immigration status or whether they have health insurance or not, has access to a local testing site."

The tests are free and do not require insurance, though people must schedule an appointment to get tested. Volunteers at the testing centers can also help people get registered on site.

The county also launched a new initiative which will provide targeted, neighborhood-level testing in at-risk communities where there is a spike in COVID-19 cases.

For example, East Palo Alto — which has a high case rate compared to other cities in the county — will host a free targeted testing site from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, at 1600 Bay Road, East Palo Alto. No appointment, pre-registration or citizenship information is required for testing.

County Manager Mike Callagy encouraged people to get tested.

"We want to see every available testing appointment filled every single day," Callagy said. "The testing pipeline is open, the turnaround time is fine and we need to get people tested."

For a full list of testing locations and hours in San Mateo County, people can visit smcgov.org.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 109 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, raising the total to 20,756. Four more people have died, raising the death toll to 304. There are 101 people hospitalized, 13 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 76 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 9,785. Six more people have died since Monday, raising the death toll to 150. Forty people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 23

Santa Clara County reported 70 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, raising the total to 20,648. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 300. There are 103 people hospitalized, 21 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 49 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 9,714. The death toll has stayed at 144 since Monday. Forty-two people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 22

Santa Clara County reported 89 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising the total to 20,587. Two more people have died, raising the death toll to 299. There are 99 people hospitalized, 11 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 44 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 9,664. The death toll has stayed at 144 since Monday. Thirty-eight people are hospitalized.

The county's COVID-19 hospital data dashboard shows 33 people are hospitalized with confirmed cases and another five people are suspected of having the virus as of Tuesday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 21

Santa Clara County reported 109 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, raising the total to 20,511. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 297. There are 109 people hospitalized, 11 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 9,625. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 144. Thirty-seven people are hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 19-20

Santa Clara County reported 170 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, raising the total to 20,410. The death toll has stood at 296 since Saturday. There are 108 people hospitalized, 17 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday bringing the county's total to 9,598. The death toll stands at 143. Thirty-five people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 18

Santa Clara County reported 240 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, raising the total to 20,129. The death toll has stood at 295 since Thursday. There are 109 people hospitalized, 14 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 82 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 9,519.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 17

Newsom signs bill to expand workers' comp for those affected by COVID-19

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Thursday authored by a Bay Area state legislator that will expand access to workers' compensation for frontline workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Bill 1159 creates a rebuttable presumption of infection for people like grocery store employees, health care workers, firefighters and law enforcement officers who believe they contracted the coronavirus at work.

The law, authored by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, also creates a presumption of infection whenever there is a workplace outbreak over a two-week span of time.

"Everyone who is providing the benefits to our community and our society today, they need to be protected," Hill said. "This legislation … has done that."

SB 1159 will take effect immediately as an urgency statute and will remain in effect through Jan. 1, 2023.

Newsom also signed a bill authored by Assemblywoman Eloise Gomes Reyes, D-San Bernardino, that will require employers to report coronavirus outbreaks to their local public health department within 48 hours and to employees who may have been exposed within one business day.

Assembly Bill 685 also gives the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) the authority to close a worksite or place of employment that is actively exposing workers to the risk of contracting the virus.

"These bills give workers a choice and a voice," California Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Julie Su said.

AB 685 will also remain in effect through Jan. 1, 2023.

"Protecting workers is critical to slowing the spread of this virus," Newsom said. "These two laws will help California workers stay safe at work and get the support they need if they are exposed to COVID-19."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 150 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, raising the total to 19,891. Three more people have died since Wednesday, raising the death toll to 295. There are 100 people hospitalized, 14 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 100 new cases on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 9,437.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 16

Santa Clara County reported 82 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, raising the total to 19,760. Six more people have died since Sunday, raising the death toll to 296. There are 102 people hospitalized, 13 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 75 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 9,332. The death toll has stood at 142 since Monday. Forty-three people are hospitalized as of Wednesday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 15

Santa Clara County reported 78 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising the total to 19,683. Four more people have died since Sunday, raising the death toll to 287. There are 101 people hospitalized, nine of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 25 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 9,264. The death toll has stood at 142 since Monday. Fifty-four people are hospitalized as of Tuesday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 14

San Mateo County rolls out process to appeal citation of health order violation

People cited for health order violations in San Mateo County can appeal by submitting a form along with the fine amount within 14 days of receiving the citation.

The request form is available here.

Along with an advance deposit of the fine amount and a copy of the citation, the request form must be submitted to the County Manager's Office at 400 County Center, Redwood City. A dispute officer will then review the citation and appeal and set a hearing date or close-of evidence date within 60 days.

The county announced on Sep. 10, the hearing request process for health order violations after the Board of Supervisors adopted an urgency ordinance on Aug. 4, which imposes fines on individuals, organizations and businesses who violate health orders.

Violations include failure to wear a face covering in public situations when around people outside of one's household. The county's health order also requires social distancing, social gatherings of 50 people or less and implementation of social distancing protocol in business places.

Individuals can be fined up to $100 for a first violation, $200 for a second and $500 for additional violations. Businesses can be fined between $250 and $3,000 per violation depending on the gravity of the violation, prior warnings, efforts to comply or intent to profit.

San Mateo County remains in the purple tier of the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which indicates "widespread" COVID-19 risk. This means that schools must do distance learning (unless they have a waiver), indoor dining is prohibited and restaurants can only operate outdoors with modifications.

New dashboards track COVID-19 testing at Stanford

Stanford has created public dashboards that track the number of COVID-19 tests and results for members of the university.

As of Sept. 14, two positive results stemmed more than 8,000 tests on students performed over the past two weeks. No positive results were found in more than 900 faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars.

Testing is provided on a weekly basis to graduate students at the university. It is optional for faculty, staff and postdocs, whom the university encourages to take a test every week. Results are expected in 24-72 hours, according to the dashboard webpage.

The dashboards show data as early as March, when the university recorded its first positive COVID-19 results in students living on or near campus and faculty, staff and postdocs. They also show testing data in Santa Clara County and the state.

Since March, the university has reported 36 confirmed cases and currently has one case in isolation on campus, according to the dashboard.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 100 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, raising the total to 19,613. The death toll has stood at 283 since Sunday. There are 107 people hospitalized, 12 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 66 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 9,242. Three more people have died since Thursday, raising the death toll to 142. Forty-four people are hospitalized as of Monday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 12-13

Santa Clara County reported 280 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday and 147 on Sunday, raising the total to 19,549. Seven people died over the weekend, raising the death toll to 283. There are 107 people hospitalized, 18 of whom are new, as of Sunday.

San Mateo County reported 89 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the county's total to 9,166. The death toll has stayed at 139 since Thursday. Forty-six people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 11

Santa Clara County reported 180 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, raising the total to 19,143. Eight more people have died, raising the death toll to 276. There are 113 people hospitalized, 14 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 120 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 9,077. The death toll has stayed at 139 since Thursday. Forty-five people are hospitalized as of Friday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 10

Data shows disproportionate rates of COVID-19 cases, deaths among people of color

On Thursday, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly highlighted the ongoing increased risk for people of color across the state, who are dealing with disproportionate contraction and death rates of COVID-19.

"Nearly 60% of our cases in California have been among Latinos," Ghaly said.

"Nearly 50% of the deaths," he said, have been among Latinos and they make up less than 40% of California's population.

The state's populations of Black, Asian and Pacific Islander residents also face higher rates of contracting the coronavirus.

To combat the inequity of the state's coronavirus cases and deaths, Ghaly said state health officials are working with local health officials to sift through testing data for variances between high and low-income areas of a county, for example.

"This may require increasing testing in some of the lower-income communities above where it is today and working to bring culturally competent contact tracing and supportive isolation in levels that we don't have today all in order to close that gap," Ghaly said.

Ghaly added that Californians need to work together to support each other as the pandemic and wildfires continue across the state for the foreseeable future.

"California has rarely seen the confluence of conditions that we're seeing today," he said. "It's really a moment not to be divisive but to come together and move forward together ... so that we see ourselves on the other end of this a stronger and better state."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 121 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday and five more deaths. The additional cases and deaths were not reflected in the totals posted on the county's data dashboard. There are 113 people hospitalized, five of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 75 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 8,966. Three more people have died since Labor Day weekend, raising the death toll to 139. Fifty-five people are hospitalized as of Thursday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 9

State officials: COVID-19 testing will be available when in-person classes resume

The state's acting public health officer reassured educators across the state Wednesday that they will have access to testing for the new coronavirus whenever their county allows in-person classes to resume.

Dr. Erica Pan and Ben Chida, one of Gov. Gavin Newsom's top cabinet secretaries, held a briefing Wednesday to discuss the state's public health guidance for reopening schools during the pandemic.

Schools will not be allowed to open for in-person classes until their county has been out of the highest tier on the state's color-coded reopening framework for at least 14 days.

However, some schools in the highest tier will still be able to submit waiver requests to resume in-person classes for "small cohorts" of students with disabilities.

California Teachers Association Legislative Relations Manager Lori Easterling expressed concern that even with the preparations school districts and counties are making to eventually resume in-person classes, they could still be stuck competing with each other for coronavirus tests.

Pan argued that the state is ramping up its testing capacity daily. A recent agreement with diagnostics company PerkinElmer is also set to increase the state's testing capacity by more than twofold in the coming months.

"As far as supply and demand, we are seeing not as (many) people seeking testing and lots of testing capacity in the state now, so I think there are a lot of resources," for teachers, Pan said.

Pan also added that health insurance companies are supposed to pay for testing for essential workers such as teachers and school staff.

Pan suggested school staff members and their labor representatives reach out to their local health departments to collaborate on a routine testing plan.

"I just want to really emphasize and underscore the point that local collaboration is really, really, really the hinge in a lot of these cases," Chida added.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond lauded the state's teachers and school staff for their efforts to resume in-person classes amid the pandemic as well as the recent wildfires and poor air quality across the state and the nationwide reckoning with police brutality and racial justice.

"All of these things take a toll on us," Thurmond said. "And they add to the many questions that we continue to ask about what we must do to move forward safely."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 175 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total to 18,717. Three more people have died since Sunday, raising the death toll to 263. There are 113 people hospitalized, 21 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 91 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 8,895. The death toll has stood at 136 since Labor Day weekend. Sixty-one people are hospitalized as of Wednesday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 8

State moves Santa Clara County to red tier, allowing more businesses to reopen

After nearly two weeks of being in the purple, Santa Clara County has moved to the less restrictive red tier in California's color-coded classification system that determines how counties can move forward with reopening businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a lower rate of COVID-19 cases and positive tests that meets the threshold of the state's new reopening criteria, the county will now allow indoor operations of nail salons, gyms and museums; expanding capacity in shopping malls; and reopening K-12 schools if the county can maintain those lower numbers for the next two weeks, starting Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The businesses are required to follow guidelines set by the county's risk reduction order, which outlines directives pertaining to each industry set by the county and state, the release states.

Despite satisfying the state's conditions for reopening indoor operations of restaurants, places of worship and movie theaters, the county will continue prohibiting those sectors until case rates are lower. (California Gov. Gavin Newsom has said on multiple occasions that county health officers can override state guidelines as long as they don't reopen faster than the state.)

At a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, County Counsel James Williams did not say why those businesses won't be allowed to resume indoor operations or provide a timeline for when they might be able to welcome customers back inside. Williams said the county wants to see a lower case rate, but he was not aware if the county aimed to meet a certain threshold.

Read more here.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

San Mateo County reported 55 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 8,807. The death toll has stood at 136 since Labor Day weekend. Fifty-six people are hospitalized as of Tuesday.

No new numbers were available for Santa Clara County on Tuesday, Sept. 8, due to an issue with the state's Reportable Disease Information Exchange system, the county said on Twitter.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 5-7

Santa Clara County's total stands at 18,717, which includes 239 new cases reported on Saturday, 190 on Sunday and 119 on Monday.

The county's death toll was 260 as of Monday. The total includes six deaths announced over the weekend, three on Saturday and another three on Sunday. As of Monday, 116 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 21 of whom are new.

San Mateo County's total stands at 8,750, which includes 51 new cases reported on Saturday, 21 on Sunday and 49 on Monday. One more death was announced over the three-day weekend, raising the death toll to 136. There are 48 people hospitalized as of Monday, 35 of which are confirmed cases and 13 of which are suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 4

Santa Clara County reported 200 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total to 18,190. One more death was also reported, increasing the death toll to 254. There are 122 people hospitalized, 10 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 97 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 8,617. Three more people have died since Monday, raising the death toll to 135. Thirty-six people are hospitalized as of Friday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 3

Bay Area health officials warn against social gatherings on Labor Day weekend

Health officials in Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties on Thursday warned residents to avoid social gatherings during the upcoming Labor Day weekend to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

Contact tracers in Contra Costa County found many coronavirus cases linked to parties and picnics that occurred during the Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends earlier this year.

That included people who were asymptomatic and unaware they had the virus, later tested positive for the virus and infected family and friends at a gathering during those two weekends.

"Humans are social beings and COVID-19 has interfered with our natural desire to see and hug the people we care about," Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said. "At the same time, we're in an unprecedented situation now and we can't behave like it's business as usual."

Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County's health officer and the director of the county's Public Health Department, suggested residents who do plan to hold gatherings during the holiday weekend do so outside, where the risk of transmitting the virus is lessened.

People should also do what they can to avoid congregating with people who live in other households, Cody and Farnitano said.

In addition to preventing the virus' spread, Bay Area residents are advised to take the expected weekend heat wave into account, as temperatures are likely to rise into the triple digits.

Some sections of the greater Bay Area like Santa Cruz and Monterey counties elected to close their beaches to the public during the weekend to proactively prevent large groups.

"We must all do our part to avoid getting sick or infecting others," Cody said.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 200 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the total to 17,993. Three more deaths were also reported, increasing the death toll at 253. There are 128 people hospitalized, 15 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 65 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 8,452. Three more people have died since Monday, raising the death toll to 135. Thirty-five people are hospitalized as of Thursday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 2

State COVID-19 indicators trending down in recent weeks

State indicators of the new coronavirus' spread have trended down in recent weeks as the state's average daily test positivity rate has fallen below 4.5% in the last seven days, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

Cases have been trending south since mid-July, when the state issued a temporary shutdown of indoor operations for businesses like bars, movie theaters and restaurants.

Since hovering around 7.5% at that time, the state's test positivity rate has also steadily declined. While the seven-day positivity average sits at 4.4%, the state's 14-day average daily positivity rate now sits at 5.1%.

Newsom cautioned that while the rate of positive tests has trended down across the state, the pandemic will still be potent if people let their guard down.

"We saw this a few months back, we started to see progress over an extended period of time and, invariably, people said 'well, looks like we're out of the woods,'" he said.

The drop in the average positivity rate comes as the state begins to ramp its testing capacity back up from the swoon it suffered in recent weeks due to wildfires, poor air quality and a heat wave on the West Coast.

Daily coronavirus tests dipped from about 180,000 in early August to between 80,000 and 100,000 two weeks ago due to the wildfires and subsequent evacuations in the Bay Area.

Since then, the seven-day average of daily tests across the state has risen back above 100,000.

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions have declined at about the same rate, 23% over the past two weeks, Newsom said, adding that it shows "real progress" in containing the virus' spread.

Newsom advised people across the state to continue the steps they've taken to reduce the spread by wearing a face covering and maintaining distance from others, particularly during the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

Following the state and local health guidance, Newsom said, will be critical as the state gets deeper into a flu season that could coincide with a second wave of coronavirus cases and deaths.

"It's more important than ever to be vigilant as we work through the next few months," Newsom said.

As of Wednesday, 712,052 coronavirus cases have been confirmed across the state, including 13,163 deaths.

County advises businesses to seek legal counsel for customer COVID-19 issues

Santa Clara County officials advised business owners Wednesday to seek legal counsel rather than appealing to the county for help on what to do if customers are not respecting local and state public health guidelines to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.

As businesses reopen in the county amid the pandemic, residents are required to follow the state's face covering mandate when indoors or in close proximity to someone who does not live in their household.

State and local public health officials also continue to advise people to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between each other and stay home when feeling sick.

County spokesman Todd Naffziger said a business attorney would be better fit rather than the county to help a business owner determine how they should react and whether they can legally refuse service to a customer who refuses to wear a mask or follow other health and safety rules.

Naffziger said the county also runs a business call center at 408-961-5500 that can help business owners determine the steps they must take to resume operating outside or inside.

Read more here.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 339 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total to 17,802. Two more deaths were reported, increasing the death toll at 250. There are 128 people hospitalized, 15 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 69 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 8,390. The death toll has stayed at 132 since Monday. Thirty-nine people are hospitalized as of Tuesday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: SEPT. 1

Santa Clara County reported 124 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total to 17,465. Four more deaths were reported, increasing the death toll at 248. There are 131 people hospitalized, 19 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 47 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 8,311. The death toll has stayed at 132 since Monday. Forty-six people are hospitalized as of Tuesday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 31

Santa Clara County reported 175 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total to 17,349. No new deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 244. There are 138 people hospitalized, 17 of whom are new, as of Sunday.

San Mateo County reported 93 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, bringing the county's total to 8,260. One more person has died since Thursday, raising the death toll to 132. Fifty people are hospitalized as of Monday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 29-30

Santa Clara County reported 204 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the total to 17,013. No new deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 244. There were 139 people hospitalized, 21 of whom are new.

The county reported another 181 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday reflecting new diagnoses over the past several days, bringing the total to 17,194. No new deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 244.

Due to technical issues, the update was not available on the county's data dashboard Sunday, health officials said on Twitter.

San Mateo County reported 77 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, bringing the county's total to 8,169. The death toll has stood at 131 since Thursday. Forty-two people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 28

State unveils new reopening guidelines

A color-coded, four-level tier system will replace the state's current COVID-19 watchlist in an effort to create a "more stringent, but more steady" process that determines when, and to what extent, counties can move forward with indoor business operations, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Friday.

The new tiered system aims to simplify the criteria used down to two metrics — the seven-day daily average of the coronavirus case rate and the positive test rate in each county. It also adds a 21-day buffer period, when counties must remain in a specific tier before they're eligible to move to the next one.

Under the tier system, 38 counties, including Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, will fall under the purple tier, which represents 87% of the state's population, Newsom said.

With the new state guidelines, both counties announced Friday evening that they will allow indoor malls to reopen at 25% capacity as well as hair salons and barbershops, which have been restricted from indoor operations.

Read more here.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 210 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total to 16,814. Five more people have died since Thursday, raising the death toll to 245. There are 138 people hospitalized, 17 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 99 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 8,074. The death toll has stood at 131 since Thursday. Forty-five people are hospitalized as of Friday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 27

Santa Clara County reported 218 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the total to 16,607. Three more people have died since Wednesday, raising the death toll to 240. There are 138 people hospitalized, 17 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 67 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 7,978. One more person has died since Monday, raising the death toll to 131. Fifty-one people are hospitalized as of Thursday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 26

State aims to more than double testing capacity with new partnership

A new partnership with a public, Massachusetts-based diagnostic testing company will help boost California's COVID-19 testing capacity at a reduced cost, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday.

As the flu-season approaches and more people are expected to want to get tested, the state hopes to more than double its testing capacity through the new contract with PerkinElmer, a global corporation that also provides genetic testing, Newsom said at a press conference.

According to the governor, the deal includes a new laboratory that will take eight to 10 weeks to build out with the proper testing materials, such as reagents, needed to provide the state with an additional 150,000 diagnostic tests or swab tests per day.

"The goal is to stand up a laboratory facility and begin processing tens of thousands of additional tests by November 1 and run at full capacity by ­no later than March 1, 2021," according to a news release from the governor's office.

The contract also promises to reduce the cost of testing. Prices will vary depending on how many tests the state conducts. If 100,000 tests are performed, each test will cost an average of $47.99. Newsom said the state is aiming to conduct 150,000 tests for an average of cost of $30.78 per test. (The state currently conducts an average of 100,000 tests per day and each one costs around $150 to $200, Newsom said.)

"This is exactly what the federal government should be doing," Newsom said. "And had the federal government done this some time ago, you wouldn't see average costs of tests at $150 to $200, costing the taxpayers quite literally tens of billions of dollars."

Newsom also said the deal will help reduce turnaround time for tests results, which currently takes an average of seven days. With PerkinElmer, tests are guaranteed to arrive within 24 to 48 hours, which also will improve conditions for contract tracing, according to Newsom.

Several other conditions outlined in the contract, which the governor said will be made public, include: "favored nation status," which means the price could be reduced should another state also make a deal with PerkinElmer, but at a lower cost; an opt-out provision in case a cure for COVID-19 is made and tests are no longer a priority; and a "zero-cost" upgrade testing package for those who want to get tested for the seasonal flu and the coronavirus.

The announcement arrived just a few days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its previous testing guidance. It now recommends that people who are exposed to COVID-19 through close contact "do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or state or local public health officials recommend you take one."

Santa Clara County health leaders have balked at the new recommendation, including Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody, who called the changes "bizarre." They urged the public to continue to be tested for the virus if they have symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

"I don't agree with the new CDC guidance," Newsom said at the news conference. "We're influenced by our (health) experts in the field that feel very differently. So with respect to the CDC, no, that is not the policy guideline we will embrace or adopt here in the state of California."

At the state's current testing capacity, the positivity rate of COVID-19 continues to decrease. The two-week average now stands at 6.1%. Hospitalizations and intensive-care unit admissions for COVID-19 also continue to decrease at a 14-day average of 17% and 18%, respectively.

In addition, new sectoral state guidelines for reopening will be released on Friday, Newsom said.

County court system extends emergency bail schedule through January

Santa Clara County Superior Court Presiding Judge Deborah Ryan issued an order on Wednesday extending through January an emergency bail schedule intended to force much earlier release of detainees.

The order requires bail be set at $0 for most non-violent felonies and misdemeanors. Exceptions include any violation of a restraining order, for example.

The emergency bail schedule in Santa Clara County was first issued in April as the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown took hold. An earlier announcement cited concern about transmission of the coronavirus among or by arrestees while they are being held in the county jail.

The emergency bail measure comes amid a national movement for lower and more equitable bail amounts.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 94 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total to 16,393. Four more people have died since Tuesday, raising the death toll to 237. There are 142 people hospitalized, 15 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 70 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 7,911. The death toll has stood at 130 since Monday. Fifty-three people are hospitalized as of Wednesday, 48 of which are confirmed cases and five of which are suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 25

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Tuesday that counties should begin issuing guidance for Labor Day weekend as soon as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Tuesday that counties should begin issuing guidance for Labor Day weekend as soon as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Ghaly warned that large family and social gatherings during the holiday weekend could dismantle the progress the state has made in recent weeks in curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

As the state has vacillated between reopening and closing certain medium- and high-risk industries, Ghaly said the most pertinent thing public health officials have learned since the pandemic began is the role individual people play in following health and safety protocol.

"This sneaky virus that we call COVID-19 doesn't take a rest," he said. "It will find every opportunity to transit from person to person because that's what germs do."

Ghaly called the upcoming holiday weekend an "incredible moment" for the state and the country at large to prevent further spread of the virus and likened it to guidance the state issued regarding large gatherings for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

Thousands gathered on beaches throughout the state on Memorial Day weekend and flouted public health guidelines by not wearing masks or maintaining their distance.

As a result, the state partnered with local law enforcement agencies for the Fourth of July weekend to enforce public health guidance while local governments restricted public beach access.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has not yet indicated whether he will take similar measures for Labor Day weekend.

City managers in Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Sand City, Capitola and Santa Cruz have already indicated they will close local beaches during the holiday weekend from Sept. 5-7 to prevent the virus' spread.

"We've learned and continue to learn that any activities or actions that increase mixing among people who haven't been together in quite some time creates a transmission risk," Ghaly said.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 160 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total to 16,306. Nine more people have died since Saturday, raising the death toll to 233. There are 153 people hospitalized, 16 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 67 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 7,849. The death toll has stood at 130 since Monday. Fifty-two people are hospitalized as of Tuesday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 24

Santa Clara County reported 152 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total to 16,151. The death toll has stayed at 224 since Saturday. There are 157 people hospitalized, 24 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 117 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 7,788. Two more people have died, raising the death toll to 130. Fifty-eight people are hospitalized as of Monday.

Wildfires add hurdles to state's handling of pandemic

Wildfires of unprecedented magnitude are adding stress to the state's handling of the coronavirus.

As thousands of residents are being told by local fire authorities to evacuate due to their proximity to the wildfires, many have moved into hotels and congregate facilities that will require health screenings as well as physical distancing and mask protocols, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

At the time of the governor's noon press conference on Monday, the state was experiencing 625 active fires — 17 of which constitute major fires, including the LNU, CZU and SCU Lightning Complex fires in the greater Bay Area. A total of roughly 1.2 million acres have burned in the recent fires, according to Newsom.

Newsom said there are currently 17 active congregate evacuation shelters placed throughout seven counties that are temporarily sheltering 731 people. When asked if he was worried about a potential COVID-19 outbreak, Newsom responded that he wasn't concerned because the health protocols were extensive, requiring health screenings, such as a temperature check for admission, physical distancing and masks. The state also will be seeking more air purifiers for the facilities.

The governor noted, however, that most evacuees are being placed in non-congregate facilities such as hotels. To date, the state has sheltered 1,480 people through partnerships with 31 hotels across 599 rooms, Newsom said.

The governor also said that 11 in-state testing labs, including Verily, have been directly impacted by the fires, though he did not address exactly how that might impact the state's current testing capacity, which stands at 102,672 daily tests over a seven-day average.

Despite these hurdles, Newsom said that the state was making progress with its handling of the pandemic, citing decreased hospitalization rates and fewer counties on the state's monitoring list that tracks counties with troubling COVID-19 trends.

In the past 14 days, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased by 20%, from 5,549 patients reported on Aug. 10 to 4,467 patients reported on Aug. 23. Intensive-care unit admissions for the coronavirus also decreased by 19%, from 1,725 patients to 1,397 patients for the same reporting dates.

Five counties were recently removed from the state's monitoring list, which allows them to loosen health restrictions. There are now a total of 35 counties on the list, including Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

Newsom said that further guidelines on reopening will be released later this week.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 22-23

Santa Clara County reported 196 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the total to 15,688, and two more people have died, raising the death toll to 224. There were 155 people hospitalized, 20 of whom were new.

On Sunday, the county added 327 more cases to its total, which rose to 16,011. No new deaths were reported. There are 158 people hospitalized, 20 of whom are new.

San Mateo County reported 101 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, bringing the county's total to 7,670. The death toll remains at 128. Fifty-seven people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 21

Santa Clara County reported 243 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total to 15,496. Five more people have died, raising the death toll to 222. There are 153 people hospitalized, 16 of which are new.

San Mateo County reported 63 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 7,535. The death toll remains at 128. Fifty-eight people were hospitalized as of Friday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 20

Santa Clara County reported 180 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the total to 15,258. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 217. There are 162 people hospitalized, 23 of which are new.

San Mateo County reported 80 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 7,472. One more person has died since Monday, raising the death toll to 128. Fifty people are hospitalized as of Thursday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 19

Santa Clara County reported 221 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total to 15,085. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 216. There are 166 people hospitalized, 18 of which are new.

San Mateo County reported 38 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 7,382. The death toll has stood at 127 since Monday. Fifty people are hospitalized as of Wednesday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 18

Santa Clara County reported 249 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total to 14,872. Four more people have died since Saturday, raising the death toll to 213. There are 171 people hospitalized, 21 of which are new.

San Mateo County reported 73 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 7,321. The death toll has stood at 127 since Monday. Fifty-seven people are hospitalized as of Tuesday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 17

Santa Clara County reported 229 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total to 14,636. The death toll has stood at 209 since Saturday. There are 172 people hospitalized, 28 of which are new.

San Mateo County reported 116 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 7,228. One more person has died since Thursday, raising the death toll to 127. Fifty-seven people are hospitalized as of Monday.

Stanford radiologist joins Trump COVID-19 health adviser

Stanford radiologist Dr. Scott W. Atlas has been named by President Donald Trump as an adviser to the White House's coronavirus task force, Trump announced during an Aug. 10 press briefing.

Atlas, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, is a regular commentator on Fox News who has downplayed the risk of the coronavirus on younger people and has criticized the lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the disease. He supports full school reopenings.

Atlas has served as senior adviser for health care to a number of presidential candidates and counseled members of Congress on health care, testified before federal legislators and briefed directors of key agencies in the U.S. government. He is not an infectious disease expert nor an epidemiologist.

He is a frequent policy adviser to policymakers and U.S. government officials and in other countries, according to his Stanford biography. He previously served as chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center.

Trump expressed confidence in Atlas.

"Scott is a very famous man who’s also very highly respected. ... And he’s working with us and will be working with us on the coronavirus. And he has many great ideas. And he thinks what we’ve done is really good, and now we’ll take it to a new level. And so it’s great to have Scott working along with us," Trump said at the press briefing, where Atlas joined him.

Atlas received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a medical degree from the University of Chicago School of Medicine.

More counties land on state's monitoring list

Though the statewide numbers on COVID-19 hospitalizations and positivity rates have decreased, five more counties landed on the state's monitoring list over the past few weeks.

Since July 25, Amador, Mendocino, Inyo, Calaveras and Sierra counties have been added to the list, which tracks transmission rates and hospitalizations within each county. As of Monday, 42 of California's 58 counties, including San Mateo and Santa Clara, were on the watchlist.

Santa Cruz County was removed from the list last Friday and San Diego County is expected to be removed as early as Tuesday, Newsom said.

The overall rate of people testing positive for COVID-19 throughout the state, however, is decreasing. Now accounting for the backlog of positive cases, which initially caused the state to underreport COVID-19's impact, Newsom said the positivity rate between July 26 and Aug. 2 still decreased from 7.6% to 7.2%.

In the past two weeks, the average positivity rate was 6.5%.

COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased 21%, from 6,302 hospitalizations recorded on Aug. 3 to 4,975 hospitalizations on Sunday. Intensive-care unit admissions also decreased by 16%.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 15-16

Santa Clara County announced 363 new cases on Saturday and 244 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 14,429. The number of deaths in the county stands at 209, one of which was reported on Saturday. There are 173 people hospitalized, 20 of which are new, as of Sunday.

On Saturday and Sunday, San Mateo County added 198 new cases to its total, which is now 7,150. The death toll has stood at 126 since Aug. 13. Out of the 60 people hospitalized as of Sunday, 52 are confirmed with the virus and eight are suspected cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 14

Santa Clara County reported 523 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total to 13,856. There are 176 people hospitalized, 31 of which are new.

In a tweet, the Public Health Department stated it had removed one death from the total after learning it belonged to another county, then learned of additional death in the county. The changes keep the county's death toll at 208.

San Mateo County reported 53 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 6,952. The death toll remained at 126 and there were 59 people hospitalized as of Friday.

Supervisor to host COVID-19 town hall

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian will host a telephone town hall on the status of COVID-19 in the county on Sunday, Aug. 23 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. He will be joined by Dr. George Ruther Ford, director of the Prevention and Public Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco, and Assistant County Counsel Greta Hansen.

Anyone interested in joining the event can register here. A livestream of the event will be available here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 13

Santa Clara County reported 298 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the total to 13,340. The new cases include ones that were diagnosed over the past few days, the county said in a tweet. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 208. There are 169 people hospitalized, 24 of which are new.

San Mateo County reported about 50 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 6,803. Four more people have died since Monday, raising the death toll to 126. Fifty-four people are hospitalized as of Thursday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 12

Santa Clara County reported 121 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total to 13,059. The death toll — 207 — remains unchanged since Tuesday. There are 166 people hospitalized, 23 of which are new.

The percentage of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the county has gone down over the past two weeks, from 7.4% on July 28 to 6.56 on Aug. 11.

San Mateo County reported about 15 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 6,640. The death toll has stayed at 122 since Monday. Fifty-five people are hospitalized as of Wednesday. The county has one patient from out of the county under its care, a reduction by 20 over the past three weeks.

In the past 24-hour reporting period, there were 5,433 new COVID-19 cases across the state — plus another 6,212 cases that were backlogged due to an issue with the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange reporting system, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference during the noon hour Wednesday.

The state is still in the process of properly dating those backlogged COVID-19 cases before it can provide a more accurate positivity rate, Newsom said.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have decreased about 19% over the past two weeks, from 6,743 hospitalized patients reported on July 29 to 5,442 patients reported on Aug. 11. The number of intensive-care unit admissions also decreased by about 16%, Newsom said, with 2,029 people admitted on July 29 compared to 1,699 people admitted on Aug. 11.

Newsom runs down economic recovery plans during COVID-19 pandemic

At a press conference Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed a large package of economic recovery plans that his office is currently negotiating on with the state Legislature.

Newsom said he hopes to move forward with state-funded infrastructure projects, as well as wildfire prevention and green initiatives projects; expanding workforce training programs; improving technological infrastructure for the workforce through the Office of Digital Innovation; and other initiatives to help businesses and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a state tax exemption for small businesses that received federal funding.

The governor also mentioned that he will announce detailed plans on how the state will close the "digital divide" by helping more students and workers get access to high-speed broadband.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 11

Santa Clara County reported 280 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total to 12,962. Two more people have died since Sunday, raising the death toll to 207. There are 180 people hospitalized, 21 of which are new.

San Mateo County reported about 69 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 6,535. The death toll has stayed at 122 since Monday. Fifty-five people are hospitalized as of Tuesday.

Pac-12 Conference postpones all sports

The Pac-12 Conference announced Tuesday that it has postponed all sports through the end of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision affects two Bay Area schools in the conference: Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley.

The Pac-12 CEO Group unanimously voted to postpone the fall sports calendar after consulting with the conference's Medical Advisory Committee over concerns for player and coach safety. Pac-12 officials also said they would consider a return of postponed sports in spring 2021 if conditions improve.

In a statement, Stanford University Athletics Director Bernard Muir said the postponement is "disappointing for many people, but none more than our student-athletes." He remains hopeful that the university will figure out a way to give those student-athletes a chance to participate in their sport in the winter and spring.

Muir also described the safety measures the university rolled out this summer for student-athletes to train at campus facilities. "Even with those protocols in place, however, we are still not prepared to allow our programs to take the next step of moving to the level of physical contact and equipment sharing needed to prepare to compete safely," Muir said.

"Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. "Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses in communities where in many cases the prevalence of COVID-19 is significant."

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 10

Santa Clara County reported 751 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total to 12,694. The state is working to resolve an issue with its reporting system, the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange, which has led to underreported data in recent weeks, the county said in a statement. The county has started to receive some of the backlogged data, which may result in substantial increases in new cases over the next few days. The 751 cases announced were positive tests from the last week, though some go as far back as July 8.

There are 177 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, 25 of which are new. The death toll has stayed at 205 since Sunday.

San Mateo County reported about 44 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 6,431. Two more people have died since Aug. 3, raising the death toll to 122. Forty-seven people are hospitalized as of Monday.

Newsom: State can't afford White House unemployment benefits plan

The state of California does not have the financial wherewithal to afford the White House's plan to extend expanded unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

Newsom said in his daily coronavirus briefing Monday that the state would have to cover 25% of the costs associated with a $400 per week unemployment insurance payment, as outlined in a memorandum President Donald Trump announced over the weekend.

That 25% would amount to the state spending between $700 million and $3 billion in taxpayer funds per week. The state would have to make sharp cuts to public services to foot that bill, Newsom said.

"The state does not have an identified resource of $700 million per week that we haven't already obliged," he said.

While the state received billions from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act passed by Congress in March, Newsom said all of that funding has already been allocated.

Read more here.

State releases guidance for colleges, universities

The state released on Friday detailed reopening guidance for higher education institutions, which, among other restrictions, prohibits indoor classes for college and universities in counties that have been on the state's coronavirus monitoring list for three consecutive days.

The California Department of Public Health noted this guidance is interim, likely to change and "do not reflect the full scope of issues that institutions of higher education will need to address." The implementation also depends on local public health conditions, including that new coronavirus cases and hospitalization rates should be "consistently stable or decreasing over at least 14 days" as well as local availability of testing.

"These guidelines and considerations are based on the best available public health data at this time, international best practices currently employed, and the practical realities of managing operations," the guidance states. "Implementation of this guidance should be tailored for each setting, including adequate consideration of programs operating at each institution and the needs of students and workers. Administrators should engage relevant stakeholders — including students, their families, staff and labor partners in the school community — to formulate and implement plans."

Locally, Stanford University is still planning to alternate bringing half of its undergraduate students to campus during different quarters, with the majority of courses still happening online, even for students who are living there in person. The university said it will provide another update on plans for the fall quarter this month.

Foothill College, the Los Altos Hills community college, has planned for a fully virtual fall quarter, with limited exceptions for students in health programs who need some in-person training to complete their degrees, including for dental hygiene, paramedic, radiologic technology, pharmacy technologist, respiratory therapy and veterinary technology.

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 8-9

Santa Clara County recorded 221 new cases on Saturday, raising its total to 11,687. One more person died, increasing the death toll to 204.

The county reported another 270 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the total to 11,954. There are 172 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, 20 of which are new. The county reported an additional death Sunday, bringing the total death toll to 205.

San Mateo County reported 135 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the county's total to 6,318. The death toll has stayed at 120 since Aug. 3. Forty-five people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 7

Santa Clara County reported 157 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total to 11,475. The death toll has risen by seven to 203. There are 169 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, 23 of which are new.

San Mateo County reported 132 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 6,110. The death toll has stayed at 120 since Aug. 3. Fifty-four people are hospitalized as of Friday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 6

Santa Clara County reported 220 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the total to 11,336. The death toll has stood at 196 since Wednesday. There are 169 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, 29 of which are new.

San Mateo County reported 53 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 5,978. The death toll has stayed at 120 since Aug. 3. Forty-eight people are hospitalized as of Thursday.

A data glitch in the state's reporting system for communicable diseases has impacted local public health departments across the state from accurately reporting new cases, according to notices on San Mateo and Santa Clara counties' websites.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 5

Santa Clara County reported 101 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total to 11,128. Four more people have died, raising the death toll to 196. There are 172 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, 16 of which are new.

San Mateo County reported 54 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 5,891. The death toll has stayed at 120 since Aug. 3. Fifty-three people are hospitalized as of Wednesday.

The state continues to face problems with its reporting system for communicable diseases, which has resulted in incomplete results of COVID-19 tests for local health departments across the state, including San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Notices on both counties' websites don't indicate when the issue is expected to be resolved.

Lack of up-to-date data leaves Santa Clara County 'back to feeling blind'

Statewide technical issues resulting in incomplete COVID-19 testing data have left Santa Clara County "back to feeling blind," County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a news conference Wednesday.

Cody said the lack of data makes her feel like the county has regressed to what it was in February and March when there wasn't enough testing and data to indicate the impacts of COVID-19.

The county's current cumulative case count is over 11,000, according to the county dashboard, but cases have been significantly underreported since mid-July because of the glitch in the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (CalREDIE) disease reporting system.

"We don't know how the epidemic is trending. We don't know where it's heading, how fast it's growing," Cody said.

Though the case count shows a trend downward, Cody expects that case count to increase up after the complete data is processed.

However, Cody indicated that countywide hospitalization rates have declined in the last few weeks. Since July 13, the county has had an average daily death of 1-2 people, according to the county dashboard.

"While we again can't interpret what our last two weeks of data mean as far as the cases, the last week or two of hospitalization data is somewhat reassuring that things are leveling off," Cody said. "But it is not enough to really know."

If data indicates a substantial spike after it is completely processed, Cody said the county may impose stricter health orders, similar to ones from March.

The state is still diagnosing the technical problem, but Cody said it appears that the electronic lab results were not properly routed into the state's system. The health officer also added that the county has offered to assist the state to fix the technical issues.

Appointment-based COVID-19 test sites available in Santa Clara County

Beginning this week, Santa Clara County will provide appointment-based testing sites on a consistently scheduled, rotating basis, according to County Supervisor Joe Simitian.

Testing sites will take place in cities including Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Saratoga, and Sunnyvale.

"Convenience is key," Simitian said. "If we want more people to be tested, providing locally available and convenient sites is essential."

The new sites will require an appointment, which will be open for scheduling three days before the testing date. Appointments can be scheduled online at scl.fulgentgenetics.com/appointment/screen/landing.

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 4

Santa Clara County reported 240 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total to 11,030. One more person has died since Friday, raising the death toll to 192. There are 169 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, 10 of which are new.

San Mateo County reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 5,758. The death toll has stayed at 120 since Aug. 3. Sixty people are hospitalized as of Tuesday.

On their websites, each county noted that recent data for several dashboards, including cases, testing and long-term care facilities, are incomplete "due to a significant and unresolved problem" facing the state's reporting system for COVID-19, the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange. There was no estimate of when the issue would be resolved.

State outlines waiver process for schools seeking to hold classes in person

State epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan on Tuesday outlined the state's waiver process for K-6 schools that seek to hold classes in person even if they are in a county on California's coronavirus watchlist.

Pan, the former health officer for Alameda County, said K-6 schools can apply for a waiver to begin in-person instruction if they are located in a county that meets several criteria in spite of being on the state's watchlist.

On the Midpeninsula, several private elementary schools intend to seek a waiver, including Bowman School, Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, Emerson School and Silicon Valley International School in Palo Alto, Pinewood School in Los Altos and the German International School of Silicon Valley in Mountain View.

Individual schools must submit a site-specific plan to keep students and staff safe, taking into account input from interest groups like labor unions and parent organizations.

Those schools must then publicly post their plan and submit it to their local health officer to apply for a waiver.

California Department of Public Health officials will then review each application on a case-by-case basis, taking into account factors such as which direction indicators like coronavirus positivity rates are trending in a given county.

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 3

Santa Clara County reported 185 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total to 10,794. The death toll has stood at 191 since Friday. There are 181 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, 21 of which are new.

The county's latest testing data shows a slight dip in the county's test positivity rate between July 19-26, the latest week for which data is available. The week began with a test positivity rate of 4% and went down to 3.73% on July 22 before it climbed up to 4.06% on July 25. The rate currently stands at 3.94%.

San Mateo County reported 40 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 5,744. One more person has died since July 30, raising the death toll to 120. Sixty-six people are hospitalized as of Monday.

The county has tabulated a total of 107,035 coronavirus tests, 5,682 had positive results, 101,301 are negative and 52 are pending results. The county's test positivity rate has stayed around 5% for several weeks. Over the past seven days, the county's test positivity rose by 0.2% to 5.3%. Four weeks ago, the rate was 4.9%.

State's COVID-19 data points on the decline, but "it's still too high," Newsom says

COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations are on a decline statewide, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

At a press conference on Monday, Newsom said California's 14-day average positivity rate — or the number of positive COVID-19 cases out of the total number of conducted tests — is now at 7%, a half-percent decrease since July 20. The seven-day average stands at 6.1%, based on approximately 126,874 daily tests conducted throughout the state over the past week.

"It's not where it needs to be, it's still too high … but it's good to see this number trending down," Newsom said.

The number of hospitalizations also has decreased by 10% over the past 14 days, a marked difference from a few weeks ago when the same data point showed hospitalizations increasing by 50%, Newsom said. On July 20, 7,091 people were hospitalized. There are now 6,383 hospitalized, according to data reported on Aug. 2. In addition, intensive care unit admissions declined by 5%.

Despite the decreasing numbers, counties continue to be placed on the state's monitoring list — an indicator used to show which county has not met the state Public Health Department's criteria for mitigating the impacts of COVID-19. As of Aug. 3, 38 counties were on the list, including Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

San Mateo was placed on the list on July 29, more than a month after the region reopened many businesses, including hair salons. After being on the list for more than three days, the county was forced to roll back those indoor operations on Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: AUG. 1-2

On Saturday, Santa Clara County reported a total of 10,323 cases, 410 of which were new. Another 313 new cases of the coronavirus were reported on Sunday, bringing the total to 10,626. The county's death toll has stood at 191 since Friday.

There were 182 people hospitalized with COVID-19 on Saturday. On Sunday, there were 183 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, 18 of which are new.

San Mateo County reported 121 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the county's total to 5,683. The death toll has stood at 119 since July 30. Sixty-two people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

San Mateo County under new shutdown order

Officials in San Mateo County announced Saturday that certain indoor businesses and activities must shut down or move to outdoor operations beginning at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 2.

The state gave the order due to the county being on California's COVID-19 watchlist for three days. The businesses affected include gyms and fitness centers, churches, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons and shopping malls.

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 31

Santa Clara County reported 189 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total to 9,913. One more person has died of the disease, raising the county's death toll to 191. There are 178 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, 25 of which are new.

Palo Alto has a total of 155 cases, 11 of which have surfaced over the past week and 26 of which have been recorded over the last two weeks. The city's total makes up about 0.2% of the city population.

Mountain View's total also makes up 0.2% of the city population, but has seen more cases compared to its neighbor to the north. The city has 202 cases as of Friday, an increase of 17 in the last seven days and a rise of 52 in the last two weeks.

San Mateo County reported 75 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 5,544. The death toll remained at 119 and 66 people were hospitalized.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 30

Santa Clara County reported 122 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the total to 9,731. Three more people have died of the disease, raising the county's death toll to 190. There are 177 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, 23 of which are new.

A total of 4,654 new cases were reported between June 30 and July 30, more than double the amount recorded a month earlier. Between May 30 and June 30, the county saw its total increase with 2,280 new cases.

San Mateo County reported 64 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county's total to 5,469. One more person has died since Monday, raising the death toll to 119. Fifty-eight people are hospitalized as of Thursday.

The county has updated its dashboard displaying case totals by city through Thursday, July 30.

East Palo Alto has 488 cases, which makes up nearly 2% of the city population. The city has seen 303 new cases (which comprises 53% of its total cases) over the past four weeks.

Menlo Park has 226 cases, impacting about 0.65% of the city population. A total of 72 cases have surfaced in the city since July 2. Here's a list of case totals for communities on the Midpeninsula:

• Atherton: 27 (increase by one from July 23).

• East Palo Alto: 569 (increase by 81 from July 23).

• Menlo Park: 226 (increase by 18 from July 23).

• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10 (no change from July 23).

• Portola Valley: 23 (increase by one from July 23).

• West Menlo Park: Less than 10 (no change from July 23).

• Woodside: 23 (no change from July 23).

Santa Clara County confirms 31 COVID-19 cases at four Costco locations

A public health investigation found that at least 31 employees across four Costco locations in Santa Clara County have tested positive for COVID-19, revealing a cluster of infections that may have occurred in retail stores during the month of July, according to a statement by the county Thursday.

County officials confirmed the most cases, 13, were at the Sunnyvale Costco, followed by eight at the Senter Road location in San Jose. Six cases were reported at the Gilroy Costco, and four were discovered at the Mountain View location.

While the investigation is ongoing, early results indicate that the employees contracted the virus by way of "community transmission," rather than infection between employees, county officials said.

Costco representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 29

Santa Clara County reported 259 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total to 9,612. Two more people have died of the disease, raising the county's death toll to 187.

Of the 185 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, 29 patients are new. Another 25 patients are under investigation for the virus. The seven-day average of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has more than doubled over the past month, from 2.96% on June 29 to 7.4% on July 28.

San Mateo County reported 62 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 5,398. No new deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 118.

Sixty-nine people are hospitalized as of Wednesday. The county's out-of-county patients has significantly reduced from 21 on July 22 (making up 32% of the total COVID-19 patients) to six on July 29 (making up 10% of the total).

There has been little change in the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds, which have ranged between 16 and 20 over the past week. There have been slightly higher fluctuations in the amount of COVID-19 patients in acute care beds, which has ranged from 50 to 65 since July 22.

San Mateo County joins state watchlist

For weeks, San Mateo County has been the only Bay Area county to evade the state's coronavirus watchlist, but on Wednesday it joined the crowd.

The July 29 announcement by county officials saying San Mateo County is joining California's watchlist means that a wide range of businesses and activities must shut down starting Aug. 1, unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pick-up.

According to the county, this order applies means the following must close operation: Gyms and fitness centers; places of worship and cultural ceremonies, such as weddings and funerals; offices for businesses not in essential service sectors; personal care services, like nail salons and body waxing; hair salons and barbershops; and shopping malls.

Among other criteria, the state's threshold for inclusion on the watchlist is a COVID-19 case rate of 100 per 100,000 of the population. The county's case rate as of July 29, based on a 14-day rolling average, was 110.4 positive cases per 100,000.

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 28

Santa Clara County reported 158 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total to 9,359. One more person has died of the disease, raising the county's death toll to 185. There are 174 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, 23 of which are new.

The latest data shows 770 cases originated at 63 long-term care facilities, which makes up 8% of the county's 9,359 cases. The number of cases at the facilities has continued to take up a smaller portion of the county's total cases over the past few weeks. A total of 119 cases have been reported from the facilities over the past month.

San Mateo County reported 89 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the county's total to 5,306. No new deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 118. Seventy people are hospitalized as of Monday.

Long-term care facilities have 552 reported cases as of July 22, the latest date for which data is available. No new cases have been reported out of long-term care facilities in the county since July 13.

The facilities, which make up about 6% of the county's total, have seen its case total rise by single digits since June 2, indicating a slowdown in the spread of COVID-19 in those spaces.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 27

Santa Clara County reported 206 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total to 9,215. No new deaths were recorded Monday; overall, 184 people have died of COVID-19 in the county. There are 174 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, 27 of which are new.

The latest testing data shows the county's test positivity rate hit 4.25% on July 17, the highest percentage over the past month. The rate has gone down to 3.93% as of July 19, the latest date for which the average is available. Four weeks ago, the test positivity rate stood at 2.29%.

San Mateo County reported 72 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the county's total to 5,198. One more person has died of the disease, raising the death toll to 118. Eighty-two people are hospitalized as of Monday.

The county's test positivity rate is 5.1% as of Sunday, a slight increase of 0.1% over the past week and 0.2% over the past month. A total of 98,535 tests have been performed in the county, nearly 6,000 of which were recorded since July 19. A little over 33,000 tests have been collected within the past four weeks.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 25-26

Santa Clara County reported 114 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the total to 8,833 since the start of the pandemic. Three more deaths were recorded on Saturday; overall, 184 people have died of COVID-19 in the county. There were 178 people hospitalized on Friday, filling nearly 7% of the hospital beds in the county. That percentage is three times what it was one month ago.

On Sunday, the county announced 218 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 9,041. No new deaths were recorded Sunday; overall, 184 people have died of COVID-19 in the county. There are 175 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19, an increase of 32.

San Mateo County reported 102 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, bringing the county's total to 5,124 since the start of the pandemic. No new deaths were recorded over the weekend; overall, 117 people have died of the disease in the county. Seventy-five people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 24

Santa Clara County reported 190 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing its total to 8,719. Two more people have died, raising the death toll to 183. There are 176 people hospitalized, 37 of which are new.

Palo Alto has 144 cases, 15 of which were added over the past week. Mountain View has 185 cases, 35 of which have surfaced since July 17, a larger increase within seven days compared to the prior week. Each city's total makes up 0.2% of their respective populations.

San Mateo County reported 65 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the county's total to 5,022 since the start of the pandemic. There were no new deaths recorded; overall, 117 people have died of the disease in the county. Sixty-seven people were hospitalized as of Friday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 23

Santa Clara County reported 216 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing its total to 8,533. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 181. There are 173 people hospitalized, 32 of which are new.

The latest data shows COVID-19 continues to disproportionately affect Latino residents, which had roughly 3,910 (or 45.8%) of the 8,533 cases. This group, which added nearly 1,300 cases over the past two weeks, makes up about 26% of the county's population.

As of Thursday, another 1,075 cases were found in white residents, which had the second-highest number of cases based on race/ethnicity and make up 32% of the county population.

San Mateo County reported 64 new cases on Thursday, raising its total to 4,957. Three more people have died since July 13, raising the death toll to 117. Seventy-four people were hospitalized as of Thursday.

The county has updated its dashboard displaying case totals by city through Thursday, July 23.

East Palo Alto has 488 cases, an increase by 87 over the past week and, along with South San Francisco, the fourth-highest number of cases across the county. It has 164.7 cases for every 10,000 residents, the highest rate compared to other cities.

Twenty-one more cases in Menlo Park over the past week raised the city's total to 208, the sixth-highest total in the county. Here's a list of case totals for communities on the Midpeninsula:

• Atherton: 26 (increase by three from July 16).

• East Palo Alto: 488 (increase by 87 from July 16).

• Menlo Park: 208 (increase by 21 from July 16).

• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10 (no change from July 16).

• Portola Valley: 24 (no change from July 16).

• West Menlo Park: Less than 10 (no change from July 16).

• Woodside: 23 (increase by seven from July 16).

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 22

Santa Clara County reported 280 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its total to 8,321. Two more people have died, raising the death toll to 180. There are 169 people hospitalized with the coronavirus, 36 of which are new, and another 34 people are under investigation for the disease.

The county has seen 29 more COVID-19 patients hospitalized between July 14 and 21, during which time the average of beds has risen by 1% to 6.53%. Of the 169 patients hospitalized with the virus, 116 are in non-intensive care unit beds and 50 are in ICU. A month earlier, 48 people were hospitalized with the virus, 25 of whom were in ICU.

San Mateo County reported 93 new cases on Wednesday, raising its total to 4,885. The death toll has stayed at 114 since July 13.

Seventy-four people were hospitalized as of Wednesday, 65 of whom were confirmed with COVID-19 and nine of whom had suspected cases. The current number of patients is more than three times the amount recorded on June 23, when 27 people were hospitalized. Over the past month, the county started sharing data on out-of-county COVID-19 patients in its health system. As of Wednesday, 21 of the 74 patients were from outside of San Mateo County, making 32% of confirmed patients.

San Mateo County could wind up on state watchlist

In comments to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, county Health Chief Louise Rogers said two factors could place the county on the state's watchlist — the coronavirus case rate and the local hospital census.

The county's rate is 105.7 per 100,000 in the population, a 14-day rolling average, according to a press release issued Tuesday. Although the county's case rate is lower than that of the Bay Area (109.2), it is just above the state's guideline that the rate should be below 100.

The percentage of COVID-positive patients in local hospitals was 10.8 on Monday, down from 12.1 on July 17.

"Given the relatively small patient census numbers (as of Monday, there were 74 patients, including transfers from San Quentin State Prison), a handful of incoming or discharged patients affects the percentage, increasing the variability," county officials said.

Rogers has asked state officials to evaluate the data "with sensitivity to underlying core issues and local concerns," according to the press release.

San Mateo County was the only Bay Area county not on the watchlist as of The Almanac's press deadline Wednesday, but Rogers said she expects the county to be added soon.

If the county is added to the list and remains on it for three consecutive days, the state would require the closure of gyms and fitness centers; hair and nail salons, as well as other personal care services; barbershops; shopping malls; offices for non-critical infrastructure sectors; and places of worship, as well as weddings and funerals.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 21

Santa Clara County reported 254 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing its total to 8,046. The death toll has stayed at 178 since Monday. There are 167 people hospitalized, 28 of which are new.

Over the past month, the county has seen a lower rate of cases at long-term care facilities make up its total. On June 21, the facilities constituted 14.5% of the county's 3,855 cases at the time. As of July 21, 724 cases were reported from 59 facilities, amounting to 8.9% of the county's total.

The number of infections found in people ages 39 and younger comprises a little over 50% of the county's total cases. Three weeks earlier, people in the 0-19, 20-29 and 30-39 age groups made up 43% of the county's total cases.

San Mateo County reported 72 new cases on Tuesday, raising its total to 4,776. The death toll has stayed at 114 since July 13. Seventy-seven people were hospitalized as of Tuesday.

When it comes to age groups, the county has seen the most cases in people 30-39 years old, which had 970 cases as of Tuesday, an increase of 416 over the past four weeks. Another 922 cases have been found in people ages 20-29, a group that has seen 453 new cases since June 22, the highest growth of cases in the past month compared to other age groups.

Fewer infections appear to be coming out of long-term care facilities in the county, which had 539 cases out of 34 facilities as of July 15, the latest date for which data is available. There have been no new cases reported since July 5.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 20

Santa Clara County reported 347 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing its total to 7,795. One more person has died since Friday, raising the death toll to 178. In a tweet, the county said the new infections and additional death occurred over the past few days. There are 156 people hospitalized, 30 of which are new.

Of the 308,985 tests recorded in the county, 8,654 have returned positive and 300,331 came back negative. Results turn around on an average of 2.15 days.

The county has seen more tests in the past week compared to a week earlier, during which time the test positivity rate has also gone up. Over the last seven days, the county has performed 41,325 tests and a positivity rate of 3.98%, which has risen by 1.22% since July 13.

The same trend could be seen when compared to data from four weeks ago. On June 22, the county collected a total of 127,148 tests (24,300 of which were gathered over the prior seven days) and had a test positivity rate of 2.84%.

Also on Monday, the county unveiled downloadable data tables on testing, cases, deaths and hospitalizations that support its dashboards. The public can view the data here.

San Mateo County reported 110 new cases on Monday, raising its total to 4,674. The death toll has stayed at 114 since July 13. Seventy-four people were hospitalized as of Monday.

Over the past month, the county has recorded 37,413 tests and maintained a positivity rate of 5.0%. Of the 92,587 people tested on July 19, 4,674 received positive results, 87,854 received negative results and 59 are pending results.

State on alert as positive cases, hospitalization rise

Gov. Gavin Newsom stressed Monday that the actions of residents across the state will determine how quickly the state reopens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newsom has continuously advocated for the use of masks and face coverings and the need for physical distancing as the pandemic has worn on, encouraging residents that certain activities like in-person schooling and indoor dining are not feasible if people flout the state's public health guidelines.

"We have to minimize the transmission of this disease," Newsom said. "We have to minimize that by practicing physical distancing, wearing the face coverings and doing the kinds of things that are well-described and, obviously, now need to be more vigilantly followed."

The state continues to see an aggregate rise in positive cases and hospitalizations due to the coronavirus as counties started to reopen at the outset of summer. An average of nearly 9,000 people per day tested positive for the coronavirus over the last week, Newsom said.

In addition, the state's positive test rate continues to hover around 7.5 percent despite an average of more than 120,000 tests being completed each day.

"We're going to continue to ramp up those efforts," Newsom said of the state's testing capacity.

Alongside the surge in cases, coronavirus deaths in the state also reached an average of 91 each day over the last week, according to state officials.

"Hospitalizations and (intensive care unit) use continue to be a cause of concern in the state," Newsom said. "That's why we want everybody to double down on everything we have been doing so that we can get back to school, get back to work in the traditional ways."

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 18-19

Santa Clara County reported 179 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its total to 7,300 on Saturday. Another 157 new cases recorded on Sunday raised the total to 7,456. The death toll has stayed at 177 since Friday.

There are 151 people hospitalized, 19 of which are new, according to the county's hospital dashboard last updated Sunday. Of the confirmed cases, 42 are in intensive care unit beds and 107 are in non-intensive care unit beds. Another 35 patients are under investigation for the coronavirus, 33 of whom are in non-intensive care unit beds.

San Mateo County reported 65 new cases since Friday, raising its total to 4,551 as of Sunday. The death toll has stayed at 114 since July 13. Seventy-two people were hospitalized as of Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 17

Santa Clara County reported 98 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its total to 7,131 on Friday. One more person has died, raising the death toll to 177. There are 146 people hospitalized, 28 of which are new.

Palo Alto's total of cases currently stands at 129, which translates to a rate of 192 cases for every 100,000 residents and an increase of 16 over the past seven days. Mountain View's total of cases went up by 29 since July 10. The city's 150 cases convert to a rate of 185 cases for every 100,000 residents.

San Mateo County on Friday reported 58 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 4,465. The death toll has stayed at 114 since Monday. Sixty-nine people were hospitalized as of Friday.

Newsom: Schools in watch-list counties cannot reopen in person

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Friday that public and private schools in counties on the state's coronavirus watch list — including currently, Santa Clara County and likely soon, San Mateo County — cannot reopen for in-person instruction until they've been off the list for 14 days.

This means that schools in these counties must plan for full distance learning in the fall, and those that had hoped to reopen their campuses, including Palo Alto Unified, must switch gears. Counties on the watch list have not met state benchmarks for positive case rates, hospitalizations and hospital capacity.

Counties not being monitored by the state can decide locally in partnership with local health leaders whether to offer in-person instruction, Newsom said.

San Mateo County Health Chief Louise Rogers said Friday that the county is not currently on the state's watch list but "likely" will be soon, given the county's case rate of 101.2 cases per 100,000 in the population (a 14-day rolling average).

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 16

Santa Clara County reported 101 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its total to 7,046 on Thursday. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 176. There are 145 people hospitalized, 23 of which are new.

The most cases have been found in people ages 20-29, who make up 18.5% of the county's total cases. This group has also seen the highest increase in cases in over two weeks, from about 700 on June 30 to roughly 1,300 on July 16.

People ages 30-39 have also seen a large jump in that same time span, from 772 on June 30 to 1,281 on July 16.

San Mateo County on Thursday reported 63 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 4,403. The death toll has stayed at 114 since Monday. Eighty-seven people were hospitalized as of Thursday.

The county has updated its dashboard displaying case totals by city through Thursday, July 16.

East Palo Alto added 72 new cases over the past week, the highest increase in cases in seven days since total cases by city data was first released by the county Health Department. Its total, 401, makes up about 9% of the county's total cases.

Menlo Park added 14 cases to its total, which has climbed to 187, a rate of 55.2 cases for every 10,000 residents. Here's a list of case totals for communities on the Midpeninsula:

• Atherton: 23 (increase by one from July 9).

• East Palo Alto: 401 (increase by 72 from July 9).

• Menlo Park: 187 (increase by 14 from July 9).

• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10 (no change from July 9).

• Portola Valley: 24 (increase by two from July 9).

• West Menlo Park: Less than 10 (no change from July 9).

• Woodside: 16 (increase by two from July 9).

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 15

Santa Clara County reported 235 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its total to 6,951 on Wednesday. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 173.

There are 140 people hospitalized, 25 of which are new. Over the past week, the number of patients confirmed with the virus reached triple digits, from 96 on July 7 to 140 on July 14.

The number of patients under investigation has nearly doubled in that same time span, from 17 to 29. An average of 5.21% of hospital beds have been occupied by COVID-19 patients over the past seven days.

San Mateo County on Wednesday reported 82 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 4,333. The death toll has stayed at 114 since Monday. Sixty-nine people were hospitalized as of Wednesday.

The top two dates of when the highest number of new cases were recorded in a single day occurred in the past week, according to county data. There were 111 new cases reported on Monday, July 13, the highest single-day total of new cases since the pandemic began. Another 109 new cases were reported three days earlier on Friday, July 10. The previous top date was Friday, July 3, when 90 new cases were logged.

San Mateo County permits visits at long-term care facilities

Long-term care facilities in San Mateo County can now accommodate outdoor visits scheduled ahead of time and indoor visits under limited, "necessary" circumstances under a new health order issued Wednesday.

The new order, which goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on July 15, allows family members and friends to visit nursing home residents as long as they follow county safety measures, according to a July 15 press release. Up to two adults can visit one resident, though two residents living together can take part in the same visit.

People charged with legal decisions, such as conservators, for residents are also allowed to make outdoor visits, which must be scheduled in advance and take place in an area with ample space for social distancing. The county press release notes hired service providers, such as hair stylists, aren't authorized.

The visitors are also required to wear a face covering and keep physical distance from others. During the visits, facility staff and residents need to wear surgical masks and staff have to make sure hand sanitizer is available, according to the press release. Nursing homes are also advised to provide a face shield for people at the facility to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19.

Before offering limited outdoor visits, facilities must submit a written statement to the county Health Department explaining that they have adequate access to COVID-19 tests, practice the department's "COVID-19 Mass Testing Strategy," have a sufficient number of staff members and maintain an adequate amount of personal protective equipment for residents. A facility that finds itself behind on any of the requirements won't be allowed to hold outdoor visits.

The order also permits "necessary indoor and compassionate care visits," which include matters related to urgent health care, legal issues and other affairs, such as end-of-life care. Facilities that make these types of visits available must also meet PPE requirements and other safety measures.

Visitors will be screened and logged by each facility, with the exception of first responders, who under the order, aren't restricted from carrying out their job in the facilities.

In the release, the county noted that all long-term care facilities are required to follow safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, regardless of whether they'll allow visitors. The measures include screening residents and staff for coronavirus symptoms daily, such as taking temperature checks, and following provisions in regards to providing hygiene supplies and PPE.

Congresswoman to hold town hall

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, will hold a "Tele-Town Hall" meeting today to provide an update on how Congress is addressing the COVID-19 crisis and answer questions from her constituents.

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 16, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Anyone interested in joining can sign up here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 14

Santa Clara County reported 192 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its total to 6,725 on Tuesday. Three more people have died, raising the death toll to 170. There are 144 people hospitalized, 21 of which are new.

Of the 6,725 cases, 658 (or 10%) originated at long-term care facilities. A total of 52 facilities have reported at least one case of the virus. No facilities in Palo Alto, Mountain View or Los Altos reported any cases over the past 14 days.

San Mateo County on Tuesday reported 89 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 4,254. The death toll has stayed at 114 since Monday.

The county recently updated its hospital data dashboard that now shares information on confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 and breaks down who's in intensive care unit beds and acute care beds.

The county has seen nearly triple the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients compared to about a month earlier, from 22 on June 15 to 62 on July 14. The latest data shows 57 patients were confirmed to have COVID-19 and five are suspected cases.

The Health Department also reported 23 patients from out of the county have been admitted to local hospitals, which makes up 40% of the county's total number of hospitalized patients. Over the past week, the county has cared for an average of 22 patients from outside of the county.

COVID-19 town hall set for Sunday

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian will host a telephone town hall on Sunday, July 19, at 3 p.m. to update the public on the status of COVID-19 in the county.

Simitian will be joined by Dr. Jennifer Tong, associate chief medical officer at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and Tony LoPresti, assistant county counsel, who will answer questions from the public.

Anyone interested in joining the discussion can register here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 13

Newsom unveils sweeping rollback of reopening plans

Starting Monday, all California counties must shut down indoor operations for restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and card rooms and all bar operations — indoors or out, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced at a press conference.

The sweeping rollback of the statewide stay-at-home modifications is a major push to prevent people of different households from congregating indoors.

"The impact of the spread of the virus outside, we believe, is more favorable than mixing with individuals for an extended period of time … inside where you don't have the air circulation," Newsom said.

The new order will have a stark impact on San Mateo County, which on June 17 reopened most businesses that Newsom said must now shut down.

In addition to the statewide restrictions, 30 counties on the state's monitoring list must also shut down any indoor operations of gyms, worship services, hair salons and other personal care services, malls and offices of "non-critical sectors." Under the state Public Health Department's criteria, these are counties currently most impacted by the virus.

Santa Clara County is among the counties that will have to close additional business sectors, including hair salons and gyms that were allowed to reopen on July 13. More counties are likely to be added to the list, including Alameda County, Newsom said. (Santa Mateo County was not on the monitoring list as of July 13.)

The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to climb statewide, according to Newsom. On July 12, the state reported 8,358 COVID-19 cases in a single day. The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases increased this week to 8,211 cases and the average positivity rate is now at 7.7%.

The number of hospitalizations has increased 28% over a two-week period, and intensive-care unit admissions also have increased 20% during the same time span, he added.

Santa Clara County reverses health order

Less than a day after hair salons and gyms reopened in Santa Clara County, the county's Public Health Department announced those businesses, among other sectors, will have to reclose by this Wednesday, July 15, effectively scrapping its July 2 health order.

The reversal of the county order also comes with closures of additional indoor sectors: worship services, offices of nonessential businesses, personal care services such as nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors, and protests will have to shut down on July 15.

The Monday afternoon announcement follows the sweeping statewide rollbacks Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled during a press conference just hours earlier, closing indoor operations of restaurants, wineries, zoos, museums and movie theaters, among other businesses. This would not have had any impact on Santa Clara County since it had not permitted indoor operations of most of these businesses.

Read more here.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 253 new cases of the coronavirus found over the past few days, bringing its total to 6,542 on Monday. One more person has died since Thursday, raising the death toll to 167. There are 129 people hospitalized, 33 of which are new.

Over the past seven days, nearly 40,000 coronavirus tests have been recorded across the county. Out of the 267,660 tests performed as of July 13, 7,325 returned positive results and 248,954 returned negative results. The county's test positivity rate, which currently stands at 2.76% slightly rose by 0.09% over the past week.

San Mateo County on Monday reported 111 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 4,168. Two more people have died since Thursday, raising the death toll to 114. Sixty-seven people were hospitalized as of Monday.

The county's test positivity rate stands at 5%, which is a rise of 0.1% over the past week but the same rate as recorded a month earlier. A total of 34,060 tests have been performed over the past four weeks. Ninety positive test results were recorded on July 8, the highest number of positive test results found in a single day since the pandemic began. The second- and third-highest days were June 23 and June 25, with 84 and 79 confirmed new cases.

Air district asks employers to 'cut the commute' by expanding remote work options

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District along with Santa Clara County asked Bay Area employers to sign the "Cut the Commute Pledge" that extends teleworking for employees and maintains air quality progress after shelter-in-place orders are eased.

Employers who sign the pledge would commit to extend teleworking by at least 25 percent of employees if their work allows it. Employers would also vow to include a formal work-from-home policy as part of the employee benefits package in an attempt to improve both the air quality and quality of life for Bay Area residents.

In the first seven weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bay Area saw a 32 percent reduction to CO2 emissions. This is in large part due to the significant decrease in vehicle traffic, as transportation is the top source of air pollution in the region.

Read more here.

Union seeks delay in physical reopening of schools

The California Federation of Teachers urged Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday to delay the physical reopening of schools, citing worsening health conditions and a lack of clear guidance from the state.

"COVID-19 presents an invisible, fatal, and long-lasting debilitating threat that is beyond the reasonable bounds of the functions of our public education system," California Federation of Teachers President Jeff Freitas wrote in a letter to Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins and State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. "Without meeting the scientific requirements to have a safe environment for our students and our staff, schools should not be open for in-person instruction."

He asked that in-person instruction be prohibited until the number of new cases declines for at least 14 consecutive days both in the state and in the county in which a school is considering reopening.

The labor union's letter came as Newsom announced a statewide retightening of restrictions amid a spike in coronavirus cases. Current state guidance for reopening schools, Freitas said, lacks "definitive clarity," causing difficulty for school districts trying to plan for a new school year that starts in several weeks.

Freitas advocated for stronger support from the state to help schools reopen safely, from providing personal protective equipment to schools and COVID-19 tests to increased education funding.

"With cases surging and individual school districts shouldn't have to address the crisis on their own, we need the governor to assume a greater leadership role — directing school districts to delay reopening and then providing clearer direction and support for when it is safe to do so," Freitas said in a press release. "Only when the state can provide clearer guidance and support should schools reopen."

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 11-12

Santa Clara County reported 321 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, bringing its total to 6,298. On Saturday, the county had reported 126 new cases, bringing its total to 5,983. The death toll has stayed at 166 since Thursday.

Sunday initially appeared to be the single-day record for new cases reported in the county; however the county tweeted after updating its cases dashboard that the 321 new cases are from the past few days "due to some reporting delays."

There are 120 people hospitalized, 15 of which are new, as of Sunday.

San Mateo County on Sunday reported 90 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, raising its total to 4,045. The death toll has stayed at 112 since Thursday. Sixty-three people were hospitalized as of Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 10

Santa Clara County reported 189 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing its total to 5,863. The death toll has stayed at 166 since Thursday. There are 112 people hospitalized, 19 of which are new.

Palo Alto currently has 113 cases, which translates to a rate of 169 cases for every 100,000 residents. Thirty-three of those cases have surfaced over the past month and six of those cases were discovered since July 2.

Mountain View has 121 cases as of Friday, which indicates that there are 149 cases for every 100,000 residents. Fifty-two of those cases were found over the past month and 12 within the past eight days.

San Mateo County on Friday reported 108 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 3,949. The death toll has stayed at 112 since Thursday. Fifty-eight people were hospitalized as of Thursday.

County seeks social distancing protocols from businesses

All businesses planning to resume operations under Santa Clara County's new health order, including those already open, must complete a new online social distancing protocol form. The county is urging businesses to do it before the deadline this Monday, July 13.

Filling out the form will help the county ensure that the necessary steps are enacted to prevent transmission of COVID-19 as much as possible.

The county also changed the new health order, issued on July 2, from allowing indoor gatherings of up to 20, to no indoor gatherings allowed. This comes after the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Outdoor gatherings of up to 60 people will still be allowed in accordance with social distance guidelines.

"The new order was created with harm reduction in mind, understanding that COVID-19 will be with us for a while and we must change the way we live and do business to prevent us from infecting one another," said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. "While the order allows more businesses and activities to resume, this must be done with care and adherence to the new safety and distancing protocols."

The online form and checklist is essential to operating legally under the new health order. It identifies a person responsible for compliance and confirms the business has proper signage, trains its employees, has an adequate plan in place to protect workers and the public as well as in the event of a positive case in the staff.

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 9

Santa Clara County reported 132 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing its total to 5,678. One more person has died since Tuesday, raising the death toll to 166. One hundred and four people are hospitalized, 25 of which are new.

Latino residents, who make up 25.8% of the county's population, are the most impacted by the virus compared to other races. This group had about 2,620 (or 46.2%) of the county's total cases. By contrast, Asian residents comprise 35.7% of the county population (the highest percentage compared to other races) and have about 780 (or 13.7%) of the county's total cases.

San Mateo County on Thursday reported 49 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 3,846. One more person has died of the virus since Monday, raising the death toll to 112. Sixty people were hospitalized as of Wednesday.

The county has updated its dashboard displaying case totals by city through Thursday, July 9. East Palo Alto added 63 new cases over the past week, the highest increase in cases in seven days since total cases by city data was first released by the county Health Department. Its total, 329, reveals a rate of 111 cases for every 10,000 residents. Menlo Park added 19 cases to its total, which has climbed to 173, a rate of 51.1 cases for every 10,000 residents. Here's a list of case totals for communities on the Midpeninsula:

• Atherton: 22 (increase by four from July 2).

• East Palo Alto: 329 (increase by 63 from July 2).

• Menlo Park: 173 (increase by 19 from July 2).

• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10 (no change from July 2).

• Portola Valley: 22 (increase by four from July 2).

• West Menlo Park: Less than 10 (no change from July 2).

• Woodside: 14 (increase by two from July 2).

Pandemic cuts inmate firefighting crews by more than half

Only 48% of inmate firefighters from the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will be available as California enters the peak of wildfire season, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, during which prisoners across the state have tested positive for COVID-19, Newsom said at a Thursday press conference that only 94 out of 192 inmate crew members are available.

From January to July 5, there were 4,112 wildfires, Newsom said, which is substantially higher than the roughly 2,580 wildfires during the same time period last year.

"We are now walking right into the thick of wildfire season," Newsom said. The state will add at least 858 seasonal firefighters through October, according to the governor.

In other news, COVID-19 cases continue to rise across California. On Wednesday, there were 7,031 confirmed positive cases. Newsom said the state's seven-day average is now 8,043 cases per day. The 14-day average and the seven-day average for the state's positivity rate are both 7.3%. The average daily death toll for the past week was 73.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 8

Santa Clara County reported 79 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its total to 5,552. The death toll has stayed at 165 since Tuesday.

The county is seeing an increase in people hospitalized with the virus. Over the past week, the amount has increased by 16, from 80 on June 30 to 96 on July 7. Of the 96 cases, 16 are new. Another 17 patients are under investigation for COVID-19, more than double the number recorded a week ago.

There has also been a notable rise in COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds over the past two weeks, during which time the total has fluctuated between 29 and 40. As of July 7, 40 people with the virus were in ICU, which is nearly twice the amount documented about a month earlier.

San Mateo County on Wednesday reported 45 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 3,787. The death toll has stayed at 111 since Monday. Sixty people were hospitalized as of Tuesday.

The top two dates of most new cases found in a single day fall within the past 10 days. A review of the county's data shows 91 new cases were recorded on July 3, the highest number of new cases tracked in a single day since March. The second highest number of new cases in a day fell within the same week, June 29, when 87 new cases were documented.

Supply of personal protective equipment, California Health Corps participants on the upswing

At a press conference on Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state has blown past its previous goals for daily coronavirus testing and the acquisition of personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves.

The state's inventory of medical procedure masks has ballooned from a million in March to 232 million in July while the state supply of N95 masks has risen from 21 million to 79 million in that same time span. Over those months, the state has distributed some 280 million procedure and N95 masks to hospitals and medical centers across the state.

State public health officials have overseen a steady buildup of the state's hospital bed capacity during that time as well, and the addition of pop-up medical care sites such as Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento and Seton Medical Center in Daly City.

More than 35,000 people have also applied to the California Health Corps program, which launched at the end of March with the goal of expanding the pool of active health care workers by drawing from recently retired medical professionals, medical and nursing students and medical disaster response team members.

Nearly 750 of those Health Corps workers have already been deployed to facilities of concern like skilled nursing facilities and the state's prison and jail systems.

State health officials confirmed 11,694 new cases Tuesday, however Newsom stressed that a significant portion of those new cases came from the backlog of several laboratories in Los Angeles County.

The state's seven-day average for new cases sits at 8,116, Newsom said, and while daily testing figures have eclipsed 120,000, the average positivity rate across the state has risen two full percentage points, from 5.1% on June 24 to 7.1% this week.

"I cannot impress upon people ... the potency of your individual decision-making," Newsom said, encouraging the state's residents to continue physical distancing, wearing face coverings and frequently washing their hands.

"The last four months have been meaningful and intentional and we have done an enormous amount to prepare ... But, again, we need your compliance, we need your support," he said.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 7

Santa Clara County reported 80 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing its total to 5,478. One additional death was reported, bringing the death toll to 165. Eighty-eight people are hospitalized, 21 of which are new.

Over the past week, 67 new cases were recorded at long-term care facilities across the county, which have 601 (or 11%) of the county's total cases. Seventy-three deaths are also connected to the facilities, which make up 44% of the county's total deaths.

The county has rolled out a new dashboard with data on COVID-19 testing over a seven-day span at six large health care systems, which were required to test patients who had COVID-19 symptoms, patients exposed to someone with the virus and front-line workers under a June 10 order.

The current data covers tests administered from June 25 through July 1 The county's health system has collected the most tests in that time, 15,151, and has a daily average of 2,164 tests. Stanford Health Care recorded 2,782 tests, Palo Alto Medical Foundation/Sutter Health collected 1,741 and El Camino Health reported 664 tests.

San Mateo County on Tuesday reported 40 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 3,743. The death toll has stayed at 111 since Monday. Fifty-five people were hospitalized as of Monday.

The number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 has risen by 14 between June 29 and July 6, that latest date for which data is available. The rate of hospitalized patients has slowly climbed up over that seven-day span, with the exception of July 3-4, when the total dropped by 10.

The current number of people hospitalized isn't far off from the rate about a month earlier, when the county recorded 57 with or suspected of having COVID-19.

Santa Clara County gains state clearance for plan to reopen economy

After an initial setback, Santa Clara County received the go-ahead from the state on Monday night for its plan to reopen the economy and allow hair salons and gyms to resume operations on July 13.

The variance attestation, which the state Department of Public Health posted on its website July 6, is a requirement for counties that want to reopen their economies more quickly than allowed under the state's shelter-in-place order. The variance will allow the county to move ahead with the health order that county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody issued on Thursday, allowing hair salons, gyms and other businesses to reopen on July 13.

The July 2 order also includes a set of rules that all businesses must follow during the pandemic. These include allowing telework when possible, shifting operations outdoors and imposing density restrictions, with no more than one employee per 250 square feet of gross floor area.

Read more here.

San Mateo County sees significant rise in cases, San Quentin inmates hospitalized locally for COVID-19

San Mateo County health officials on Tuesday reported that the two days with the highest totals of new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began occurred in the last couple of weeks, according to a press release. The new highs — 88 on Monday, June 29, and 89 on Friday, July 3 — come as the average of those testing positive for COVID-19 stands at 4.9%.

This is below the state’s overall seven-day average of 6.7%, but the county's positivity trend is going up, Louise Rogers, chief of San Mateo County Health, told the Board of Supervisors.

Rogers reported that 53 patients in San Mateo County are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, a total that includes approximately 20 inmates from San Quentin State Prison who are being cared for at Seton Medical Center in Daly City.

Rogers said the Health Department is working with California health officials to post local COVID-19 data on the county’s COVID-19 dashboard separate from data from state prison transfers. She added that the state will account for inmate data in assessing the county’s progress toward its Resilience Roadmap and efforts to control the virus locally.

She also reported that 102 contact tracers from the county Health Department and additional county departments will work to interview those who test positive for coronavirus.

California files suit over relief funds for schools

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Tuesday announced a multistate lawsuit against President Donald Trump's administration, accusing U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of preventing COVID-19 pandemic relief funding from being dispersed to K-12 public schools.

Becerra argued that DeVos flouted Congress' intent in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which included $13.2 billion for K-12 schools across the country, about $1.5 billion of which was intended for California public schools.

The CARES Act required educational funding to be dispersed in accordance with Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, ensuring that schools with low-income students would not be passed over.

The lawsuit argues that the Department of Education's interim final rule mandating that private schools are eligible for pandemic relief funds based on the total population they serve rather than income is antithetical to the CARES Act's Title I requirement.

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 6

Santa Clara County reported 141 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing its total to 5,408. Three additional deaths were reported, bringing the death toll to 164. Eighty-six people are hospitalized, seven of which are new.

The county has recorded nearly 102,500 more tests over the past two weeks, during which time its test positivity rate continued to go down. As of Monday, the county registered 229,638 tests, 6,125 of which returned positive and 223,513 of which returned negative. The county's positivity rate has gone down by 0.17%, from 2.84% on June 22 to 2.67% on July 6.

San Mateo County on Monday reported 45 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 3,692. Three more people have died over the past week, raising the death toll to 111. Fifty-three people were hospitalized as of Sunday.

The county has recorded nearly 9,300 tests over the past eight days, over which time the test positivity rate stayed at 4.9%. Since the pandemic began, a total of 3,671 tests returned positive results and 71,047 returned negative results, while 20 tests are pending results. Between June 29 and July 2, the number of positive test results each day was above 50. The most positive results during the four-day stretch was recorded on June 30, when 66 people were found with COVID-19.

State denies Santa Clara County's reopening plan

Santa Clara County suffered a stinging setback over the weekend in its strategy to reopen the economy, when the state rejected its plan to allow more businesses, including gyms and hair salons, to reopen later this month.

The county's new order, which county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody announced on Thursday, July 2, would have permitted more businesses to reopen on July 13. The plan also outlined a set of rules that all businesses must follow during the pandemic, including allowing telework when possible, shifting operations outdoors and imposing density restrictions, with no more than one employee per 250 square feet of gross floor area.

Santa Clara County Deputy County Executive David Campos said during a morning news briefing on Monday, July 6, that the state had issued an "initial rejection" of the variance application. He also indicated that the county will continue to work with state officials to advance the July 2 order.

Read more here.

California steps up enforcement at restaurants and bars across state

California is stepping up its enforcement of health guidelines across the state as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.

Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, officers from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control inspected 5,986 bars and restaurants statewide to make sure they were not violating health orders, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a Monday press conference. In Santa Clara County, officers reportedly ordered some restaurants in Gilroy and Morgan Hill to halt operations because the county's local health order permitting outdoor dining violates the state's stay-at-home order .

The Department of Industrial Relations and Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration also contacted 441,755 businesses in person, over email or by phone. Only a handful of businesses received citations, Newsom said.

The stepped-up enforcement comes as the number of positive COVID-19 cases and those hospitalized with the virus increase. With an average of 104,000 tests conducted per day in the past week — and a record number of 127,000 tests on Saturday — the two-week average positivity rate increased to 6.8%. (The rate increases to 7.2% for the seven-day average.)

Hospitalization of COVID-19 patients has gone up 50% in the past two weeks, from 3,868 patients to 5,790. The number of patients in intensive-care units is up by 39% over the past 14 days, despite a small 0.3% decrease recorded on Sunday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 4-5

Santa Clara County reported 206 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, bringing its total to 5,273. One additional death was reported, bringing the death toll to 161. Eighty-five people are hospitalized, 11 of which are new.

Sunday marks the second straight day in which more than 200 new cases were reported, with Saturday appearing to be the largest single-day increase on record at 234 cases, according to the county's COVID-19 data dashboard. On July 1, the county recorded 210 cases, which appears to be the second-highest total of new cases reported in a single day.

San Mateo County on Sunday reported 13 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 3,599. There was no change to the death toll, which has stayed at 108 since June 29. Fifty people were hospitalized as of Saturday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 3

Santa Clara County reported 109 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday. One more person has died of the disease, raising the death toll to 160. Ninety people are hospitalized, one of whom is new since Thursday.

San Mateo County on Friday reported 95 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 3,536. There was no change to the death toll, which has stayed at 108 since Monday. Fifty-six people are hospitalized as of Thursday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 2

Santa Clara County reported 185 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing its total to 4,750. One more person has died of the disease, raising the death toll to 159. Eighty people are hospitalized, 10 of which are new.

Over the past month, Palo Alto and Mountain View have seen their case totals, which each make up 0.1% of each city's respective populations, rise by the dozens. Palo Alto's current total is 107, which translates to 160 cases for every 100,000 people. The city added 21 new cases over the past nine days and 29 over the past month. Mountain View's current total is 109, which breaks down to 135 cases for every 100,000 people. The city has seen 26 new cases over the past nine days and 48 over the past month.

San Mateo County on Thursday reported 63 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 3,376. There was no change to the death toll, which has stayed at 108 since Monday. Forty-seven people are hospitalized as of Wednesday.

The county has updated its dashboard displaying case totals by city through Thursday, July 2. Menlo Park's total rose by 26 over the past seven days, marking the city's largest one-week increase since the county Health Department began providing data on cases by city. A week earlier, the city's total increased by 13. East Palo Alto's total, 266, is the fourth highest in the county after Redwood City, Daly City and South San Francisco. Here's a list of case totals for communities on the Midpeninsula:

• Atherton: 18 (increase by five from June 25).

• East Palo Alto: 266 (increase by 55 from June 25).

• Menlo Park: 154 (increase by 26 from June 25).

• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10 (no change from June 25).

• Portola Valley: 18 (increase by two from June 25).

• West Menlo Park: Less than 10 (no change from June 25).

• Woodside: 12 (increase by two from June 25).

Santa Clara County to allow more businesses to reopen

Marking a new phase in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Clara County leaders issued an order Thursday that could allow hair salons and gyms to reopen in mid-July and that will require all businesses to strictly follow a new set of rules to ensure social distancing.

The order comes at a time when the county, much like the state at large, is seeing a steady rise in coronavirus cases. The county reported 185 new cases on Thursday and one new death, raising the total death count to 159. The increased number of hospitalizations has prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to include Santa Clara County on the state's "monitoring list" of 19 counties with troubling trend lines.

Sara Cody, the county's health officer, said the order recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic will not go away any time soon. And while it could allow new business sectors to reopen on July 13, pending the state's permission, it also creates new safety requirements for all businesses.

Under the new guidelines, businesses must continue to allow employees to telework where feasible and to move as many operations as possible outdoors. They will have to fill out and submit to the county their social-distancing protocols. They also will be required to follow density limits, with no more than one employee per 250 gross square feet of the facility and no more than one customer per 150 square feet of the space that is open to the public.

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to immediately alert the business, which would have to report it to the Public Health Department.

Read more here.

Positivity rate and hospitalization numbers climb ahead of Fourth of July weekend

On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom used the state's latest statistics on COVID-19 to reiterate the importance of wearing face coverings — now a statewide mandate in all indoor settings besides the home and outdoors where maintaining 6 feet of space is not possible — and physical distancing.

The average positivity rate, or the percentage of tests that are positive, over a two-week period is at 6.3%, Newsom said at a Thursday press conference. Over a seven-day period, the rate stands at 6.9%. Hospitalizations have also increased by 56% in the past two weeks.

The governor's office also launched an ad campaign on Thursday, in multiple languages, to promote awareness of the importance of face coverings.

Several reporters pressed Newsom to answer how the state can better enforce the rules on face coverings, physical distancing and household mixing. The governor responded that he can't make sure all 40 million Californians follow the rules, but did mention the $2.5 billion fund that counties can benefit from if they properly enforce health guidelines.

"We're not going into everyone's backyard and enforcing," Newsom said.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JULY 1

Santa Clara County reported 210 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its total to 4,572. Two more people have died of the disease, raising the death toll to 158.

Eighty people with the virus are hospitalized as of July 1, four of which are new, and eight more patients are under investigation for COVID-19.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus has slowly climbed up in nearly two weeks, from 33 on June 18 to 85 on June 29. Tuesday marked the first decline in patients in 12 days, when 80 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized, 34 of whom were in intensive care unit beds.

San Mateo County on Wednesday reported 67 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 3,376. There was no change to the death toll, which has stayed at 108 since Monday. Forty-seven people are hospitalized as of Tuesday.

The number of cases in residents between 20 and 29 years old has increased the most over the past month compared to other age groups. This group had 578 cases as of July 1, an increase by 270 compared to June 1. The 30-39 age group, which had 664 cases as of Wednesday, continues to have the highest number of cases across all age groups. This group's total rose by 238 over the past month, the second-highest increase compared to other age groups.

State bans indoor dining in 19 counties, closes parking at state beaches

With COVID-19 cases once again on the rise in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday banned indoor dining in 19 counties for three weeks and announced that parking facilities at state beaches will be closed in the Bay Area and in southern California this weekend.

Newsom made the announcement during a Wednesday news conference, where he addressed the growing number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The state saw 5,196 positive cases on June 30, he said, a 51% increase from just two weeks ago, when there were 3,439 cases.

California has also seen a growing rate of positive cases among those getting tested. The positivity rate for those tested in the past 14 days is 6%, he said. Two weeks ago, it was 4.6%.

"The bottom line is, the spread of this virus is continuing at a rate that is particularly concerning," Newsom said.

The new restrictions on indoor operations are limited to the 19 counties on the state’s watchlist, which includes Santa Clara, Los Angeles, Contra Costa and Fresno counties (San Mateo County is not on the list). It orders these counties to close indoor operations at restaurants, wineries/tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms. Outdoor dining and retail are allowed to continue.

In Santa Clara County, indoor dining and most other forms of indoor entertainment remain prohibited activities under the county’s own shelter-in-place order. But while Newsom’s Wednesday proclamation will not have an immediate impact, it all but ensures that these activities will not resume until at least late July. Newsom said he anticipates that the guidance for the 19 counties will remain in place for at least three weeks.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 30

Santa Clara County reported 116 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing its total to 4,370. There was no change to the death toll, which has stayed at 156 since Monday. Eighty-five people are hospitalized, 15 of which are new.

A total of 534 cases have been found at 44 long-term care facilities throughout the county, 110 of which have been hospitalized since about mid-February and 70 of which have died, making up nearly half of the county's total deaths.

San Mateo County on Tuesday reported 63 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 3,311. There was no change to the death toll, which has stayed at 108 since Monday.

Forty-one people are hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, June 29, nearly double the amount patients recorded on June 22. The number of coronavirus patients in ICU has doubled over the course of four days, from eight on Friday, June 26, to 16 on Monday.

State houses more than 14K homeless people through Project Roomkey

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that California has housed roughly 14,200 homeless residents across the state since April in leased hotel and motel rooms through a partnership with the federal government.

Standing outside a motel in Pittsburg, Newsom outlined the progress the state has made with Project Roomkey, which launched in April with a goal of finding shelter for homeless residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the state has procured 15,679 rooms, Newsom said.

The program has allowed state officials and local governments to identify vacant hotel and motel rooms during the pandemic that can be used to house homeless residents. The Federal Emergency Management Agency then reimburses the expenses required to procure the unused rooms as well as meal, custodial and security services.

"The state identifies the asset, provides the capacity to get reimbursed from the federal government and get support from the state of California," Newsom said of the program's localism. "But at the end of the day, this program doesn't work without outstanding local officials."

Newsom said most of the 131 rooms in the motel he stood in front of have been filled with 164 tenants who are now receiving three meals a day and other supportive services.

Newsom also touted the state's budget for fiscal year 2021, which he signed Monday, for its support for homeless services across the state in spite of tax revenue shortages due to the pandemic.

The budget includes $1.3 billion in funding to expand Project Roomkey and similar programs like it. The state has also secured philanthropic commitments of roughly $45 million for supportive services through the program.

"Despite the deficit, despite the headwinds of stress that we had to address in balancing our budget, we still made a commitment to lean forward, lean in the future, follow through on our commitment to do more and do better for homeless Californians," Newsom said.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 29

Santa Clara County reported 104 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing its total to 4,265. One more person has died of the disease since Thursday, raising the death toll to 156. Seventy-eight people are hospitalized, 19 of which are new.

The county debuted on Monday redesigned data dashboards, which can be found here. New additions include a search function to find cases by city and ZIP code. Another new feature is a breakdown of cases by source of transmission. As of June 29, 52.4% of cases were classified as either unknown or presumed community transmission and 42.1% were deemed a contact to a case. Another 4.3% were associated with the outbreak and 1.2% were linked to travel.

San Mateo County on Monday reported 71 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 3,232. Two more people have died since June 25, raising the death toll to 108. Thirty-two people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

The county's test positivity rate currently stands at 4.9%, the first time the number has fallen below 5%. A review of county data shows an increase in testing over the past month, with three dates in June accounting for the most tests collected in a single day since the pandemic began. The most tests collected in one day were on June 15, when 1,775 people were tested, 46 of which returned positive results. Of the 1,598 people tested on June 15, 48 returned positive results. The third-highest date for collected tests was June 22, when there were 1,506 people who were checked for COVID-19, 34 of whom returned negative results.

County previews new COVID-19 reopening plan

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and Public Health Department held a joint meeting Monday with the San Jose City Council to preview the county's new reopening plan that will be released later this week.

Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody discussed the transition from a sector-to-sector reopening plan to a risk-aversion plan.

"In this new phase we hope to create a framework that people will be able to live within for a long time to offer clarities on how to stay as safe as possible while doing the things we all need to do, and to create more certainty about the path ahead," Cody said.

The new plan will include across-the-board guidelines for all open businesses, with some more restrictive guidelines for higher-risk activities that will be applicable for the long-term. This also means that some businesses will be deemed too high-risk to open up for the time being.

"To use an overused phrase, we are entering a new normal that involves significant changes to the ways we do many things," Cody said.

Read more here.

Newsom: Counties on 'watchlist' for more than two weeks must toggle back reopenings

As the rate of people testing positive for COVID-19 increases and hospitalization numbers go up throughout California, state leaders are looking to toggle back on reopening businesses, particularly bars.

On Sunday, eight counties, including Santa Clara County, were recommended to shut down indoor bars and seven counties were handed mandatory closures of those businesses.

'"We don't like the trend line," Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a Monday press conference. "That's why, again, this mandatory mask requirement is in effect and that's why unfortunately we're using this dimmer switch to start to pull back on the (current) stay-at-home order."

Several reporters during the press conference questioned the reasoning and the efficacy of closing only bars and not restaurants that may also serve drinks. Though the exact reason is still unclear, Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state's Health and Human Services secretary, said that health officials' focus is on places where serving alcohol is the primary source of business.

Further intervention from the state on local health orders can be expected if counties continue to show concerning numbers related to COVID-19, Newsom said.

In the past few weeks, counties experiencing an uptick in COVID-19 cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations entered the state Public Health Department's watchlist. If counties stay on the watchlist for more than two weeks, Newsom said those regions will be told to slow down reopenings and possibly reinstate stricter stay-at-home orders. (Santa Clara County has been on the state's watchlist since June 23.)

"Once over a two-week period and you're still on that watchlist, and we're still seeing an increase in spread and transmission, that then triggers the kind of decision we made yesterday," Newsom said, referencing the mandatory bar closures for some counties.

Nineteen counties are on the watchlist, representing around 72% of the state's population, Newsom said, which reflects the overall increase in COVID-19 cases throughout California.

In the past week, the state's positivity rate, or people testing positive for COVID-19, has increased to 5.9%. (the rate is 5.5% over the past 14 days. Hospitalizations have increased 43% in the past two weeks, and intensive-care unit patients have climbed up by 37%, though the state's health care system can manage the influx, Newsom said.

Though the numbers are not immediately alarming, Newsom said that counties can expect some level of enforcement coming from the state by leveraging $2.5 billion reserved for counties that properly enforce health orders.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 27-28

Newsom recommends indoor bars stay closed

The California Department of Public Health, along with Gov. Gavin Newsom, said on Sunday that Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties should continue to keep indoor bars closed, in light of escalating confirmed COVID-19 infections.

Those two counties were mentioned in a press release that described mandatory closures for bars in Los Angeles, Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties, and recommended closures of bars in Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Stanislaus and Ventura counties.

"COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some parts of the state, growing stronger," Newsom said in the statement. "That's why it is critical we take this step to limit the spread of the virus in the counties that are seeing the biggest increases."

Bars, in particular, lend themselves to the spread of COVID-19 more readily than most other environments, Sunday's statement said.

"In these environments, alcohol consumption reduces inhibition and impairs judgment, leading to reduced compliance with recommended core personal protective measures, such as the mandatory use of face coverings and the practice of social and physical distancing," the statement said. Also, the statement said bars are generally louder environments requiring raised voices, in turn leading to the greater projection of tiny droplets through which COVID-19 is transmitted.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County's COVID-19 cases dashboard was not updated Saturday due to a "systemwide outage of the Reportable Disease Information Exchange," according to the county Public Health Department's Twitter account. As a result, Sunday's case count will be higher and "not a true reflection of the number of new cases," the tweet said.

On Sunday, the county reported 135 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its total to 4,162. There was no change to the death toll, which has stayed at 155 since Thursday. Eighty-two people are hospitalized.

San Mateo County reported 58 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, raising its total to 3,141 as of Sunday. The death toll remains at 106 since June 25. Twenty-seven people are hospitalized as of Saturday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 26

Santa Clara County reported 100 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing its total to 3,984. There was no change to the death toll, which has stayed at 155 since Thursday. Seventy-eight people are hospitalized.

According to new data on the county's COVID-19 dashboard, Hispanic residents account for nearly half of all cases reported in the county. The dashboard shows that about 1,840 cases, or 46.2% of total cases, were found in Hispanic residents.

By contrast, roughly 645 Asian residents were confirmed with the virus as of Friday. Asian residents make up 35.7% of the county population, the largest of any other race or ethnicity in the county.

As of June 26, Santa Clara County changed how it tracks coronavirus testing and is now basing data on the number of tests conducted rather than the individuals tested. Now, individuals tested multiple times are counted per test rather than only once.

San Mateo County on Friday reported 34 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 3,083. The death toll remains at 106 since Thursday. Twenty-seven people are hospitalized as of Saturday.

Santa Clara County plans to issue new shelter-in-place order

Santa Clara County will soon resume many activities once prohibited by its stay-at-home measures through a new order expected to be issued next week, according to a statement county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody sent on Friday.

The new activities will be outlined in an announcement some time in the middle of next week, Cody wrote, but the updated order will no longer follow a "sector-specific strategy," in which the county reopened businesses and public spaces based on the level of risk of infection.

Cody noted, however, that "high-risk activities simply cannot safely resume here or elsewhere anytime soon" and the activities that will be allowed will come with "risk reduction measures in place."

The order will go into effect several days after the announcement, according to the statement.

The new order will come at a time when counties across the state are seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and increased hospitalizations. Recently, Santa Clara County was added to the state's "watchlist" as it reported 122 confirmed positive cases on June 22. A day later, the county recorded 125 confirmed positive cases, the highest one-day rise in cases since the pandemic began, and 61 hospitalizations on June 23.

"We have … seen an increase in cases here in our county, and a smaller uptick in hospitalizations," Cody wrote. "However, thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of our residents, the prevalence of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County remains much lower than most other places." Santa Clara County has the tenth most cases of any county in the state. Alameda County has the most cases across all nine Bay Area counties. The eight other counties with the most cases in the state are in southern California.

Under the current county order that went into effect June 5, most businesses and gathering spaces can resume operations, though with certain restrictions, including restaurants with outdoor dining, churches, manufacturing, small-service businesses and child care programs, among others.

Businesses that remain barred from reopening include hair salons and barbershops, bars, arcades, spas, gyms, concert venues and amusement parks.

State announces new partnership for manufacturers to secure PPE, sees continuing rise in COVID-19 cases

California has partnered with the California Manufacturers & Technology Association to launch a new website to help state-based manufacturers gain access to free personal protective equipment and connect other employers and industries to PPE manufacturers, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced at a Friday press conference.

The online tool, safelymakingca.org, will provide resources on how to obtain protective equipment, such as face masks, face shields, gowns, gloves, sanitizer and wipes, said Newsom, who made the announcement at a manufacturing facility in Sacramento. He called the program a significant step intended to ease the process of putting California back to work. The site is intended to help ensure manufacturers have what they need to stay operational.

Newsom also ran down new statistics on the state's COVID-19 cases, which remain on the rise. In the past 24 hours, there were 4,890 individuals who tested positive for the virus and 79 new deaths recorded throughout the state, Newsom said. There was also a slight increase in the two-week average positivity rate, which rose from 5.1% on Thursday to 5.3% on Friday. The positivity rate indicates the percentage of total tests that return positive.

The increases have slowed down reopenings for counties, including San Francisco, which recently pulled back its plan to reopen barbershops, museums and outdoor bars on June 29, according to Newsom.

Dr. Sonia Angell, the state's health officer, said part of the spike in cases is a direct result of increased movement in the population from more reopenings as counties loosen their stay-at-home orders and from the massive protests staged throughout the state over the past month as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. The extent to which protests have contributed to the higher number of COVID-19 cases is unclear, Angell said.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 25

Santa Clara County reported 64 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing its total to 3,888, 72 of which are hospitalized.

Since Wednesday's total of 154 deaths was reported, the county learned one of the deceased was from another county and updated the number to 153, according to a tweet from the Public Health Department. On Thursday, two more people died, raising the death toll to 155.

A review of the county's COVID-19 cases dashboard shows 91 cases were identified through tests gathered on June 19, the highest amount reported yet since mid-February. Eighty-seven new cases were identified a day earlier on June 18, followed by 89 cases each reported on June 16 and 17. The four-day span marks a new high on the county's chart of new cases by specimen collection date. The previous high was April 10, when the county recorded 79 new cases.

In a previous statement, the county has said identifying cases by specimen collection date helps indicate the timing of the virus' spread, as opposed to its previous method of listing positive cases based on when they were reported to the state's Reportable Disease Information Exchange. Data for the past five days is subject to change as the county receives more results.

San Mateo County on Thursday reported 49 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 3,049. Two more people have died of the disease since Monday, raising the death toll to 106. Twenty-nine people are hospitalized as of Wednesday.

The county has updated its dashboard displaying case totals by city through Thursday, June 25. East Palo Alto saw its largest one-week increase since the county Health Department began providing data on cases by city. East Palo Alto's total, which rose by 58 between June 18 and 25, indicates there are 71.2 cases for every 10,000 residents. Menlo Park's new total, 128, translates to 37.8 cases for every 10,000 residents. Here's a list of case totals for communities on the Midpeninsula:

• Atherton: 13 (no change from June 18).

• East Palo Alto: 211 (increase by 58 from June 18).

• Menlo Park: 128 (increase by 13 from June 18).

• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10 (no change from June 18).

• Portola Valley: 18 (increase by two from June 18).

• West Menlo Park: Less than 10 (no change from June 18).

• Woodside: 10 (no change from June 18).

State's new open source tool can predict COVID-19's spread by county in the next 2-4 weeks

The state has unveiled new open source data showing forecasts of the spread of COVID-19 throughout each county, which is now accessible to the public.

"The information that we're now making available is exactly the information we make available to county health officials," Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a Thursday press conference. "We want to back up the health professionals because this is the data they use to guide their decision-making."

The new online resource, called the California COVID Assessment Tool, tracks the spread of the coronavirus throughout the state's 58 counties since the beginning of the pandemic. It also forecasts the spread of the virus in the next two to four weeks in each county based on models from various universities and research organizations.

In Santa Clara County, for example,the University of California, Los Angeles's model predicts 36 hospitalizations by July 24. John Hopkins University, however, paints a more grim picture, estimating that the county could potentially have 513 hospitalizations by July 13.

It's not immediately clear how each model forecasts polarizing outcomes.

An additional tool is the ability to play out different scenarios in which users can see what effects measures such as physical distancing or sheltering in place have upon the spread of the COVID-19.

Newsom said that by opening this tool to the public, he hopes to attract coders and researchers to create their own models as well as help the public better understand the thought process behind their local health officials' choices.

In the past few days, the state has reported some of the highest numbers of daily COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. On Wednesday, there were 7,149 confirmed cases and, on Thursday, 5,349 people tested positive for the coronavirus.

The positivity rate has remained at a 5.1% average for the past 14 days, but Newsom said past week's average is 5.6%.

There are also currently 4,240 people hospitalized, which is a 32% increase in hospitalizations over the past two weeks. There are 1,306 people in intensive-care unit beds, which means the state is at a 34% capacity for available ICU beds, according to Newsom.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 24

Santa Clara County reported 125 more coronavirus infections on Wednesday, the highest number of new cases reported in a day since the pandemic began, the county's Emergency Operations Center told this news organization in an email.

The new cases also mark the second consecutive day that new cases reported in a single day have reached triple digits.

The county's total of COVID-19 cases stands at 3,832, 64 of which are hospitalized. There was no change to the county's death toll, which has stayed at 154 since Monday.

The county has also seen more people hospitalized with the virus in about a week. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds has slowly increased in nearly 10 days from 15 on June 15 to 25 on June 24. The number of COVID-19 patients in acute hospital beds has fluctuated over the past seven days. County data shows 41 people with the virus were in those beds on June 17. On June 24, that number went down to 35.

San Mateo County on Wednesday reported 27 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 2,996. There was no change to the death toll, which has stayed at 104 since Monday. Twenty-seven people are hospitalized as of Tuesday.

The county has updated its dashboard displaying case totals by city through Thursday, June 18. East Palo Alto's total rose by 23 between June 11 and 18. County data shows there are 51.6 cases for every 10,000 residents. Here's a list of case totals for communities on the Midpeninsula:

• Atherton: 13 (no change from June 11).

• East Palo Alto: 153 (increase by 23 from June 11).

• Menlo Park: 115 (no change from June 11).

• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10 (no change from June 11).

• Portola Valley: 15 (no change from June 11).

• West Menlo Park: Less than 10 (no change from June 11).

• Woodside: Less than 10 (decrease by at least two from June 11).

Newsom: State will withhold COVID-19 funds if counties do not follow guidelines

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise throughout California, Gov. Gavin Newsom is looking to incentivize counties to clamp down on the further spread of the virus by withholding funding from those that don't follow state health guidelines.

Part of the 2020-21 state budget that the Legislature recently approved includes a $2.5 billion reserve to be divided among counties that meet "the criteria under the emergency declaration related to COVID-19," Newsom said at a Tuesday press conference.

If counties do not maintain an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, the state will withhold part of the $2.5 billion fund from those counties.

"If counties simply are going to flaunt the rules and regulations that they attested to … if they decide, 'You know what, even though the numbers are going up … we're just going to dismiss these new rules and regulations,' we're going to attach some considerations and consequences to that," Newsom said. "There's $2.5 billion in this budget that simply will not flow to those counties.

"What we're now looking for is accountability at the local level," he added.

Newsom's stance on funding comes as the state continues to report an increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate, hospitalizations and the number of intensive care unit patients.

Within two days, the state's positivity rate increased from 4.8% to 5.1%. Newsom also reported new two-week averages for hospitalizations and ICU patients: a 29% increase in hospitalizations and an 18% increase in ICU patients.

Newsom emphasized that these increases are happening even in regions with more stringent stay-at-home orders such as San Mateo County. (Santa Clara County was also added to the state's watchlist on Tuesday after observing high numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.)

"The increased numbers we've seen — a lot of those numbers are reflected in increases in the Bay Area and that's part of the state that's moved the last into this new phase," Newsom said. "They have moved more slowly and now have experienced an increase, in the last number of days, in cases."

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 23

Santa Clara County reported 122 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing its total to 3,727. The new cases represent the second highest number of cases recorded by the county in a single day.

There was no change to the county's death toll, which has stayed at 154 since Monday. Sixty-one people are hospitalized.

The rise in cases is part of a trend that the Public Health Department has seen over two weeks. New hospitalizations also appear to be trending upward, county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Cody received word during the board meeting that the county is now on the state "watchlist," dashing hope for the time being that the county can petition the state to allow additional reopening.

Palo Alto Sub-Acute and Rehabilitation Center and Bridge Point at Los Altos are among the nine long-term care facilities found with the coronavirus over the past 14 days. The Palo Alto center reported less than 11 cases among its staff as of June 23. Sixty-seven deaths at the county's long-term care facilities make up 43.5% of the county's total 154 deaths.

San Mateo County on Tuesday reported 45 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 2,961. There was no change to the death toll, which has stayed at 104 since Monday.

Twenty-three people are hospitalized as of June 22, a decrease by five patients over the past six days. The county has seen a slight rise in COVID-19 patients in ICU which rose by three between June 16 and 22.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 22

Newsom: State sees highest increases in COVID-19 cases since outbreak

As the state ramps up testing and counties begin to reopen businesses, California is reporting an increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and intensive-care unit patients, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

In the past two weeks, 46,735 positive cases were confirmed, which account for 35.6% of all 178,054 cases in the state since the beginning of the pandemic, Newsom said at Monday's press conference.

The state confirmed 4,515 positive cases on Saturday and 4,230 cases on Sunday — the highest numbers reported since the beginning of the pandemic in March, according to state data.

Newsom said the state was able to perform a record number of tests, around 92,000 on Sunday, approximately 85,000 on Saturday and more than 79,000 on Friday. He cautioned, however, that the increase in tests does not solely account for the higher numbers. The positivity rate — percentage of total tests that return positive — has increased from 4.5% to 4.8% in the past week, he said. San Mateo County has reported a 5% positivity rate, and Santa Clara County has reported a 2.88% rate.

There also was an uptick of hospitalized and ICU patients during this time. Hospitalizations increased 16%, while the number of ICU patients increased 11%. Those numbers are "within a capacity that our system can handle," Newsom said.

These reported increases come as counties statewide slowly begin to reopen businesses and public spaces.

Santa Clara County reopened in-store retail services and houses of worship, but with restrictions, on June 5. On Monday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that the city and San Francisco County are set to reopen hair and nail salons, museums, tattoo parlors and outdoor bars by June 29, which will be among the biggest rollbacks of restrictions for Bay Area counties to date.

To mitigate the further spread of the coronavirus during more reopenings, the state mandated on June 18 that residents wear face masks for all outdoor travel and in all indoor spaces, besides their homes.

"We're still in the first wave of the pandemic," Newsom said.

The governor also announced that the state legislature has come to an agreement on the 2020-21 state budget.

"We have agreed on a budget that is balanced, responsible and protects core services — education, health care, social safety net and emergency preparedness and response," Newsom said in a press release. "This budget also invests in California small businesses harmed by the pandemic."

Newsom did not divulge any specific details of the budget during the press conference, but said more information will be announced in the coming days and week.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 66 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing its total to 3,606. The county also reported two new deaths, increasing the total death toll to 154. Fifty-five people are hospitalized.

Over the past eight days, the county recorded 24,300 more COVID-19 tests. As of Monday, there were a total of 127,148 tests, 3,606 of which returned positive. The county's test positivity rate currently stands at 2.84%, a 0.28% reduction since June 14. Another 123,522 tests returned negative results and 20 are pending results.

San Mateo County on Monday reported 69 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total to 2,901, and one more death, bringing the death toll to 104. Twenty-one people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

The county also saw its test positivity rate go down over the past week. The rate was cut by 0.3% since June 14 and currently stands at 5%. A total of 58,104 tests were performed in the county as of Sunday, June 21, 55,174 of which returned negative and 39 of which are pending results.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 20-21

Santa Clara County reported 52 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the total to 3,450. Death toll remained at 152, while 55 people were hospitalized.

On Sunday, 89 more cases were confirmed, for a total of 3,547 positive cases, and five more people were hospitalized. Total number of deaths remained at 152.

San Mateo County reported 28 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday for a total of 2,825. Death toll remained at 103 since Thursday. Twenty people were hospitalized as of Wednesday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 19

Santa Clara County reported 40 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing its total to 3,398. The county's number of deaths remains at 152. Fifty-five people — seven more than reported on Thursday — are hospitalized.

San Mateo County reported 46 new COVID-19 cases, bringing its total to 2,770.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 18

Santa Clara County reported 79 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing its total to 3,363. The increase is the largest reported by the county over the past month, when the number of new cases reported each day has fallen below about 50.

One more person has died of the disease, raising the county's number of deaths to 152. Forty-eight people are hospitalized.

San Mateo County on Thursday reported 37 new cases of COVID-19 for a total to 2,721. Four more people have died of the disease, raising the death toll to 103. Twenty people are hospitalized as of Wednesday.

State requires face coverings in public spaces with high risk of COVID-19 spread

The California Department of Public Health issued new public health guidelines Thursday, requiring Californians to wear face coverings when in public spaces that have a high risk of spreading the coronavirus.

People will be required to wear masks when inside an indoor public space, receiving health care services, waiting for or riding on public transit or in a taxi or ride-booking service vehicle, and working at a facility where other people are present.

Masks and face coverings will also be required for people working anywhere food is prepared or packaged, people driving public transit vehicles and people who are outside in a public space when maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance is not possible.

"Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered - putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease," Gov. Gavin Newsom said. "California's strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if people act safely and follow health recommendations."

The state carved out exemptions for several groups of people, including children ages 2 and under, people who are hearing impaired, people at a restaurant or other location offering food and beverage service and people recreating outdoors.

Various counties, including those in the Bay Area, have already implemented a requirement to wear a face covering in public in recent months due to the pandemic. However, statewide guidance had only suggested the use of a mask rather than mandating it.

"Combined with physical distancing and frequent hand washing, wearing cloth face coverings when we are with others outside of our household will reduce the spread of COVID-19, which is still a very real threat across our state," California State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director Dr. Sonia Angell said.

The full public health guidance can be found at cdph.ca.gov.

Superior Court jury trials resuming with modifications in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County Superior Court announced Thursday that jury service and trials will resume this week with modifications due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

People entering the courthouse will be required to wear a face covering in all public areas and should avoid making any unnecessary physical contact. People in the courthouse should also maintain at least 6 feet of distance between each other and follow markings placed on the floor to properly practice physical distancing.

"As jurors are summoned back to Court and trials resume, the Court has implemented the highest levels of safety precautions and social distancing protocols in an effort to keep our community safe and healthy," Presiding Judge Deborah Ryan said.

Fewer jurors will be required to report to court each day and potential jurors will be called into the courthouse in smaller groups to allow for proper physical distancing.

The court has implemented more frequent janitorial service and increased the supply of products like hand sanitizer, sanitation wipes and masks to protect public health. Plastic shields have also been installed in courtrooms to prevent the spread of droplets that may spread the virus.

All people entering the court will be screened at the entrance to ensure they're required to be there. People who have symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to avoid entering the courthouse.

"Jury service is the cornerstone of our democracy and one of our county and court's greatest assets," Ryan said. "Behind every jury trial are numerous citizens who have given their time and energy to further justice in Santa Clara County."

The Palo Alto and Morgan Hill courthouses remain closed to the public until further notice.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 17

Santa Clara County reported 39 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its total to 3,288. The county's number of deaths has stayed at 151 since Sunday.

Fifty-four people are hospitalized with the virus. Between June 10 and 17, the county saw six fewer COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds (which were occupied by 15 patients as of Wednesday) and four fewer patients in acute care beds (which were occupied by 36 patients as of Wednesday).

San Mateo County on Wednesday reported 23 new cases of COVID-19 for a total to 2,678. No more people have died of the disease, holding the death toll to 99. Twenty-eight people are hospitalized as of Tuesday.

Over the past month, the county saw nearly 1,000 new cases. The latest data shows 986 cases were logged between May 18 and June 18. A month earlier, between April 18 and May 18, the county recorded 805 new cases.

San Mateo County allows more businesses, activities to reopen

Effective immediately, a wide range of San Mateo County businesses and activities, from barbershops to gyms, are allowed to reopen, according to a June 17 announcement from the county.

Group gatherings are now limited to no more than 50 people with social distancing and face coverings, and people from multiple households are allowed to interact in "social bubbles" of 12 or fewer people.

The following types of business and services can now reopen, so long as they follow health and safety plans: dine-in restaurants, hair salons and barber shops, casinos, family entertainment centers, wineries, bars, zoos, museums, gyms, fitness centers, hotels (for tourism and individual travel), card rooms, racetracks, campgrounds and outdoor recreation areas.

In addition, personal service businesses like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors may create safety plans and resume operations starting June 19.

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 16

Santa Clara County reported 28 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing its total to 3,254.

The county's number of deaths has stayed at 151 since Sunday. Forty-nine people are hospitalized.

Palo Alto's Channing House and Bridge Point Los Altos are among the eight long-term care facilities found with the coronavirus over the past 14 days. The two local facilities each reported less than 11 cases in residents and less than 11 cases among staff members as of June 16. Channing House, which also appeared on the same list last week, confirmed at least one case in a staff member over the past seven days.

San Mateo County on Tuesday reported 28 new cases of COVID-19 for a total to 2,653. No more people have died of the disease, holding the death toll to 99.

In nearly a week, the number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 has gone down by 50%. Forty-four patients were hospitalized on June 9. Six days later, on June 15, that number went down to 22.

Also, the county recently added residents ages 9 years old or younger to its chart of cases by age group. As of June 16, this group had 101 cases, the second-lowest total across all age groups. Residents ages 90 and older had 83 cases, the lowest total across all age groups, as of Tuesday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 15

Santa Clara County reported 34 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing its total to 3,230. The county's number of deaths has stayed at 151 since Sunday. Forty-nine people are hospitalized.

The county's test positivity rate continues to decrease as more people are tested for COVID-19. As of Sunday, 102,848 tests have been issued in the county, where the test positivity rate stood at 3.12%.

Of the total of tests issued, 3,197 returned positive results, 99,275 returned negative results and 376 are pending results. Since June 8, 12,644 tests have been performed in the county.

San Mateo County on Monday reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 for a total to 2,625. No more people have died of the disease, holding the death toll to 99. Twenty-nine people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

The latest testing data shows nearly 50,000 tests have been performed throughout the county, which saw its test positivity rate slightly dip in nearly a week to 5.3% as of Sunday.

Of the 49,259 recorded tests, 2,260 returned positive, 46,639 returned negative and 10 were pending results. Since June 8, the county conducted 2,620 tests.

New COVID-19 test site

A new weekday coronavirus testing site is set to launch Monday at the Shoreline Athletic Fields in Mountain View, providing no-appointment tests for all North County residents.

It has a low barrier of entry for anyone looking to get tested. Residents only need to bring a photo ID, and are requested — though not required — to provide health insurance information.

The site is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., McCarthy said, and is run through a partnership with Santa Clara County's public health department and Planned Parenthood

Read more here.

COVID-19 numbers stabilize, but the virus remains at large

As California counties collectively move further into reopening businesses and public spaces, the positivity rate of COVID-19 cases and the number of hospitalizations remain stable, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a Monday press conference.

The positivity rate has remained at around 4.5% over the past 14 days even as the state approaches its testing capacity goal of 60,000 tests per day. The number of hospitalizations and patients admitted to the intensive care unit has stayed relatively flat, Newsom said. However, the rate is still an indication that the virus remains at large.

Cases continue to rise with 2,597 new ones identified across the state on Monday — a 1.7% increase since Sunday — and deaths have increased by 0.5%, with 26 new deaths recorded during the same time span, according to state data.

Newsom said an increase of cases is expected as stay-at-home restrictions are loosened. In the meantime, the state continues to bolster its inventory of personal protective equipment and hospital beds. So far, the state has acquired 73,867 hospital beds and 175.5 million surgical masks, said Newsom.

In addition, 2,243 contact tracers have been trained and an additional 4,855 people are near the end of the training process. The goal is to have 10,000 contact tracers by July 1.

More data also has allowed state officials to highlight which groups of people are most affected by the coronavirus and to what extent.

According to Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state secretary of health and human services, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Latinos and African Americans. Latinos, who make up 38.9% of the state's population, account for 56% of total coronavirus cases and 40.4% of total deaths. African Americans, who make up 6% of the California population, account for 4.7% of total cases and 9.5% of the total deaths.

Nursing home residents also have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus. Newsom said that 50.3% of COVID-19 deaths came from those facilities.

As the governor shared stable numbers and touted increased preparations for surge cases, Newsom stressed that physical distancing, wearing masks and washing hands continue to be critical practices.

He displayed a graph charting the death tolls of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which showed a significantly higher peak of deaths later in the year, as a caution to viewers.

"We don't want to experience the second wave as they experienced in 1918 in the fall," Newsom said. "Be smart about physically being distanced; wear a face covering."

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 13-14

On Saturday, Santa Clara County reported a total of 3,157 coronavirus cases, 43 of which were new. There was no change to the death toll, which has stayed at 150 since Friday.

Another 43 new coronavirus cases were reported in the county on Sunday, bringing its total to 3,197. Sixty people are hospitalized.

In a tweet on Sunday, the county explained that a previous death initially categorized as a COVID-19 case has since been removed from the total number of deaths. As a result, while two more have died of the disease, the county's number of deaths rose by one to 151.

San Mateo County on Sunday reported 21 new cases of COVID-19 for a total to 2,594. The death toll has stood at 99 since Thursday. Twenty-seven people are hospitalized as of Saturday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 12

Construction sites become COVID-19 hot spots

Construction sites in Santa Clara County, including one in Mountain View, have become a new hot spot for coronavirus cases, according to the county Public Health Department.

A Mountain View construction site has confirmed 10 positive cases and more than 30 people potentially exposed to COVID-19, according to a Friday news release. An additional 12 construction sites throughout the county have reported at least one confirmed case of the coronavirus.

Of the 12 locations, two sites in San Jose and one in Milpitas have each reported between three and five cases. These sites as well as the Mountain View location have shut down operations as they cooperate with the health department, the news release stated.

"These cases emphasize the fact that we are still in the midst of a pandemic," Dr. Sara Cody, the county Health Officer said. "With additional sectors reopening, it is vital that everyone carefully follow social distancing protocols to ensure that workers are safe. This includes keeping physical distance and wearing a face covering."

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 55 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing its total to 3,117. Two more people have died of COVID-19, raising the county's number of deaths to 150. Fifty-nine people are hospitalized.

San Mateo County on Friday reported the same number of cases of COVID-19 as Thursday, for a total to 2,533. No more people have died of the disease, holding the death toll to 99. Thirty-three people are hospitalized as of Thursday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 11

Santa Clara County reported 35 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing its total to 3,063. Two more people have died of COVID-19, raising the county's number of deaths to 148. Fifty-nine people are hospitalized

Out of the total cases, 41.6% (or roughly 1,255) were found in Hispanic residents, who make up 26% of the county's population.

The group with the second-highest total of cases were Asian residents, who had 18.8% (or roughly 575). They make up 36% of the county's population. White residents (who cover 32% of the county population) or those of unknown race each had 15.8% (or nearly 485) of the total cases.

San Mateo County on Thursday reported 39 more cases of COVID-19, bringing its total to 2,533. Six more people have died of the disease, raising the death toll to 99. Forty people are hospitalized as of Wednesday.

The county has updated its dashboard displaying case totals by city through Thursday. East Palo Alto's total rose from 97 on June 4 to 130 on June 11. County data shows there are 43.9 cases for every 10,000 residents. Menlo Park also saw 15 cases added to its total, though the increase is less than the week prior, when the city saw 20 new cases. The latest total, 115, indicates the city has 34 cases for every 10,000 residents. Here's a list of case totals for communities on the Midpeninsula:

• Atherton: 13 (no change from June 4).

• East Palo Alto: 130 (increase by 33 from June 4).

• Menlo Park: 115 (increase by 15 from June 4).

• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10 (no change from June 4).

• Portola Valley: 15 (increase by three from June 4).

• West Menlo Park: Less than 10 (no change from June 4).

• Woodside: 12 (no change from June 4).

Pop-up test site coming to Palo Alto

For the first time, Santa Clara County is opening a pop-up test site in Palo Alto for free COVID-19 tests at City Hall for a four-day stretch starting this Tuesday.

The site is open to anyone, regardless of age or immigration status. Those seeking a test don't need an appointment, doctor's note or health insurance. Tests will be provided at the lobby of City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave., from June 16 to June 19 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

There is no defined limit to the total number of nasal-swab tests the site can provide, but the county's target goal is to perform around 500 tests per day in Palo Alto, according to Ky Le, director of Santa Clara County's Office of Supportive Housing.

The pop-up is mainly geared towards asymptomatic individuals — those who do not show any symptoms of the coronavirus. People who do have symptoms should get tested by contacting their medical provider, Le said.

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 10

New order requires COVID-19 testing for high-risk groups

A new Santa Clara County order issued Wednesday requires large health care systems to provide COVID-19 tests to patients in high-risk categories. These groups include those who have shown symptoms, had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and those who have a higher risk of exposure to the virus, such as people who frequently ride public transportation.

"Just as we expect all health care providers to test their patients for other communicable diseases and conditions that put their health at risk, healthcare providers need to test their patients for COVID-19," county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a statement. "Many healthcare providers have already stepped up to meet this expectation, and we are grateful for their partnership as we all work to reduce severe illness and death from COVID-19."

The order applies to health systems that run acute care hospitals, plus clinics and urgent care facilities that operate an acute care hospital in the county or elsewhere. The providers include the county's Health and Hospital System, El Camino Hospital, Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Stanford Health Care.

"Without the participation of all healthcare providers in ensuring access to testing for those who need it most, we will not be able to protect the public from communicable diseases like COVID-19," Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the county's COVID-19 testing officer, said in the statement. "As we continue to reopen activity in the community, ensuring everyone has access to testing will be critical to keep the community safe," he said.

The county has recorded an average of 2,354 tests per day over the past week, which is 120 tests per 100,000 residents. About 850 to 3,500 have been given each day over the past seven days, according to the county.

Read more here.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 15 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its total to 3,032. The county's number of deaths has stayed at 146 since Tuesday. Sixty-one people are hospitalized as of June 10, an increase by 15 since the beginning of the month.

The number of COVID-19 patients in acute and intensive care beds has ebbed and flowed in the first 10 days of June. Twenty-nine COVID-19 patients were in acute beds on June 1 and 11 more were added the day after, raising the total to 40. Another 10 patients raised the number to 50 on June 4, but has since decreased by single digits. As of June 10, there were 37 people in acute beds.

There has been less variation in the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care beds since June 1. County data shows 17 patients were in ICU at the beginning of the month. That number has increased and decreased by single digits leading up to Wednesday, when 22 patients were reported to be in ICU.

The number of Latino/Hispanic residents with COVID-19 — 1,130 — is nearly triple that of other races in the county and makes up 45% of its cumulative cases. About two weeks ago, this group had double the number of cases compared to other races countywide. Latino/Hispanic residents make up about 24% of the county's total population, according to 2019 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A total of 542 residents of unknown race had the second-highest total in the county, followed by 383 white residents and 374 Asian residents. The total of cases for other races each fell below 25.

Congresswoman to host town hall

U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, will host a "Tele-Town Hall" meeting about Congress' response to the coronavirus crisis and answer questions from her constituents on Thursday, June 11.

"During these challenging and uncertain times, It's important for me to stay close to everyone, answer the many questions my constituents have, and learn from you and your important ideas that help shape legislation," she said in a special announcement issued Wednesday.

Anyone interested in joining the meeting, scheduled from 4:30-5:30 p.m., can do so at vekeo.com/repannaeshoo.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 9

Santa Clara County reported 46 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing its total to 3,017. The county's number of deaths has increased by one, raising the total to 146. Sixty-nine people are hospitalized.

Palo Alto's Channing House is among the seven long-term care facilities found with the coronavirus over the past 14 days.

The Webster Street community reported less than 11 cases in residents and none among staff as of June 9.

Sixty-two people who have died from the coronavirus were cases that originated at the facilities, which makes up 42% of the county's total number of deaths, a slight increase from a month earlier when the facilities made up 40% of the county's COVID-19 deaths.

San Mateo County on Tuesday reported 33 more cases of COVID-19, bringing its total to 2,475. There was no change to the death toll, which stands at 93, since Monday.

In nearly a week, the number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 has decreased by 20. Thirty-nine people were hospitalized as of June 8, a 66% drop from June 2 when 59 people were hospitalized.

View more data through our interactive charts, which can be found here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 8

On Monday, Santa Clara County reported 33 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its total to 2,973. The county's number of deaths has increased by one to 145. Seventy-three people are hospitalized.

A total of 90,204 tests have been performed by the county, where the test positivity rate is 3.31%, the lowest rate since the pandemic began.

Between May 31 and June 8, the county recorded nearly 16,300 tests, which greatly contrasts with numbers from a month ago, when the county recorded a little over 9,400 tests between April 30 and May 8.

Thirty-seven new cases were reported in San Mateo County, where the total has gone up to 2,437, 57 of which are hospitalized. Five more people have died of the disease since June 4, raising the county's total number of deaths to 93.

As of Monday, 43,540 tests have been performed in the county, where the test positivity rate stands at 5.6%. An interactive county chart shows the highest number of tests that returned negative results — 1,529 — were conducted on June 1.

State issues guidance on reopening schools:

The California Department of Education released on Monday much-anticipated guidance for reopening schools this fall, with officials emphasizing that the document is not meant to be a mandate for local school districts.

The California Department of Education released on Monday much-anticipated guidance for reopening schools this fall, with officials emphasizing that the document is not meant to be a mandate for local school districts.

The 62-page document covers in detail everything from personal protective equipment for teachers and staggered schedules to seating assignments on school buses. It was compiled with guidance from public health experts and educational leaders, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, a statewide reopening schools task force and focus groups with educators and health officials.

"We recognize that COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on everything that we know about providing an education," state Superintendent Tony Thurmond said in a virtual press conference on June 8. "It forces us to enter into new conversation about the way educational programming looks and will look going forward."

The California Department of Education is leaving it to school districts, in collaboration with local public health officials, to decide the specifics of when to reopen. The state guidance also will likely be adjusted as more information becomes available, Thurmond said.

Read more here.

State prosecutor: Beware of phony COVID-19 contact tracers

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday warned residents to be on guard against scammers pretending to be coronavirus contact tracers in order to trick people into providinG personal information.

By convincing victims they've come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the scammers are able to get information like social security numbers, health insurance information, and financial information, according to Becerra.

The scammers find victims via phone calls, email and text messages.

"Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for personal information such as your Social Security number or financial information. It sickens the soul that there are people out there who make it their business to scam you as most of us seek to band together to respond to the coronavirus pandemic," Becerra said in a statement.

"I ask all Californians to be alert and protect your personal information. And if you see something, say something. We are working to track these imposters," he said.

Becerra encourages anyone who believes they've been a victim or who may have come across a scammer to file a complaint at oag.ca.gov/report.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 6-7

Santa Clara County reported 27 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, bringing its total to 2,942. The county had decreased its total number of deaths by one on Saturday to 143 due to "a mix-up (that) led to a misclassification of a COVID death," according to a tweet from the Public Health Department. On Sunday, the total went back up to 144. Seventy-five people are hospitalized.

San Mateo County on Sunday reported 24 more cases of COVID-19, bringing its total to 2,394. The total number of deaths remains at 88 since Thursday. Fifty-eight people are hospitalized as of Saturday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 5

Santa Clara County reported 52 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing its total to 2,892. The number of deaths, 144, has remained unchanged since Wednesday. Fifty-seven people are hospitalized.

Two more cases in Mountain View were reported on Friday, bringing the county's total to 64, which makes up 0.08% of the city population. Over the past month, the city has seen 18 new cases.

There were slight changes in how many COVID-19 cases and deaths were tied to long-term facilities when compared to the county's overall totals a month earlier. As of Friday, a total of 469 cases originated in long-term care facilities across the county, which makes up 16% of the county's overall cases, That's a decrease of 2% compared to May 5, when the facilities' 424 cases made up 19% of the county's overall cases.

As of Friday, the facilities reported 61 deaths, which encompasses 42% of the county's 144 deaths. That's an increase of about 3% compared to May 5, when the 48 deaths from the facilities made up 39% of the county's total of deaths.

County leader: Schools need more PPE

Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools Mary Ann Dewan said Friday that school staff and faculty still do not have the required amount of personal protective equipment necessary to reopen campuses to students.

Dewan said the district would need both state and local assistance, not only in acquiring protective equipment but also in maintaining uncovered costs for certain educational programs and after-school child care as schools begin to reopen later this year.

Dewan said reopening schools would depend on several local factors such as testing capacity and the availability of sanitizing and disinfecting products. The county's public schools must also welcome students back to class with equity in mind, she said.

"It's likely that we can assume that those who were struggling when school was in session have continued to struggle with distance learning," Dewan said. "And if that's the case, our decisions to continue to operationalize equity moving forward will be important to both our budget and to our plans for safe operations."

Gov. Gavin Newsom and state and local public health officials have signaled that public schools are on track to reopen in the late summer, albeit with various modifications such as staggered schedules and fewer students per classroom.

In addition, state education funding is likely to be stagnant due to lost tax revenue during the pandemic. How that will affect public schools later this year that are already struggling to accommodate students remains to be seen.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 4

San Mateo County to permit outdoor dining, indoor funerals beginning Saturday

Outdoor dining and indoor funerals with up to 10 people present will be allowed in San Mateo County beginning Saturday, June 6, under a new shelter-at-home order announced by county Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow on Thursday.

The updated order, which will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, comes less than a week after Morrow issued a new shelter-at-home order effective Monday, June 1, that allows places of worship to hold services and retail stores to have customers inside with restrictions and safety measures implemented.

The latest order states that restaurants and other food facilities that were previously licensed to provide sit-down food service can serve outdoor, sit-down meals "by working with local agencies to ensure compliance with local laws, regulations, and permitting requirements," according to a press release issued Thursday.

In addition to cleaning and sanitary measures, tables must be arranged to ensure customers are not sitting within 6 feet of one another at separate tables. There can't be more than six customers at a single table, and they must be from the same household, according to the county. Lounge areas, like fire pits, can be occupied by multiple households if 6-foot distancing is maintained.

Alcohol can be sold with food, but not independently, and bar areas must remain closed to customers. Patrons must wear a mask except when sitting at a table.

Eateries are also required to designate "COVID-19 supervisor/person(s) in charge" who must be present on-site during business hours to ensure implementation of social distancing protocol and the facility's health and safety plan, according to the new order.

Restaurants that offer outdoor dining must also offer curbside pickup, takeaway and/or delivery alternatives and keep lines for pickup away from the outdoor dining area.

The new order also allows charter boats to operate with passengers with capacity limits to ensure social distancing, and permits indoor funerals with up to 10 people present. Outdoor funerals are limited to 25 or fewer.

The announcement comes after Santa Clara County on Monday announced it will allow outdoor dining and in-store retail starting Friday, June 5.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 19 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing its total to 2,850. The number of deaths, 144, has remained unchanged since Wednesday. Forty-six people are hospitalized.

San Mateo County on Thursday reported 47 more cases of COVID-19, the highest increase in cases over the past week, bringing its total to 2,299. Over the past seven days, 232 new cases were reported in the county.

The total number of deaths now stands at 88, four of which were reported June 4. Sixty-six people are hospitalized as of Wednesday.

The county has updated its dashboard displaying case totals by city through June 4. East Palo Alto's 97 cases mean there are 32.7 cases for every 10,000 residents and Menlo Park's 100 cases indicate 29.5 cases for every 10,000 residents. Here's a list of those totals for communities on the Midpeninsula:

• Atherton: 13 (no change from May 28).

• East Palo Alto: 97 (increase by 21 from May 28).

• Menlo Park: 100 (increase by 20 from May 28).

• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10 (no change from May 28).

• Portola Valley: 12 (increase by two from May 28).

• West Menlo Park: Less than 10 (no change from May 28).

• Woodside: 12 (no change from May 28).

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 3

Santa Clara County reported 20 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its total to 2,832, and one more person who died of the disease, raising the number of deaths to 144. Forty-six people are hospitalized.

Palo Alto and Mountain View each saw one more case added to their totals, which are 79 and 62, respectively.

Palo Alto's total indicates 0.1% of the city population has COVID-19 and Mountain View's total translates to 0.08% of the city population.

As of June 3, a total of 82,843 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Santa Clara County, where the test positivity rate is 3.4%. Wednesday's total of tests is an increase of 4,777 compared to Tuesday's total.

San Mateo County on Wednesday reported 17 more cases of COVID-19, bringing its total to 2,244. The total number of deaths remains at 84 since last Thursday. Fifty-nine people are hospitalized as of Tuesday.

Expanding polling places

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Wednesday to expand the state's number of polling places ahead of the November general election, which state officials expect to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The executive order requires each county to offer at least one polling place for every 10,000 registered voters between Oct. 31 and Election Day on Nov. 3. The expansion is intended to reduce the number of voters at each location, allowing for shorter lines and smaller crowds.

"Expanded vote-by-mail, coupled with ample in-person voting on and before Election Day, is the best formula for maintaining the accessibility, security, and safety of our election," California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.

Newsom signed an executive order last month requiring the state to mail a ballot to all registered voters for each election, beginning in November. In-person voting will still be available and voters will be allowed to drop off their mail ballots at a polling place as usual.

Nearly 30 counties across the state — including Napa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties -- have already conducted elections in accordance with the Voters Choice Act, which requires at least one vote center for every 10,000 registered voters in a county.

Voters living anywhere in a county operating under the Voters Choice Act can drop off their ballots at a voter center, regardless of where their nearest polling place is.

"While we don't know exactly how widespread COVID-19 will be this fall, the policies outlined in ... this executive order will help protect both the public's health and every voter's right to vote," said Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 2

Seventeen new COVID-19 cases were reported in Santa Clara County, where the total of cases has climbed to 2,819 as of Tuesday. One more person has died of the disease since Monday, raising the total number of deaths to 138.

Thirty-eight people are hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases, 11 of whom were in intensive care unit beds and 27 of whom were in acute hospital beds.

A seven-day comparison of the county's data shows dozens of new cases emerged among people ages 50 and younger. Those ages 20 and under showed the largest increase of any other age group in the county with 39 new cases reported since May 26.

Age groups 21-30 and 41-50 each saw 28 new cases in the past week. The age group with the third-highest increase of cases over the past week was those ages 30-39, which saw 24 new cases.

San Mateo County on Tuesday reported 22 more cases of COVID-19, bringing its total to 2,122. The total number of deaths remains at 84 since last Thursday.

As of Monday, 46 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases. Eleven of those patients are in intensive care unit beds, a drop of nine patients compared to May 26.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: JUNE 1

New county order allows outdoor dining, in-store retail

Churches, retailers and restaurants that offer outdoor dining will be allowed to start welcoming back customers on June 5 under a revised shelter-in-place order that Santa Clara County issued Monday afternoon.

The updated order, which will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, is the latest step in the county's incremental approach to reopening the economy. It eases restrictions for all manufacturing, small service businesses and child care programs. This means "low contact" in-home services like house cleaning and shops like shoe repairs, will be allowed to reopen on Friday, subject to social-distancing guidelines. Churches will be able to have outdoor gatherings for up to 25 people.

The Monday order also eases restrictions for outdoor activities that do not involve physical contact, including swimming pools, tennis and golf. It also allows stores that have been restricted to curbside service since May 22, to start opening up their stores for in-store retail. It also allows dog grooming businesses to reopen.

The decision to ease some of the restrictions that have been in effect since March 17 is based on the county's recent success in reducing the number of new cases, increased testing and other key metrics that officials are using to guide their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more here.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

More than 2,800 people have been infected with the coronavirus in Santa Clara County as of Monday, according to new data posted online by the county. Twenty-nine new cases were reported on June 1, raising the county's total to 2,805.

One more has died of the disease, bringing the total number of deaths to 142.

Mountain View added one more case to its total since Thursday. Its 60 cases make up 0.08% of the city population.

Eleven of 46 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 were in intensive care unit beds, a 42% drop from the week before, when 26 patients with the virus were in ICU.

San Mateo County on Monday reported 21 more cases of COVID-19, bringing its total to 2,188. The total number of deaths remains at 84 since last week. Fifty-six people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

Residents ages 30-39 have persistently had the most cases in the county compared to other age groups. As of Monday, this group had 426 cases, an increase by 56 from a week earlier, when it had 370 cases.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: May 30-31

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County has recorded 2,776 cases of the coronavirus as of Saturday, 46 of which were new, according to data posted Sunday on the county's data dashboard. One new COVID-19 death was announced on Saturday, bringing the total to 141.

The gap between positive and negative test results continues to grow in the county. As of Sunday, 73,934 tests were performed throughout the county, 3.7% returned positive. A majority of the tests — 70,804 (or 95.7%) — returned negative results and 354 are pending results.

The latest hospital data shows 52 people are hospitalized with suspected or confirmed cases as of Wednesday.

San Mateo County on Sunday reported 23 more cases of COVID-19, bringing its total to 2,165. The total number of deaths remains at 84. Forty-seven people were hospitalized as of Saturday.

Stanford preparing to reopen Dish hiking area

Stanford University aims to reopen the Stanford Dish in early July, according to a post on the university's website. The popular hiking and walking area has been temporarily closed since April 3 due to a "persistent minority" of people not complying with public health and safety measures.

To comply with Santa Clara County health orders and promote physical distancing, the university is adding a new pedestrian access gate at Stanford Avenue where crews are also adding new striping and installing temporary signs throughout the area. The university is also smoothing out areas near the path to give visitors more room to pass.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 29

Santa Clara County has recorded 2,707 cases of the coronavirus as of Friday, 14 of which were new cases, according to data posted Friday on the county's data dashboard. There was no change to the county's total of COVID-19 deaths, which has stood at 140 since Wednesday.

The latest hospital data shows 52 people are hospitalized with suspected or confirmed cases as of Wednesday.

The gap between positive and negative test results continues to grow in the county. As of Friday, 71,037 tests were performed throughout the county, 3.8% returned positive. A majority of the tests — 67, 929 (or 956%) — returned negative results and 401 are pending results.

San Mateo County OKs reopening of places of worship, retail

San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow on Friday issued a revised shelter-in-place order effective Monday, June 1, that will allow places of worship to hold services and retail stores to have customers inside with restrictions and safety measures implemented.

The new order also removes prior limitations on access and activities at county beaches. Beaches can operate normally as long as visitors adhere to social distancing and mask guidelines, according to a press release issued Friday.

The move comes after the California Department of Public Health announced Monday that places of worship and in-store retail shopping could reopen statewide with limitations.

Under new guidance, places of worship can hold religious services and funerals that limit attendance to 25% of a building's capacity — or up to 100 attendees, whichever is lower.

The new guidance for religious services and cultural ceremonies encourages institutions to continue online services and activities to protect those who are most at risk for more severe cases of COVID-19, including older adults and people with specific medical conditions.

Organizations wanting to reopen for services and funerals must develop a COVID-19 prevention plan for each location; train staff and evaluate for compliance; implement cleaning and disinfecting protocols; set physical distancing guidelines; recommend that staff and guests wear cloth face coverings; screen staff for temperature and symptoms at the beginning of their shifts; and set parameters or consider eliminating singing and group recitations. San Mateo County also notes that eating and drinking inside places or worship is prohibited, as are after-service gatherings.

New guidance for retailers, which allows in-store shopping and follows previously issued rules for certain counties that advanced their reopenings, now applies statewide. The guidelines require social distancing and health protocols to help reduce the risk for workers and customers. Retail does not include personal services such as hair salons, nail salons and barbershops.

“These modifications seek to increase the immunity of the population slowly and methodically, while minimizing death," Morrow said. "We are trying to keep equity in mind and minimizing economic damage, while not overloading the health care system. The virus continues to circulate in our community, and the increase in interactions among people that these modifications allow is likely to spread the virus at a higher rate."

University, California avenues could close to traffic

Palo Alto's two main thoroughfares, University and California avenues, could be closed to traffic four days a week as soon as Thursday, June 4, allowing restaurants to use the streets to serve diners once permitted to do so by Santa Clara County.

In a Friday message to owners of businesses on the two streets, City Manager Ed Shikada said that the city is anticipating "hopefully soon" an updated health order from the county that will allow for on-site and outdoor dining.

Local restaurant owners up and down the Peninsula have been advocating for street closures to help sustain their businesses as they gradually reopen with restrictions. Cities including Palo Alto, Mountain View, Redwood City, Los Altos, San Carlos and San Mateo are considering closing streets to traffic and giving restaurants more outdoor space to operate.

Palo Alto is looking at closing University Avenue between Waverley Street and Emerson Street, and California Avenue between El Camino Real and Birch Street. The pilot closures would initially run from Thursday mornings through Sunday evenings, starting June 4 or the first Friday after on-site dining is allowed by the Santa Clara County Health Officer through the month of June.

Newsom allows extension of local eviction moratoriums

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order late Friday giving local governments the authority to extend eviction moratoriums for residential and commercial renters through July 28.

Newsom in March signed an executive order granting cities and counties broad authority to impose eviction moratoriums, and that order was set to expire on Sunday, May 31.

On Friday, May 29, the Mountain View City Council voted unanimously to extend its own eviction moratorium through Aug. 31, largely mirroring the county rules but with a few notable exceptions. The city measure covers mobile home renters and mobile home owners who rent space at a mobile home park.

Newsom: Counties can move into Phase 3 of reopening, but none are ready to enter Phase 4

Local health officials can move their counties into Stage 3 of the state's stay-at-home order, which includes loosened restrictions for personal-care facilities such as hair salons and barbershops, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Friday. But the governor stressed that not a single region is anywhere near proceeding to Stage 4, which includes allowing concerts and sports events.

"We're simply not there," Newsom said at a press conference. "There's no sectoral guidance that's been given, there's no authority for local health officials to move into that phase."

So far, most Bay Area counties have not moved into Stage 3 of reopening; however, San Mateo County announced Friday that it will reopen houses of worship and in-store retail services with restrictions.

Newsom also provided a sweeping overview of the state's handling of the pandemic.

California is now conducting more than 50,000 COVID-19 tests per day, Newsom said. More than 1.8 million people have been tested. The governor also said the state is on track to have 10,000 contact tracers trained by July 1.

About 44.3 million procedural masks were delivered to the state over the last two weeks: The social services sector received 12.5 million masks; non-emergency medical sectors received 5.5 million; and public health services received 4.3 million, according to the governor.

Newsom also showed how the pandemic has affected various communities by ethnicity, which can be seen here. Data shows that COVID-19 disproportionately affects black communities as they make up only 6% of the state's population, but have experienced 10.1% of all COVID-19-related deaths so far.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 28

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County's total of coronavirus cases has surpassed 2,700. Of the 2,701 cases reported Thursday, 52 are hospitalized. There was no change to the county's total of deaths, which remains at 140.

One more case in Palo Alto has raised the city's total of cases to 78, which makes up 0.1% of the city population. There was no change Thursday to Mountain View's total, which stands at 59 and represents 0.07% of the city population.

Of the 52 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus, 36 were in acute hospital beds, a nearly 50% reduction from a week earlier, when there were 75 patients in acute beds.

San Mateo County saw 36 more coronavirus cases on Thursday, raising its overall total to 2,061. Two more people have died of the disease, raising the county's total number of deaths to 84, 55 of which were people connected to long-term care facilities. Forty-one people with or suspected with COVID-19 are hospitalized as of Wednesday.

The county has updated its dashboard displaying case totals by city through May 28. East Palo Alto and Menlo Park each of their totals increase by double digits. Here's a list of those totals for communities on the Midpeninsula:

• Atherton: 13 (increase by two from May 21).

• East Palo Alto: 76 (increase by 14 from May 21).

• Menlo Park: 80 (increase by 21 from May 21).

• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10 (no change from May 21).

• Portola Valley: 10 (no change from May 21).

• West Menlo Park: Less than 10 (no change from May 21).

• Woodside: 12 (increase by two from May 21).

State launches hiring effort to process unemployment claims

The state Employment Development Department plans to hire nearly 2,000 temporary full-time and hourly staff members in the coming weeks to hasten the delivery of unemployment benefits to workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The EDD is collaborating with the California Department of Human Resources, the California Highway Patrol and California Correctional Health Care Services to screen, interview and hire about 1,800 state employees.

Those hired will be trained to work in the state's unemployment call centers, process unemployment insurance claims and analyze documents from applicants and their former employers to determine their applicable benefits.

"This urgent hiring effort will further enhance the department's ability to process an unprecedented surge of benefit claims, while offering an opportunity for employment to Californians during this difficult time," EDD Director Sharon Hilliard said.

The EDD currently has about 1,200 regular staff members processing unemployment insurance claims as well as 1,300 state employees who have been redirected to assist the agency in dispersing benefits to the millions across the state who are out of work due to the pandemic.

Since the pandemic began, the state has processed some 5.1 million unemployment claims and dispersed more than $16.1 billion in benefits as of the week of May 10-16.

New hires will have the option to work from home or in office locations throughout the state. Bilingual applicants, particularly those who speak Spanish, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Mandarin, are encouraged to apply.

Applications to work with the EDD can be found and submitted at calcareers.ca.gov.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 27

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 15 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its total to 2,688. One more person has died of COVID-19, raising the number of deaths to 140. Fifty-two people are hospitalized.

Since the pandemic started, the county's test positivity rate has gone below 4%. The county's testing data shows out of a total of 67,694 tests that have been performed, 64,628 returned negative and 378 are pending results.

San Mateo County reported 28 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing its total to 2,022, and no change to its total of deaths, which remains at 82. Fifty-four people were hospitalized as of Tuesday.

The number of Latino/Hispanic residents with COVID-19 — 818 — is nearly double that of other races in the county and makes up 40% of its cumulative cases. Latino/Hispanic residents make up about 24% of the county's total population, according to 2019 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

A total of 458 residents of unknown race had the second-highest total in the county, followed by 339 Asian residents.

Three Santa Clara County inmates test positive for COVID-19

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday announced three new cases of COVID-19 coronavirus among inmates at its jails since last weekend.

The first of the three was an inmate who tested positive Saturday after being arrested on suspicion of numerous felonies on May 9.

He was housed in one of the county Main Jail's nine "14-day separation units" established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Inmates in the units receive daily temperature checks and COVID-19 tests before being able to integrate into the larger jail population, according to the sheriff's office.

There were 24 inmates in the separation unit with the one who tested positive. All were tested for COVID-19 and tested negative, but will remain housed together with a restarted 14-day separation period.

Then on Tuesday, an inmate at the Elmwood Correctional Facility's Minimum Camp tested positive for COVID-19. After showing flu-like symptoms, the inmate was moved to a medical unit with a negative airflow isolation cell and all 29 inmates in the same housing barracks were moved to isolation cells and tested for COVID-19.

The next day, a second inmate from Elmwood's rehoused barracks tested positive and was also moved to a negative airflow isolation cell.

As a precaution, the sheriff's office is in the process of testing all 344 inmates at Elmwood's Minimum Camp as well as employees who have had contact with the inmates, and also has investigators doing contact tracing to determine possible exposures from the inmates who tested positive.

Ensuring internet access for students during pandemic

California will need at least $500 million to ensure all students across the state have internet access and the technology required for at-home education during the COVID-19 pandemic, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said Wednesday.

According to Thurmond, about 600,000 students in California are in need of a computer or tablet and as many as 400,000 students lack internet access at home. Thurmond said the state wouldn't discriminate in reaching that total, whether the funds came from a federal stimulus package or philanthropic internet service providers.

"You can just break it down into small parts," Thurmond said in a Wednesday morning briefing on the so-called "digital divide." "That means 100 companies that make a commitment of at least $5 million to help our students have the success that they need. We can get there in any different way."

Thurmond praised some companies for the steps they have already taken to help students in California secure internet access at home and a computer or a tablet.

In the Bay Area, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey pledged last week to give $10 million to a fundraising campaign organized by the city of Oakland, Oakland Unified School District, Oakland Public Education Fund and the nonprofit organization Tech Exchange to provide internet access and computers to the district's roughly 50,000 students in need.

"We just need to have the commitment from the companies to say that these are all of our California kids and we're going to do everything we need to do to help them," Thurmond said.

Thurmond maintained that he expects the state's public schools to reopen for in-person classes in August and September with health and safety modifications like the use of face coverings, smaller class sizes and increased distance between desks to prevent the spread of the virus.

The state's Department of Education plans to announce its school reopening plans in early June, according to Thurmond.

"We've got 10,000 schools (in California)," Thurmond said of the state's re-opening guidance. "There is no one size fits all. ... (W)e've actually been talking with school districts about the guidance so that we can calibrate it with the work that they're doing, with the plans that they're making so that we also can address questions that they have."

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 26

Latest COVID-19 statistics

On Tuesday, 24 new cases of the coronavirus were reported in Santa Clara County, which has a cumulative total of 2,675 cases, 54 of which are hospitalized.

The number of deaths stands at 139, which remains unchanged since Saturday, 59 (or 42%) of which are from long-term care facilities.

San Mateo County on Tuesday reported 35 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its total to 1,963. The total number of deaths remains at 82. Fifty-seven people are hospitalized as of Monday.

The gap is growing in cases between females and males. As of Tuesday, the county reported 1,038 females and 925 males have the coronavirus, which is a difference of 113. About a week earlier, the difference was 97.

Most counties can reopen barbershops and hair salons

A majority of counties in California will be able to reopen barbershops and hair salons, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Newsom said that 47 out of 50 counties in California can now add barbershops and hair salons to the list of businesses that can reopen in their stay-at-home modifications. Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, which have stricter stay-at-home orders, have not announced whether they will be among those reopening these businesses.

Some of the guidelines for reopening these businesses include asking customers if they are showing any flu-like symptoms before making an appointment, requiring employees and customers to wear masks and disinfecting all tools.

Despite the looser restrictions, Newsom was emphatic that the state is still in the thick of the pandemic.

"We're not even out of the first wave of this pandemic," Newsom said. "People are talking about the second wave — that's many, many months off."

New guidelines for summer camps and child care facilities will be announced on Wednesday.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: May 23-25

Latest COVID-19 statistics

As of Monday, San Mateo County reported 1,904 cumulative cases of COVID-19, six of which are new. Fifty-two people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

Six more deaths since Friday have brought the total number of deaths to 82. White residents make up more than half of the total with 52. The county's data shows a combined total of 30 Asian, Black, and Latino/Hispanic residents who have died of the disease.

On Monday, Santa Clara County had 36 new cases, totaling 2,652. There was no change to the county's total number of deaths, which remains at 139.

Palo Alto has 77 cases of COVID-19, which translates to 0.1% of the city population. Mountain View has 57 cases, which make up 0.07% of the city population.

As of Monday, 54 people were hospitalized with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Nineteen of those patients are in intensive care unit beds, which is 26 fewer coronavirus patients a week earlier.

Santa Clara County adds test sites

Santa Clara County announced on Monday that it is launching or expanding six new test locations for free COVID-19 tests. The locations were chosen based on data showing a higher incidence of infection in these areas, the county said in a statement.

"The County is bringing testing capacity to where it's needed. Please take advantage of this opportunity to get tested in your neighborhood: it's fast, free and you don’t need insurance," Cindy Chavez, president of the county Board of Supervisors, said in a May 25 statement.

The county has also set parameters for how often people should be tested. Essential workers with regular interaction with the public should be tested now and once every month thereafter. People in this group include grocery store clerks, food delivery workers, retail associates, first responders and many other types of workers. The county recommends that these frontline workers get tested even if they have no symptoms at all. People can also be tested through their regular doctor.

The county and city of Mountain View launched mobile testing services this week at Rengstorff Park, one of the areas of highest need, according to Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga.

The public can walk up to the site and receive a test without an appointment. Insurance and a doctor’s note are not required.

Here's a schedule for the county's pop-up test sites:

• Monday, May 25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Wednesday, May 27, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Rengstorff Park Pool Area, 201 S. Rengstorff Ave., Mountain View.

• Friday, May 29, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at La Placita Tropicana Shopping Center parking lot, 1630 Story Road, San Jose.

Drive-thru test sites are available daily at four existing county health system locations in Milpitas, Morgan Hill and San Jose.

The public can visit the sites by making an appointment online through sccfreetest.org or over the phone at 888-334-1000.

Drive-thru sites are located at:

• 1325 E. Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas (location subject to change).

• 18550 De Paul Drive, Morgan Hill.

• 777. E Santa Clara St., San Jose.

• 1993 McKee Road, San Jose.

With the addition of these six sites, there are now at least 46 sites throughout the county offering COVID-19 viral detection testing. All new and expanded test sites and additional sites operated by other organizations are mapped on the county's website. The site is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Tagalog. Information is also available by calling 211.

San Mateo County houses homeless through state funds

Ninety homeless people considered at high risk have been sheltered at a San Mateo County hotel as part of the county's efforts to stem the spread of novel coronavirus among vulnerable populations.

The county project known as Bayfront Station leases a block of rooms at an undisclosed hotel in the county for homeless people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms, but are categorized as high risk under federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

The county has been granted $750,000 in funding from the California Department of Social Services as part of Project Roomkey, a statewide initiative by Gov. Gavin Newsom to provide non-congregate shelter to high-risk homeless people during the pandemic.

"The County of San Mateo is committed to offering and expanding shelter and housing to our homeless residents who want it," County Manager Mike Callagy said in a statement issued Thursday. "We are grateful of this funding from the state to support the mission of Project Roomkey and the county's commitment to protecting the entire community while we are required to shelter in place."

People placed in the rooms are expected to stay as long as the shelter order remains active and are expected to observe safety protocols such as physical distancing and wearing face coverings when needed.

Occupants are provided with three meals a day, the same as the county provides for those in its shelter program.

Bayfront Station is staffed through a contract with Samaritan House, a nonprofit organization that provides safety net services to low income residents of the county.

"This critical funding will allow our partnership with Samaritan House and the hotel operator to continue moving forward during this crisis," said county Human Services Agency Director Ken Cole.

The county said another portion of the Project Roomkey funds could be used to expand shelter capacity and implement additional protocols at facilities, as well as conduct outreach to those who remain unsheltered.

Newsom announces statewide COVID-19 contact tracing campaign

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced the launch of a public awareness campaign for the state's COVID-19 case investigation program.

The state launched a partnership with the University of California at San Francisco and UCLA earlier this month to begin training thousands of coronavirus contact tracers that will attempt to limit the spread of the virus in real time.

The "California Connected" public awareness campaign — which will include radio and social media ads, billboards and videos in multiple languages — is intended to get state residents to "answer the call" when their local public health department reaches out to recruit them as a contact tracer, according to Newsom.

"That simple action of answering the call could save lives and help keep our families and communities healthy," Newsom said.

Newsom has said the state hopes to train roughly 20,000 contact tracers by the first week of July through the partnership program and disperse them throughout the state's 58 counties. The state has received some $5.1 million in private financial support to spur the California Connected campaign and reach the 20,000-tracer goal.

The state's 58 counties and three cities with separate health departments have roughly 3,000 contact tracers already in the field, according to Newsom. More than 500 have already been trained through the state's program as well, with another 300 scheduled to complete the 20-hour training course this week.

"We are bringing together the best minds in public health, academia and private industry to design a program that can help lower the risk for COVID-19 in all of our communities and keep us on the path to reopening," California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell said.

Information on the state's contact tracing program can be found at covid19.ca.gov/contact-tracing.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 22

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 26 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing its total to 2,546, an increase by 33 from Thursday. The number of deaths remains at 138 deaths. Ninety-six people were hospitalized as of Friday, a decrease by four from Thursday.

Palo Alto has 78 cases, a rate of 116 cases per 100,000 residents. Its total makes up 0.2% of the city population. Mountain View has 56 cases, which reveals a rate of 69 cases per 100,000 residents. Its total makes up 0.07% of the city population.

Reopening congregations

State guidelines for reopening houses of worship will be released on Monday, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

At the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, Newsom said on Friday that a guideline for congregations of all sizes will be released. The governor's announcement comes as President Donald Trump deemed religious institutions "essential" hours before Newsom's press briefing, calling on governors to open them "right now."

Newsom said that he expects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to also issue guidelines on congregations later in the day on Friday.

As counties move forward with the phased reopening of businesses, Newsom also briefly noted that he expects hair salons and barbershops to welcome customers again in the coming days. So far, 43 out of the 50 state's counties have filed attestation forms, which outline COVID-19 containment and protection plans, and have been approved to move further into Phase 2 of the stay-at-home order modifications, Newsom said.

No Bay Area counties except for Napa County have received the state's clearance to move deeper into Phase 2, according to the state Department of Public Health's website.

Testing continues to ramp up across California. The state now averages around 45,000 tests a day, while the positivity rate holds steady at 4.1% over the last seven days, Newsom said.

The number of hospitalizations and intensive care unit patients have remained stable. Over the past two weeks, hospitalizations were down 7.5% and ICU numbers were down 6.1%, according to Newsom.

New COVID-19 test site opens

Hundreds of people have registered to receive a free coronavirus test at a new site at the Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto Family YMCA. The Bell Street location began operating on May 22 and will continue to provide tests on Saturday, May 23.

All appointments have been booked for both days. More than 250 people signed up for a test on Friday and over 300 people have registered for Saturday, according to a city press release.

The site, operated by Verily, will be available to the public on May 29 and 30. Appointments can be made here.

More information on the test site can be found here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 21

Santa Clara County called on residents Thursday to volunteer for its COVID-19 coronavirus contact tracing team with a goal of getting at least 1,000 tracers.

About 50 county employees are already working to trace the contacts of coronavirus patients to stop the virus' spread as early as possible. A contact tracing force of more than 1,000 people would allow the county to reach its tracing goal of 21,000 contacts per week, according to county public health officials.

"It's not just enough to have your county employees doing this work," county Assistant Health Officer Dr. Sarah Rudman said. "We need members of the community, especially those of you who speak other languages like Spanish and Vietnamese, to come work with us and help with this case investigation and contact tracing."

Volunteers can complete contact tracing and case investigation work from home, according to the county, as long as they have a stable internet connection, access to a computer and private area to make phone calls to patients and their potential contacts.

The county is seeking volunteers who can investigate cases between 24 and 40 hours per week for at least three months. Volunteers should also have strong writing, communication and data entry skills.

"The county must build a strong and robust contact tracing team to prepare for an expected increase in COVID-19 cases as some of our shelter-in-place orders are loosened," county Supervisor Dave Cortese said in a statement. "Thank you in advance to those who will give the time and effort to help fill this critical role."

Residents can apply to be contact tracing volunteers at sccgov.org/icanhelp.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 100 people hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Thursday, an increase by 21 from Wednesday and the highest number of patients hospitalized so far this week.

Santa Clara County did not release an update on the total of coronavirus cases and deaths in the county on Thursday due to technical issues.

San Mateo County recorded a total of 1,783 COVID-19 cases and 76 total deaths on Thursday, up from 1,738 cases and 75 deaths on Wednesday. Seventy-four people are hospitalized as of Wednesday, an increase by three from Tuesday.

The county has updated its dashboard displaying case totals by city through May 21. Here's a list of those totals for communities on the Midpeninsula:

• Atherton: 11 (decrease by one from May 14).

• East Palo Alto: 62 (increase by six from May 14).

• Menlo Park: 59 (increase by four from May 14).

• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10 (no change from May 14).

• Portola Valley: 10 (no change from May 14).

• West Menlo Park: Less than 10 (no change from May 14).

• Woodside: 10 (no change from May 14).

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 20

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County's total of coronavirus cases is inching closer to the 2,500 mark. Out of its 2,492 cases reported on Wednesday, 79 people are hospitalized. One more person has died of the disease, raising its total number of deaths to 138.

Hispanic residents account for the most COVID-19 cases in the county, according to the data, which breaks down cases by race/ethnicity. This group, which represents 26% of the county's population, makes up about 970 (or 39%) of the county's 2,492 cases.

Forty-eight new cases were reported Wednesday in San Mateo County, where the total rose from 1,690 to 1,738. The jump is the highest recorded in the county since April 3, when 78 new cases were recorded, according to county data.

Of the total 1,738 cases, 71 are hospitalized, an increase by 11 from Tuesday. The county's number of deaths remains at 75.

Santa Clara County opens new COVID-19 test sites

COVID-19 tests are now available to all Santa Clara County residents at two new locations in San Jose, county and city officials said Wednesday.

Verily Life Sciences, the life science research arm of Alphabet Inc., will offer free testing to all county residents, even if they don't have symptoms or health insurance, at Police Athletic League Stadium at 680 S. 34th St. and the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds at 344 Tully Road.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez implored residents to get tested as soon as they can as the county seeks to reach an average of 4,000 tests per day. Chavez also said that local officials can and will help residents who struggle to sign up for testing due to obstacles like language barriers.

Patients can self-administer the test in their vehicle by using a smaller swab similar to a Q-tip to swipe the inside of each nostril for 10 seconds. The entire testing process can be completed in as little as three minutes, according to Verily.

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 19

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County has 2,483 cases of the new coronavirus and 137 deaths from the disease as of Tuesday, an increase by 30 and two, respectively, from the previous day.

Palo Alto's total of cases went up by two to 77, a rate of 115 cases per 100,000 residents. Mountain View saw no change to its total since Monday. The city has 55 COVID-19 cases, a rate of 68 per 100,000 people.

The county has recorded 82 people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in the hospital as of Tuesday, 18 fewer patients than the week before. Of the 82 patients, 25 are in intensive care beds, which is nine fewer patients than the week before.

Palo Alto Commons was among the seven long-term care facilities in the county that reported a case over the past 14 days. On Friday, the county dashboard had reported zero cases among residents on Friday, which has since changed to less than 11 cases as of Tuesday. The assisted living community saw no change to its number of cases among staff members, which remains at less than 11, over the past five days.

San Mateo County has reported 1,697 coronavirus cases as of Tuesday, an increase by nine from Monday. The number of deaths remains at 75. Sixty people with COVID-19 are hospitalized, 15 of whom are in intensive care.

County data shows 660 Latino/Hispanic residents are infected with COVID-19, making up nearly 40% of the total cases. This group represents 0.09% of the county's population.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 18

Book shops, clothing stores and other businesses in Santa Clara County that allow storefront pickup can start reopening Friday, provided they can limit their employee count and demonstrate their compliance with social-distancing rules, county leaders announced Monday.

Any retailers that can provide curbside service will have to limit their employee count to one employee per 300 square feet of space, under the new order. In addition, they will have to fill out a new five-page protocol sheet, detailing what they have done to prevent coronavirus transmission.

With the amended order, Santa Clara County joined the wave of Bay Area counties beginning the transition into the second phase of reopening of the economy, consistent with recent guidance from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The Monday order represents the county's first easing of shelter-in-place restrictions since May 4, when construction work was permitted to resume and gardeners were allowed to go back to work. In the two weeks since then, the county has not seen an increase in cases, suggesting that it is safe to further relax the shelter-in-place restrictions that had been in effect since March 17.

The order also allows car parades, as well as the reopening of outdoor museums, outdoor historical sites and publicly accessible gardens.

New criteria allow more counties to modify stay-at-home orders

More California counties will likely be able to move into Stage 2 of the state's stay-at-home order under loosened reopening criteria announced on Monday.

At a restaurant in Napa County, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that about 53 out of the state's 58 counties are expected to meet new requirements needed to make modifications to the stay-at-home order.

Counties can move into Stage 2 if the number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients does not increase more than 5% over seven days. Smaller counties will have to show fewer than 20 hospitalizations on any given day for two weeks.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of California Health and Human Services, said that counties also must either show no more than 25 positive cases per 100,000 residents in a 14-day period or show a positive test rate of less than 8%. Reopening criteria previously required counties to show no more than one COVID-19 case per 10,000 residents over a 14-day period.

According to the state Department of Public Health's website, 23 counties outside of the Bay Area already have met "readiness criteria" to move into Stage 2 of reopening. The governor did not list the five counties that may not be ready to reopen under the new criteria, but cited Los Angeles County as one example of a region that may not be able to move as quickly as others.

On Monday, Santa Clara County amended its health order to lift the ban on car parades, allow curbside pickup at retail stores and reopen outdoor facilities. San Mateo County updated its order on Friday.

Newsom said California has seen a 7.5% decrease in hospitalizations and an 8.7% decrease in patients admitted to intensive-care units over the past two weeks, two key criteria for determining whether the state is ready to move forward within Stage 2.

Newsom said testing capacity and personal protective equipment inventory also have substantially increased. About 1.3 million COVID-19 tests have been conducted so far, with around 57,000 tested in the past 24 hours, according to Newsom. The governor also said the state now has 56.1 million masks.

If the current trends continue, Newsom said that the state could be weeks away from allowing in-store retail shopping (not just curbside pickup) and the reopening of hair salons, worship facilities and professional sporting events without spectators.

Latest COVID-19 statistics

Santa Clara County reported 2,470 cases and 135 deaths on Monday, up from 2,441 cases on Sunday, with no additional deaths. Ninety people are hospitalized.

Palo Alto has had 75 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, a rate of 112 per 100,000 residents. Mountain View has had 55 COVID-19 cases, a rate of 68 per 100,000 people.

As of Monday, San Mateo County reported 1,677 cases of COVID-19 and 75 deaths, up from 1,669 cases and 66 deaths on Sunday. Fifty-five people are hospitalized as of Sunday.

East Palo Alto and Menlo Park each saw their total of confirmed cases rise within a week, according to the county's COVID-19 cases by city chart last updated on Friday.

As of May 14, East Palo has 56 confirmed cases, a rate of 18.9 cases per 10,000 residents. The city had 51 confirmed cases on May 7. Menlo Park saw its total rise by four to 59, a rate of 17.4 cases per 10,000 residents.

Palo Alto to open parking lots at preserves

The city of Palo Alto, which closed parking lots at open space preserves in late March due to crowding, plans to open them later this month. Parking at the Baylands and Foothills Park is currently allowed during the weekdays and will be permitted on weekends starting on May 30. Vehicles will be able to park at Arastradero Preserve as of May 23. Currently, only people who are walking or cycling can get to the preserve.

All Palo Alto parks, athletic fields, the skatepark, tennis courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts, and the Baylands Golf Course are currently open. Modifications at the parks are in place to ensure visitor safety. Drinking fountains, and picnic and barbecue areas, playgrounds, dog parks, and outdoor gym equipment remain closed.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 16-17

Santa Clara County could permit car parades

Santa Clara County officials are looking into the idea of allowing car parades and drive-through celebrations, potentially ending a public health prohibition in time for graduation ceremonies and other festivities.

When asked during a virtual town hall meeting on Sunday, Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams said the county is looking into the possibility of expanding the types of travel permitted under the county's shelter order, giving more flexibility for schools to conduct drive-through graduation ceremonies and other motorcade-type celebrations.

Williams acknowledged that these types of activities carry a lower level of risk due to the inherent social distancing.

New San Mateo County order to allow curbside retail pickup:

San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow on Friday, May 15, amended his prior shelter-in-place health order to allow the reopening of additional businesses, starting on Monday, May 18, an action that aligns the county with the state's early Stage 2 reopening plan.

Under the revised health order, retail stores can offer curbside or outside pickup only, with certain restrictions. That means bookstores, jewelry stores, toy stores, clothing and shoe stores, home and furnishing stores, sporting goods stores and florists can reopen with safety protocols in place.

The order allows lower-risk businesses to restart their services, including car washes, pet groomers, dog-walking services, residential and janitorial cleaning companies and appliance repair outfits.

Outdoor museums with outdoor exhibits can also reopen, with customers wearing face coverings at all times. No customers may enter indoor spaces such as gift shops or exhibit rooms.

Offices in which employees cannot conduct business from home are also allowed to restart under the amended order. These businesses must minimize contact with members of the public, may not conduct indoor person-to-person commercial activity and must follow social distancing and face-covering requirements at all times.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 15

A total of 473 cases have originated from 35 long-term care facilities in Santa Clara County; 83 of those people have been or are hospitalized and 56 died. The county is now naming the facilities that have reported at least one case since the pandemic began. Here's a list of those facilities in Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos:

Palo Alto

• Channing House: 0 residents, less than 11 staff

• Lytton Gardens Health Care: less than 11 residents, 0 staff

• Palo Alto Commons: 0 residents, less than 11 staff

• Palo Alto Sub-Acute And Rehabilitation Center: 0 residents, less than 11 staff

• Vi At Palo Alto: 11 residents, less than 11 staff

Mountain View

• Grant Cuesta Sub-Acute and Rehabilitation Center: less than 11 residents, 0 staff

• Mountain View Health Care Center: less than 11 residents, less than 11 staff

Los Altos

• Bridge Point at Los Altos: less than 11 residents, less than 11 staff

• Los Altos Sub-Acute & Rehab Center: less than 11 residents, less than 11 staff

The numbers above are cumulative. In the past 28 days, only the following facilities reported at least one case: Palo Alto Commons and Palo Alto Sub-Acute And Rehabilitation Center.

As of Friday, 91 people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases are hospitalized in the county. Sixty-four are in acute hospital beds and 27 are in intensive care unit beds, according to data from the California Department of Public Health. Another 984 acute beds and 220 ICU beds are occupied by other patients, leaving 876 and 180, respectively, available.

Four of 1,231 surge beds and 106 of 896 ventilators are in active use throughout the county, regardless of whether the patient has the new coronavirus.

A total of 47,267 COVID-19 tests have been performed as of May 15, 2,403 of which returned positive, 44,639 of which returned negative and 225 of which are pending results. The county's test positivity rate stands at 5.1% and results turn around in 1.6 days on average.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 14

Education, health care face deep cuts in proposed state budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his revised state budget proposal Thursday, with deep cuts in education and health care funding as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $203.3 billion budget is nearly $20 billion less than Newsom's initial budget proposal in January and includes about $6 billion in eliminated plans to expand programs like Medi-Cal, prompted by a roughly 25% drop in sales, personal income and corporate tax revenue.

According to Newsom, the state is saddled with a projected $54.3 billion budget deficit that it must balance over the next year while confronting an ever-mounting loss of tax revenue and an unemployment rate that state officials expect to peak at more than 24.5%.

"This is a multiyear responsibility," Newsom said. "We can't solve everything overnight without catastrophic cuts that are simply too much to bear."

Significant funding expansions included in the January proposal such as extending Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented people living in the state and pouring funding into the state's education system are absent from Thursday's revised proposal.

Newsom said the state plans to use about $4.4 billion in discretionary funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to maintain education spending at current levels with adjustments for factors like inflation.

Newsom's proposal calls for the state to pull from multiple funding reserves and surpluses to partially pay down the deficit, including using the entirety of the state's $16.2 billion funding reserve over the next three years, using $7.8 billion during the 2020-2021 fiscal year, $5.4 billion the following year and the remaining $2.9 billion the year after that.

The proposal also asks to use half of a $900 million safety net reserve and the entire $524 million surplus of the state's Proposition 98 fund. All told, the state would pull about $8.8 billion from its reserves in the 2020-2021 fiscal year to pay down the deficit.

Newsom said that at least part of the remaining $45.5 billion will hinge on the next federal stimulus package and how much aid is included for insolvent cities, counties and states. He also noted that some of the spending reductions and cuts outlined in the budget will be eliminated if the state receives enough federal funding support.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has proposed $900 billion in federal support for local and state governments as part of a new $3 trillion stimulus package, which Newsom praised.

"The federal government has a moral and ethical and economic obligation to help support the states," Newsom said. "After all, what is the point of government if not to protect people, their safety and the well-being of citizens?"

The state Legislature must debate the proposal over the next month and approve a state budget by June 15, as outlined in the state Constitution.

New efforts launched to expand testing

A new Santa Clara County COVID-19 testing task force rolled out plans on Thursday to start testing more widely for the coronavirus. Read more here.

Also, starting this week, certain individuals who do not have COVID-19 symptoms will be able to get tested, thanks to new efforts to broaden access by San Mateo and Santa Clara counties and Stanford Health Care. Read more here.

New COVID-19 cases, deaths

Santa Clara County's total of people with the coronavirus climbed to 2,391 on Thursday, 84 of whom are hospitalized and 134 of whom have died.

The number of deaths climbed up by two from Wednesday. Of the total, 80 were men and 54 were women.

Palo Alto's total of cases rose to 75 on Thursday, making up 0.1% of the city population. Mountain View's total of cases also went up to 51, which represents 0.06% of the city population San Jose's total is now 1,582, the highest across all 15 cities in the county. Its total represents 0.2% of the city population. The county is also providing case totals by ZIP code, which can be found here.

Of the 84 people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 56 are in acute hospital beds and 29 are in intensive care unit beds. Patients without the virus have taken up 967 acute beds and 222 ICU beds, leaving 886 and 171, respectively, available.

Four of 1,231 ventilators and 110 of 896 ventilators are active throughout the county, according to data provided by the California Department of Public Health, which doesn't specify how many of those resources are being utilized by COVID-19 patients.

Out of 45,113 tests for the new coronavirus, there were 2,391 with positive results, 42,509 with negative results and 213 tests pending results. The county's test positivity rate stands at 5.3% and the average turnaround time for results slightly rose to 1.9 days.

The county's 34 long-term care facilities have reported 447 cases, 59 of which are hospitalized and 54 of which have died.

In San Mateo County, the total of coronavirus cases stands at 1,575 as of Thursday, 836 of which are female and 739 of which are male. The total number of deaths rose by one to 66, which divides to 35 women and 31 men.

Of the 69 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, 19 are in ICU. Twenty-nine patients without the virus have also occupied ICU beds, leaving 38 available.

Eight of 298 surge beds and 19 of 289 ventilators are in use throughout the county, regardless of whether the patient has the new coronavirus, according to data from the state Department of Public Health.

As of Wednesday, the county's 20 long-term care facilities reported 332 cases, 80 of which are hospitalized and 44 of which have died.

The county has updated its dashboard displaying case totals by city through May 14. Here's a list of those totals for communities on the Midpeninsula:

• Atherton: 12.

• East Palo Alto: 56.

• Menlo Park: 59.

• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10.

• Portola Valley: Less than 10.

• West Menlo Park: Less than 10.

• Woodside: Less than 10.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 13

Santa Clara County's total of coronavirus cases is close to the 2,400 mark as of Wednesday. The county has a total of 2,381 cases, 100 of which are hospitalized, and tallied 132 deaths from the disease.

The county added two more deaths to ist total on Wednesday. Of its 132 deaths, 53 were women and 79 were men. Case totals by city weren't posted for May 13.

Of the 100 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 63 are in acute hospital beds and 34 are in intensive care unit beds. Another 912 acute beds and 209 ICU beds are taken up by patients without the virus, leaving 926 acute beds and 209 ICU beds available.

Four of 1,231 surge beds and 109 of 886 ventilators are in use throughout the county, according to data from the California Department of Public Health, which doesn't state how many of those resources are being used by COVID-19 patients.

A total of 43,572 people have undergone tests for COVID-19, 2,381 of which had positive results, 40,975 of which had negative results and 216 of which are pending results. The county's test positivity rate stands at 5.5% and results turn around in 1.6 days on average.

The county's 34 long-term care facilities have reported 446 cases, making up 18% of the county's overall total. Fifty-nine of those cases have been hospitalized and 53 have died.

San Mateo County recorded 1,536 total coronavirus cases on Wednesday. Of the total, 815 are female and 721 are male. The number of deaths, 65, breaks down to 34 women and 31 men.

The number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases rose by 14 since Tuesday. Of the 63 patients, 20 are in ICU. Thirty-one patients without the virus have also occupied ICU beds, leaving 35 more available in the county. Eight of 298 surge beds and 17 of 290 ventilators are being used throughout the county, regardless of whether the patient has the new coronavirus.

San Mateo County expected to enter second phase of stay-at-home order

San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow intends to issue a new shelter-in-place order effective Monday, May 18, that would bring the county in line with the early second-phase guidelines recently issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to a press release Wednesday morning.

The second phase allows for retail curbside pickup and delivery. According to the press release, "logistics and manufacturing, along with some other businesses, can open with modifications."

Morrow expects to release the updated order later this week.

"I am encouraged that data about COVID-19 cases, hospital capacity, and other indicators show some stability so that San Mateo County can now enter the early stages of Phase 2," Morrow said in a statement.

"I want to remind everyone these modifications are not being made because it is safe to be out and about," he added. "The virus continues to circulate in our community, and this increase in interactions among people is likely to spread the virus at a higher rate. Whether these modifications allow the virus to spread out of control, as we saw in February and March and resulted in the first shelter in place order, is yet to be seen. The social distancing and face covering directives, along with the prohibition on gathering, will remain in place since the risk of exposure to COVID-19 looms large for all of us."

Ten counties move further within Stage 2 of reopening the economy

Ten counties outside of the Bay Area have now met the criteria to move deeper within Stage 2 of California's roadmap to modify stay-at-home orders.

During a Wednesday press conference at a fire station in El Dorado County, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that these counties, through "self-attestation," were able to move forward within the state's current phase of the modified stay-at-home order.

According to the state Public Health Department's website, shopping malls, swap meets, dine-in restaurants and schools can reopen with modifications.

In addition, Newsom said his office recently submitted revisions to his budget proposal in order to prepare for this year's wildfire season in the midst of a pandemic. Further details on the budget changes will be revealed Thursday.

"Just this last week, 246 wildfires have occurred here in the state of California," Newsom said. "From January to May 10 this year we've had 1,135 wildfires, (which) represents roughly a 60% increase this year compared to last year."

The revised budget will help create a new Wildfire Safety Division with the Public Utilities Commission to monitor investor-owned utilities such as PG&E, support surge staffing for Cal Fire and help the Offices of Emergency Services monitor natural disasters such as earthquakes and wildfires.

Providing a preview of what's expected Thursday, Newsom said his office will recommend a $85.7 million budget increase for Cal Fire, $127 million allocation towards the Office of Emergency Services and $39.2 million for disaster relief.

Stanford commencement going virtual

Stanford University will hold a virtual commencement ceremony in June, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne told graduates in an email on Wednesday.

The livestreamed event on Sunday, June 14, will highlight digital submissions from undergraduate and graduates in the Class of 2020, such as photos, video and stories, which he invited students to send in. The virtual ceremony will acknowledge "the unusual circumstances," Tessier-Lavigne wrote, and "it will not replicate or replace a traditional commencement ceremony."

Stanford is still committed to holding an in-person commencement when public health restrictions allow for such gatherings, he said.

"I look forward to honoring all that you have achieved, and to thanking your family members and friends for their support and encouragement," Tessier-Lavigne wrote. "I can't wait to celebrate with you, both in June and when we meet again in person."

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 12

Santa Clara County saw its total of coronavirus cases rise to 2,364, 100 of which are hospitalized, and its number of deaths climb to 130 on Tuesday.

The total of cases is nearly evenly split between females and males. Here's a breakdown of cases by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 102.

• 21 to 30 years old: 287.

• 31 to 40 years old: 405.

• 41 to 50 years old: 404.

• 51 to 60 years old: 415.

• 61 to 70 years old: 307.

• 71 to 80 years old: 231.

• 81 to 90 years old: 131.

• 91 years old or over: 70.

• Unknown: 12.

The latest data also shows no change to Palo Alto's total of cases, 73, which represents 0.1% of the city's population. Mountain View has 49 cases, which represents 0.06% of the city's population. At 1,560, San Jose has the most cases in the county. Its total represents 0.1% of the city's population.

The county's total of deaths breaks down to 76 men and 54 women. When it came to pre-existing conditions, 88.5% of the deceased had one or more, 6.4% were unknown and 5.4% had none. Here's a breakdown by age group.

• 31 to 40 years old: 4.

• 41 to 50 years old: 5.

• 51 to 60 years old: 16.

• 61 to 70 years old: 22.

• 71 to 80 years old: 36.

• 81 to 90 years old: 27.

• 91 years old or over: 19.

• Unknown: 1.

Asian and Latinx/Hispanic residents topped the lists of cases and deaths by race. Here's a full breakdown of the cases by race in descending order:

• Latinx/Hispanic: 38%.

• Asian/Pacific Islander: 22%.

• White: 18%.

• Unknown: 16%.

• Other: 4%.

• African American: 2%.

Here's a full breakdown of deaths by race in descending order:

• Latinx/Hispanic: 33.9%.

• Asian: 32.3%.

• White: 26.2%.

• African American: 6.2%.

• Other: 1.5%.

• Unknown: 0%.

Of the 100 people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 63 are in acute hospital beds and 34 are in intensive care beds. Another 912 acute beds and 209 ICU beds are occupied by patients without the virus, leaving 926 and 179, respectively, available.

Four of 1,231 surge beds and 109 of 886 ventilators are being used throughout the county, according to data from the state Department of Public Health, which doesn't state how many COVID-19 patients are using the resources.

Out of 42,720 tests performed for the new coronavirus, 2,364 returned positive, 40,131 returned negative and 225 are pending results. The county's test positivity rate stands at 5.5% test positivity rate and results turn around on an average of 1.6 days.

A total of 447 cases originated at 34 long-term care facilities, 59 of which are in the hospital and 52 of which have resulted in death.

San Mateo County has recorded 1,515 coronavirus cases, 49 of which are hospitalized, as of Tuesday. The number of deaths stands at 65.

Its number of cases breaks down to 804 females and 711 males. The number of deaths splits off to 34 women and 31 men.

Of the 49 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 17 are in intensive care unit beds. Another 27 patients without the virus are also in ICU beds, leaving 43 more available.

Nine of 298 surge beds and 16 of 281 ventilators are being used throughout the county, regardless of whether the patient has the new coronavirus.

Tesla may resume production next week

Tesla may open next week following a discussion Tuesday between officials of the company and Alameda County, county officials said.

Tesla submitted a reopening plan Monday to Alameda County public health officials who met with the company Tuesday about safety and prevention.

If Tesla's plan includes additional safety recommendations made by public health officials and public health indicators don't change or improve, Tesla can prepare this week to reopen next week.

Fremont police will be verifying that Tesla is maintaining social distancing and health and safety guidelines for workers.

Public health officials also said that other businesses may be able to begin some activities next week.

On Monday, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk said he was reopening the company's Fremont plant despite public health orders not to. Musk said Monday that if police came to the plant, he would ask them to arrest only him.

State releases restaurant guidelines

Gov. Gavin Newsom released on Tuesday much-anticipated guidance for the reopening of restaurants in counties that meet the state's criteria for reopening in the second phase of the stay-at-home order.

The guidance, which can be superseded by stricter mandates in local jurisdictions, lays out detailed health, sanitation and physical distancing precautions for restaurants, from symptom checks for staff and diners to spacing tables 6 feet apart and using disposable or digital menus.

The state did not mandate specific capacity percentages for restaurants, as was anticipated, but instead said restaurants should adjust their maximum occupancy to limit the number of people inside and ensure tables are 6 feet apart.

Under the guidance, any seating where customers cannot maintain 6 feet of distance from employees' work and food and drink preparation areas should be closed.

State records over 1 million COVID-19 tests

More than 1 million diagnostic tests for the new coronavirus have been performed throughout the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday.

Over the past few days, an average of more than 35,000 tests have been performed on a daily basis, according to a May 12 release from Newsom's office. The governor had previously set a goal of increasing testing levels to 25,000 a day by the end of April.

"Ramping up our testing capacity is critical as we begin modifying our stay at home order," Newsom said in the release. "In addition to standing up more than 80 new testing sites across the state in under-served communities, soon Californians will be able to get tested when they pick up their prescriptions at some pharmacies across the state."

Two of the more than 80 testing sites are in south Santa Clara County.

Pharmacists can now gather specimens for COVID-19 tests and order tests for customers, Newsom announced Tuesday. The specimens will be sent to public health, university and commercial labs for processing.

The state has also launched a new "Medi-Nurse" line for Medi-Cal patients who don't have a health plan and state residents without health insurance. The 24/7 hotline, which addresses questions surrounding COVID-19 and general medical needs, can be reached at 877-409-9052.

Community colleges file suit against feds

California community colleges, including the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, filed a lawsuit Monday alleging the U.S. Department of Education has placed "arbitrary eligibility restrictions" on relief funds Congress approved to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus, likely leaving hundreds of thousands of students without access to federal emergency assistance.

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco to declare the Department of Education’s eligibility requirements for emergency grants to students under the CARES Act unlawful and unconstitutional and to stop their implementation.

"The Department of Education ignored the intent of the CARES Act to give local colleges discretion to aid students most affected by the pandemic, and instead has arbitrarily excluded as many as 800,000 community college students. Among those harmed are veterans, citizens who have not completed a federal financial aid application, and non-citizens, including those with DACA status," California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said in a statement issued Tuesday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 11

Santa Clara County recorded 2,341 coronavirus cases and 129 deaths from the disease on Monday.

The number of cases by gender are almost evenly split. Monday marked the second consecutive day the county saw no new deaths. Of the 129 people who have died, 75 were men and 54 were women.

Of the 102 people confirmed with COVID-19 or suspected of having the disease, 65 are in acute hospital beds and 33 are in intensive care unit beds. Another 1,002 acute beds and 220 ICU beds are occupied by patients without the virus, leaving 827 and 172, respectively, available as needed.

The county's hospital data shows four of 1,231 surge beds and 107 of 886 ventilators are in use, but doesn't state how many COVID-19 patients are using those resources.

Of the 41,750 COVID-19 tests recorded on Monday, 2,341 returned positive, 39,184 returned negative and 225 are pending results. The county's test positivity rate has gone down to 5.6% and results turn around on an average of 1.6 days.

The number of cases by city shows Palo Alto has 73, representing 0.1% of the city population, and Mountain View has 49 cases, representing 0.06% of the city population. San Jose, the most populous city in the county, has the most cases of all 15 county cities. Its 1,544 cases make up 0.1% of the city population.

As of Saturday, 436 of the county's total cases originated at long-term care facilities, 59 of which are hospitalized and 52 of which have resulted in death.

San Mateo County has a total of 1,497 cases of the coronavirus and the death toll rose to 65 on Monday. Of its total cases, 795 are female and 702 are male. Here's a breakdown of the county's total cases by age group:

• 0 to 19 years old: 79.

• 20 to 29 years old: 205.

• 30 to 39 years old: 273.

• 40 to 49 years old: 266.

• 50 to 59 years old: 238.

• 60 to 69 years old: 200.

• 70 to 79 years old: 93.

• 80 to 89 years old: 83.

• 90 years old or over: 60.

Of its total deaths, 34 were women and 31 were men. Here's a breakdown of the county's total deaths by age group:

• 30 to 39 years old: 1.

• 40 to 49 years old: 0.

• 50 to 59 years old: 4.

• 60 to 69 years old: 9.

• 70 to 79 years old: 8.

• 80 to 89 years old: 20.

• 90 years old or over: 23.

Here's a breakdown of the deaths by race/ethnicity:

• White: 44.

• Asian: 12.

• Hispanic: 7.

• Black 2.

As of Sunday, 52 people with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized, 17 of whom are in intensive care. Another 23 patients without the virus are also in ICU, leaving 43 more ICU beds available.

Ten of 298 surge beds and 14 of 276 ventilators are in use throughout the county, according to its hospital dashboard, which doesn't state how much of the resources are being used by COVID-19 patients.

Of its total cases, 280 originated in 18 long-term care facilities, 72 of which are hospitalized and 38 of which have resulted in death as of May 6.

San Mateo County allows car gatherings

San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has issued a new order permitting car gatherings of up to 200 vehicles. The order, which goes into effect Monday, May 11, at 11:59 p.m., is intended to allow schools to perform modified graduation ceremonies.

In a press release, the health department described the permitted gatherings as "highly regulated." It stipulated several criteria, including riders in each car must be members of the same household, riders cannot exit the vehicle except to use the restroom or collect an item such as a diploma, and face masks must be worn if the windows are rolled down.

Riders from only one car at a time can get out of the vehicle.

The events will be considered "essential activities," as will travel to and from the events.

California and other states request $1 trillion federal aid

California has joined four other states to ask the federal government for about $1 trillion in aid, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference on Monday.

State leaders from California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Nevada signed their names to a joint letter that was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Newsom said. The states represented in the letter are part of the Western States Pact, a five-state alliance formed last month to work together to find ways to safely return to normal life during the coronavirus pandemic.

The aid request comes just days after Newsom announced that the state is projecting a $54.3 billion budget deficit. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the state has distributed $13.1 billion in unemployment insurance, including $3.4 billion last week.

"It's not just states asking for bailouts," Newsom said. "Quite the contrary, it's requesting that we support those that we need the most at this time."

The governor also announced that the state distributed 11 million masks on Friday.

A total of 5 million procedural masks were provided to the state's Department of Social Services, in-home support services, child care facilities and other state-run adult and senior facilities. In addition, around 4.2 million masks were distributed to farmworkers, 750,000 masks to grocers and other employees working in the food supply chain, 500,000 masks to the state Department of Education, and "tens of thousands" of masks to transit agencies.

Santa Clara County encourages public to take care of mental health

The Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services Department reminded residents Monday to be aware and take care of their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rachel Talamantez, a senior manager with the Behavioral Health Services Department, said managing and mitigating stress when possible is important not only for mental health but physical and emotional health.

The human body can often manage mild stress, such as getting ready to go to work, and moderate stress without significant long-term effects. However, major stress can lead to trauma and anxiety for some people.

"For some, this has been catastrophic," Talamantez said of the pandemic. "Maybe you've been sick yourself, maybe a loved one has died. That's very significant."

Talamantez said the pandemic has also hampered the fight or flight response that is a common reaction to stress. While it's difficult to escape the pandemic, she said people have used that fight or flight response to come together in a family home.

"Children returning from college and coming home, fleeing the environment they were in to come to an environment that feels safe, that's sort of a harbor, if you will, of connection and support," she said.

For parents and caregivers, Talamantez said it's important to practice self-care in addition to caring for children and families.

"It's a little counterintuitive, you want to put all of your resources into the health and well-being of your children," she said. "But the first thing is you have to make sure that you as the caregiver are well, that you're emotionally balanced, you're healthy, you have support systems and when you're calm, that helps you respond to your children in a calm way."

Talamantez and Behavioral Health Services Department program manager Mego Lien advised residents under major stress during the pandemic to stay connected with family and friends and to avoid social isolation.

People battling stress can also take advantage of the county's mental and behavioral health resources, they said, such as supportive groups and organizations for food scarcity, housing concerns, financial support, physical and behavioral health and substance abuse.

The county has multiple hotlines and other information about mental health resources, all of which can be found at sccgov.org.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 9-10

As of Sunday, Santa Clara County reported 2,339 total confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 95 of which are hospitalized, and 129 deaths caused by the disease.

San Mateo County's data dashboard shows 1,464 COVID-19 cases and 56 deaths as of Sunday. Of the total cases, 58 with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized as of Saturday.

Tesla CEO threatens to move headquarters, plant

Elon Musk, CEO of Palo Alto-based electric automaker Tesla, vented on social media Saturday about Alameda County public health orders preventing Fremont's Tesla plant from resuming production, and threatened to file a lawsuit and move operations to another state.

"Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependent on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA," Musk posted on Twitter.

"Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately."

Musk targeted Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan, who maintained Friday that production at the Tesla plant could not yet resume.

"Tesla knows far more about what needs to be done to be safe through our Tesla China factory experience than an (unelected) interim junior official in Alameda County," Musk tweeted.

The county's Public Health Department issued a statement Saturday afternoon, saying that it had been working closely with Tesla in a "collaborative, good faith effort to develop and implement a safety plan that allows for reopening while protecting the health and well-being of the thousands of employees who travel to and from work at Tesla's factory."

Although the department didn't announce lifting restrictions, the statement said "we look forward to coming to an agreement on an appropriate safety plan very soon."

In a tweet Saturday afternoon, Palo Alto Mayor Adrian Fine wrote, "I would be really sad and disappointed if @Tesla left @cityofpaloalto, and stand ready to help. I truly appreciate having a cutting edge company based here, employing people, paying taxes, and helping to solve the climate crisis. Happy to help @elonmusk."

Musk tweeted back, "Much appreciated, Mayor Fine!"

Fine later followed up, "Getting criticism from different quarters for tweeting this. Let me be clear: as Mayor, I’m committed to making my hometown as strong as it can be. I am pro housing pro business pro people pro schools pro transit pro environment, and most of all, pro Palo Alto. I love this place."

On Monday, Tesla resumed production at the Fremont plant in defiance of the Alameda County health order, Musk said in a tweet. "I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me," he wrote.

Telephone town hall

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian will host a COVID-19 telephone town hall on Sunday, May 17, at 11 a.m.

Panelists include county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody; county Counsel James Williams; Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, chief of infection control at Stanford University; and Dr. Mark Adams, chief medical officer at El Camino Hospital.

Anyone interested in joining the discussion must register by 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, through this link.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 8

Santa Clara County recorded a total of 2,290 coronavirus cases, according to new data released Friday. The total breaks down nearly 50-50 between males and females.

One more person has died of the disease in the county, raising the death toll to 128, which divides to 74 men and 54 women.

Of the 111 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of the disease, 64 are in acute hospital beds and 40 are in intensive care unit beds. Patients without the virus have occupied 936 acute beds and 195 ICU beds, leaving 886 and 198, respectively, available.

There are five of 1,231 surge beds and 115 of 896 ventilators in use throughout the county, regardless of whether or not the patient has COVID-19.

Out of 38,002 tests performed for COVID-19, 2,290 returned positive, 35,483 returned negative and 229 are pending results. The county's test positivity rate has gone down to 6% and results turn around on an average rate of 1.6 days.

Five more cases were reported at long-term care facilities on Friday, raising the total to 435 and making up about 19% of the county's overall case total. Of the 435 cases, 60 are hospitalized (making up 54% of the county's total cases in the hospital) and 52 have died (making up 40% of the county's death total).

The county's case count by city chart shows Palo Alto's total has been readjusted to 72, which represents 0.1% of the city population. Mountain View saw no change to its total, 47, which represents 0.06% of the city population. At 1,519, San Jose has the most cases of all county cities. Its total makes up 0.1% of the city population.

California to mail out general election ballots

Every registered voter in California will receive a mail-in-ballot ahead of the presidential general election this November under a new executive order Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday.

At a press briefing, Newsom explained that the new order allows every Californian registered to vote the option to submit a ballot by mail rather than visiting a physical polling booth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Physical voting booths will still be available, but the locations and staffing are part of the logistics still being worked out, Newsom said.

The new order comes just two days after state Sen. Thomas Umberg, D-Santa Ana, and state Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, proposed a new bill requiring every voter to receive a ballot by mail.

"No Californian should have to choose between protecting their health and safety and participating in our democracy, particularly when doing so can be easily avoided," Berman said in a press release.

In addition, further industry- and sector-specific guidelines will be released on Tuesday as the state further advances into Stage 2 of reopening the economy, Newsom said.

If businesses and people continue to follow the guidelines and the numbers improve on COVID-19 cases, Newsom said that the state will be weeks away from moving deeper into Stage 2 and onto the next phase.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 7

Some businesses can reopen starting Friday under state's new guidelines

Long-awaited guidelines to reopen a portion of California's economy were unveiled at a Thursday press conference by Gov. Gavin Newsom that allows for retail, manufacturing and logistics sectors to resume operations with modifications as soon as this Friday, May 8.

Newsom said that the state was prepared to move into Stage 2 of the reopening process during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly emphasized that this did not mean a "return to a new normal" or that the virus has stopped spreading.

Starting Friday, retailers looking to reopen their stores should opt for curbside pickup or delivery options for customers, and employees should wear masks and gloves, Ghaly said in his rundown of the new directions set forth by the state Public Health Department. Stores are also "encouraged" to install hands-free devices for any credit card transactions. In addition, hand sanitizer stations should be made available.

Manufacturing plants and warehouses should encourage physical distancing and close any indoor break rooms. Instead, Ghaly suggested open-air break rooms with physically distanced seating.

Though he didn't provide a date, Ghaly also said that moving into Stage 2 will "soon" allow for offices that cannot manage work-from-home protocols to reopen. Seated dining restaurants, shopping malls, museums and outdoor museums were also included in the list of spaces that can open later, with proper modifications, as the state moves into the second phase.

Ghaly also outlined industrywide guidelines for what employers should do as they restart business. Employers should train their workers on how to limit the spread of the coronavirus, how to screen for its symptoms and remind them to stay home if they're feeling sick, he said. In addition, there should be "site-specific protection plans" with protocols on cleaning, disinfecting and physical distancing

Counties also have the option to move further into Stage 2 if they can meet the state Public Health Department's list of requirements:

• Have no more than one positive COVID-19 case per 10,000 people in the last 14 days and zero COVID-19-related deaths in the last 14 days.

• Capacity to protect all essential workers with protective gear and disinfectant supplies.

• A minimum daily testing capacity of one-and-a-half tests per 1,000 residents.

• Fifteen contact tracers per 100,000 residents. (Santa Clara County would need 290 contact tracers and San Mateo County would need 115 contact tracers to meet this requirement.)

• Temporary housing for at least 15% of the county's homeless population.

Counties must also have adequate hospital capacity, with a minimum surge capacity of 35%. In addition, every hospital should have a plan to protect its workforce with personal protective equipment and other preventive measures.

Skilled nursing facilities must also be equipped with more than a 14-day supply of PPE for the staff, with access to "non-state supply chains" that can refill equipment in the case that the 14-day supply runs low.

Ghaly added that counties must have the ability to be able to toggle back or slow down modifications, if necessary.

Newsom said he was confident that the state is now prepared to move into Stage 2. Over 843,000 tests have been conducted, with more than 30,000 tests completed in the past 24 hours, he said on May 7. The state also saw declines in hospitalizations and patients admitted to the intensive care unit in the past 24 hours.

However, on Thursday afternoon, seven Bay Area health officers released a joint statement, stating that their jurisdictions will not immediately adopt the new statewide modifications.

"Bay Area orders do not currently permit curbside pickup from non-essential, non-outdoor businesses, and that is not allowed to begin on Friday, May 8," the statement read. "The coronavirus pandemic is still well underway."

Newsom also shared that the state projects a $54.3 billion budget deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's a sharp contrast from the $21.4 billion surplus the state had a year ago, according to the governor.

"We'll get through this (but) this will be challenging," Newsom said. "My optimism is conditioned on this: more federal support."

New COVID-19 cases, deaths

Santa Clara County's total of coronaviruses is nearing the 2,300 mark. The 2,281 total cases reported on Thursday are almost evenly split between males and females. The county also announced one more death, raising the total number of deaths to 127, which breaks down to 73 men and 54 women.

Three more cases were added to Palo Alto's total, 73, which represents 0.1% of the city population. Mountain View saw no change to its total since Wednesday. Its 47 cases make up 0.06% of the city population. San Jose's case total rose to 1,515, the highest across all 15 cities in the county, representing 0.1% of the city population.

Of the 113 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases in the hospital, 60 are in acute hospital beds and 39 are in intensive care unit beds. Patients without the virus occupy 925 acute beds and 189 ICU beds, leaving 894 and 199, respectively, available.

Five of 1,231 surge beds and 114 of 896 ventilators are being used throughout the county, according to data from the California Department of Public Health, which doesn't state how many COVID-19 patients are using those resources.

Of the 36,691 COVID-19 tests performed across the county, 2,281 returned positive results, 34,179 returned negative results and 231 are pending results. Based on these numbers, the county's test positivity rate is 6.2%. Results turn around in 1.6 days on average.

The county's data dashboard on long-term care facilities shows 430 cases, 59 of which are hospitalized and 52 of which have resulted in death.

As of Thursday, San Mateo County reported a total of 1,397 cases of the coronavirus, which breaks down to 743 females and 654 males. The county's death toll remains at 56, which splits to 29 men and 27 women.

Of the total cases, 61 with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized, 14 of which are in ICU. Another 16 ICU beds are occupied by patients without the virus, leaving 52 more ICU beds available.

Eighteen of 231 surge beds and 17 of 223 ventilators are in use throughout the county, according to data from the state Department of Public Health, which doesn't state how many of those resources are being used by COVID-19 patients.

The county has started reporting its cases by city. Here's a list of a few of those totals for cities on the Midpeninsula:

• Atherton: 12.

• East Palo Alto: 51.

• Menlo Park: 55.

• North Fair Oaks: Less than 10.

• Portola Valley: 10.

• West Menlo Park: Less than 10.

• Woodside: 10.

Supporting distance learning projects

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is launching a new campaign to support local teachers "as they navigate their new normal" by providing $1.2 million to fund distance learning projects, the nonprofit announced Thursday.

CZI's grant is going to DonorsChoose, a nonprofit that connects teachers in high-need communities with donors. In a DonorsChoose survey of more than 4,000 teachers about the transition to distance learning, teachers estimated that 68% of their students lack the resources they need to learn at home.

"In the face of considerable challenges and uncertainty, teachers are going above and beyond to ensure their students' learning stays on track and to support their overall wellbeing," said Priscilla Chan, co-founder and co-CEO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. "We're thankful everyday for the incredible contributions of educators, but now — more than ever, we’re humbled by their dedication and creativity.”

Teachers will be able to post distance learning projects on DonorsChoose.org and request supplies and equipment they and students need for at-home teaching and learning, from notebooks to laptops and Wi-Fi hot spots. Teachers can also use the funds to meet students' basic needs, such as purchasing groceries.

In the Bay Area, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is providing donations of up to $300 to teachers in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and San Francisco counties who teach at schools where 50% or more of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, for a total of $750,000 going to local teachers. Donations will be applied to projects that cost up to $1,000 while funds last, and there is a limit of one project per teacher.

Nationwide, CZI is also providing $500,000 to match donations to DonorsChoose distance learning projects that cost up to $1,000 posted by teachers from schools across the country where 75% or more students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

CZI will also match community donations to teacher projects' dollar for dollar, while funds last.

Telephone town hall

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, will host a COVID-19 town hall for her constituents in San Mateo County on Thursday, May 7, at 4:30 p.m. She will be joined by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, and San Mateo County Health Deputy Chief Srija Srinivasan. Community members interested in joining the discussion can sign up at vekeo.com/repannaeshoo/.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 6

Santa Clara County's total of coronavirus cases climbed to 2,268 on Wednesday. Of the total, about 2,270 are males and 2,270 are females. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 91.

• 21 to 30 years old: 275.

• 31 to 40 years old: 390.

• 41 to 50 years old: 387.

• 51 to 60 years old: 403.

• 61 to 70 years old: 295.

• 71 to 80 years old: 218.

• 81 to 90 years old: 125.

• 91 years old or over: 71.

• Unknown: 13.

The latest data also shows no change to Palo Alto's total of cases, 70, which represents 0.1% of the city's population. Mountain View has added one more case to its total, which is now 47, representing 0.06% of the city's population. At 1,507, San Jose has the most cases in the county. Its total represents 0.1% of the city's population.

The county has recorded a total of 126 COVID-19 deaths, an increase by two from Tuesday. Seventy-two of the deceased were men and 54 were women. When it came to pre-existing conditions, 88.1% of the deceased had one or more, 6.4% were unknown and 5.6% had none. Here's a breakdown by age group.

• 31 to 40 years old: 4.

• 41 to 50 years old: 5.

• 51 to 60 years old: 16.

• 61 to 70 years old: 17.

• 71 to 80 years old: 36.

• 81 to 90 years old: 27.

• 91 years old or over: 19.

• Unknown: 1.

Asian and Latinx/Hispanic residents had the most cases and deaths based on the lists of cases and deaths by race. Here's a full breakdown of cases by race in descending order:

• Latinx/Hispanic: 38%.

• Asian: 22%.

• White: 18%.

• Unknown: 16%.

• Other: 4%.

• African American: 2%.

Here's a full breakdown of deaths by race in descending order:

• Latinx/Hispanic: 34.1%.

• Asian: 31.8%.

• White: 25.4%.

• African American: 6.4%.

• Other: 1.6%.

• Unknown: 0.8%.

There are 123 people hospitalized with COVID-19 or suspected of having the disease, 71 of whom are in acute beds and 42 of whom are in intensive care beds. Patients without the disease occupy 836 acute beds and 204 ICU beds, leaving 1,023 and 189, respectively, available.

There are five surge beds and 115 ventilators in use throughout the county's hospitals, leaving 1,226 and 781, respectively, available. County data doesn't state how many surge beds or ventilators are being used by COVID-19 patients.

Of the 35,195 people who have been tested for COVID-19, 2,268 returned positive, 32,715 returned negative and 212 are pending results. The county has a test positivity rate of 6.4% and results turn around in 1.6 days on average.

Of the county's 2,268 cases, 430 originated at long-term care facilities, 59 of which are hospitalized and 52 of which have resulted in death.

San Mateo County reported 1,377 total cases of the coronavirus as of Wednesday, 734 of whom are female 643 of whom are male. The death toll remains at 56, made up of 29 men and 27 women.

Data from the state Department of Public Health shows 58 people with the coronavirus or suspected of having the disease are in the hospital, 18 of whom are in intensive care unit beds. Another 17 ICU beds are occupied by patients without the virus, leaving 47 available.

Seventeen of 231 surge beds and 16 of 223 ventilators are in use throughout the county, according to the hospitalization data dashboard, which doesn't state how many are being utilized by COVID-19 patients.

Arrival of PPE

San Mateo County has restocked its supply of personal protective equipment, County Manager Mike Callagy said during a call with reporters on Wednesday. This supply includes 671,000 face shields, 100,000 surgical masks and over 500,000 pairs of gloves in various sizes, he said.

The county also has 15,000 protective coveralls, 50,000 surgical gowns and 52,000 goggles at the moment. It has 1,100 gallons of hand sanitizer, with another 24,000 16-ounce bottles slated to arrive soon.

The county is expecting 500,000 more surgical masks and 800,000 N95 masks this coming week. Another 218,000 pairs of gloves are coming later this week.

"We can certainly breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that we at least have the PPEs," Callagy said. "We're not redlining anymore."

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 5

Santa Clara County recorded a total of 2,255 cases of the new coronavirus on Tuesday. The total roughly breaks down to 1,128 females and 1,128 males.

Four more deaths from COVID-19 raises the county's total number of deaths to 121, which breaks down to 68 men and 53 women.

Palo Alto's total of cases remains at 70 and represents 0.1% of the city population. Mountain View added one more case to its total, which is now at 46, representing 0.05% of the city population. San Jose has five new cases, raising its total to 1,499, the highest in the county. Its total makes up 0.1% of the city population.

Of the 132 hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 73 are in acute hospital beds and 47 are in intensive care beds. Another 859 acute beds and 191 ICU beds are occupied by patients without the virus, leaving 901 and 190, respectively, available.

Five of 1,231 surge beds and 117 of 896 ventilators are in use throughout the county hospital system. Hospital data from the state Department of Public Health doesn't identify how many are being used by COVID-19 patients.

Of the total 34,166 tests that have been performed for COVID-19, 2,255 returned positive, 31,747 returned negative and 194 are pending. The data shows at 6.6% test positivity rate. Results on average turn around in 1.7 days.

There are 424 cases at long-term care facilities, making up 18.8% of the county's overall cases. Fifty-nine of those cases have led to hospitalization and 48 have died.

San Mateo County has a total of 1,341 cases of the coronavirus, which splits to 713 females and 628 males. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 0 to 19 years old: 53.

• 20 to 29 years old: 178.

• 30 to 39 years old: 234.

• 40 to 49 years old: 244.

• 50 to 59 years old: 220.

• 60 to 69 years old: 188.

• 70 to 79 years old: 91.

• 80 to 90 years old: 77.

• 91 years old or over: 56.

Of the 56 people who have died from the disease, 29 were men and 27 were women. Here's a full breakdown of the people who died by age group:

• 30 to 39 years old: 1.

• 40 to 49 years old: 0.

• 50 to 59 years old: 3.

• 60 to 69 years old: 8.

• 70 to 79 years old: 8.

• 80 to 90 years old: 17.

• 91 years old or over: 19.

Here's a breakdown of the deaths by race/ethnicity:

• White: 38.

• Asian: 12.

• Hispanic: 4.

• Black 1.

• Unknown: 1.

As of Monday, 59 people with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized. Thirteen of those individuals are in intensive care. Another 15 ICU beds are occupied by patients without the virus, leaving 65 more ICU beds available.

Fifteen of 231 surge beds and 16 of 223 ventilators are in use throughout the county, regardless of whether or not the patient has COVID-19. Data provided by the state doesn't state how many are being used by people with the virus.

Updates from the state

In the past three days, the state has been able to test 100,000 people for the new coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference Tuesday. In addition, there was a 1.9% decrease in patients admitted to the intensive care unit. Hospitalizations have modestly increased 2.6%, Newsom said. The state's website also indicates a 2.3% increase in positive COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday afternoon.

Federal loans through the Paycheck Protection Program also continue to be distributed, Newsom said. The state already received and sent out $34 billion to support businesses, and is now in the process of distributing the second round of federal funding of $33.2 billion. Newsom said 60% of the $33.2 billion had been distributed.

California has dispersed more than $10 billion in unemployment insurance throughout the state since March 15, shortly before the state's COVID-19 coronavirus shelter-in-place order began.

Roughly 4.1 million California residents have received about $10.1 billion in unemployment insurance, including roughly 450,000 people who are self-employed.

"This is unprecedented in our state's history," Newsom said. "These are numbers that no one thought they'd see in our lifetime."

Newsom said he plans to work with the state Legislature to include more protections for self-employed and gig economy workers in the May revision of the state budget, which legislators must pass by June 15.

For essential workers and workers whose businesses may open in the next week as the state begins modifying its stay-at-home order, Newsom said the state has procured millions of protective masks and other items in recent weeks. The state has dispersed some 14 million protective items and still has a stockpile of nearly 20 million items that are ready for use.

The state has prioritized health care workers, first responders and workers in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities for protective gear, but Newsom said grocery and retail workers will begin receiving protective items from the state very soon.

"I can assure you, all of these months, we have never had so many procedure masks, surgical masks in our possession, now able to be distributed all across the state of California," Newsom said.

The state is still planning to allow some low-risk businesses and industries to resume operations on Friday. However, Newsom chastised a handful of northern California counties who have announced their intentions to open higher-risk businesses such as hair salons and dine-in restaurants.

"They're making a big mistake," Newsom said of Yuba and Sutter counties. "They're putting their public at risk, they're putting (the state's) progress at risk."

Health officials around the state have confirmed a total of 56,212 coronavirus cases, including 2,317 deaths, according to Newsom. In addition, 1,157 people are in intensive care due to the virus and 3,369 are currently hospitalized across the state.

Ramping up contact tracing in Santa Clara County

Contact tracing will become a new focus for Santa Clara County public health officials, according to discussions at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.

Contact tracing and case investigation is "core to public health efforts to control the spread of a communicable disease," Dr. Sara Cody told the board during the meeting. "And we're going to need to do it at a scale that we've never before done here or in many, many other places."

The goal is to be able to have county staff investigate every new case of COVID-19, but the county currently traces about 75 cases per day, according to Cody. She said an ideal team of contact tracing staff would be about 1,000 people.

Read the full story here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 4

State allowing certain businesses to reopen this week

Bookstores, clothing stores, toy stores and other businesses that can accommodate curbside pickup may be allowed to reopen the end of this week in some parts of California under a plan Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled Monday afternoon. Malls are not included in the first round of reopening, regardless if stores within them can support curbside pickup, Newsom explained.

Newsom said the state will issue new guidelines Thursday that would allow certain types of businesses to reopen as early as Friday, triggering the second phase in his four-phase plan for reopening the economy. The announcement empowers county health officials to ease their own restrictions, though it does not require them to do so.

Newsom and Dr. Sonia Angell, the state's public health officer, both said that the decision to start reopening parts of the economy was driven by data: namely, the state's significant progress to ensure hospital capacity and expand testing and contact tracing throughout California. Angell noted that the state is on track in all of these categories, with more than 10,000 ventilators available for use and a "surge capacity" of 14 hospital facilities with 2,072 beds ready to accept patients (a number beyond what's required in the traditional health care system). The state has also met its goal of performing 25,000 tests per day and is in the process of setting up 86 testing areas in rural and urban areas.

"This gives us optimism that as we move toward the end of this week, that we will have testing that is necessary for this early stage in place," Angell said.

In counties that follow the state's lead and relax their shelter-at-home orders, businesses such as bookstores, clothing stores, florists and sporting goods stores will be able to reopen, provided they make modifications to ensure physical distancing. The businesses comprise some – though not all – of the businesses that Newsom had identified in the second stage, which he said will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

Other businesses that had been identified in the second stage — including offices, dine-in restaurants and shopping malls — will be required to remain closed.

Counties will be able to move faster — or slower — to reopen businesses than the state. Those that want to wish to reopen other types of businesses faster will be allowed to submit "readiness plans" to the state for review and approval. Those that feel they aren't ready to reopen will be able to retain their existing health orders that bar certain business types from reopening.

Newsom noted that counties in the Bay Area have guidelines that are "a little more strict" than the state's. The state will not tell local officials who feel it's too soon to modify their orders to do so, he said.

"If they choose not to come into compliance with state guidelines, they have that right," Newsom said.

Santa Clara County opening two new community testing sites

Santa Clara County is opening two new community COVID-19 sites in San Jose and Gilroy as early as Wednesday for those who are in skilled-nursing facilities, symptomatic individuals and asymptomatic first responders.

James Lick High School in San Jose and Christopher High School in Gilroy are two of 80 state-managed testing sites opening across California in collaboration with OptumServe, a federal health services business based in Minnesota.

Slated to open early as Wednesday, each site can serve up to 132 people each day, which adds up to 10,560 tests that can be issued across all 80 locations each day. Screening and testing criteria are based on state guidelines, which may be updated to comply with the latest guidance.

The news comes on the heels of Gov. Gavin Newsom's recent announcement of more community testing sites across the state in underserved communities and all 15 Santa Clara County mayors urging county leaders for more COVID-19 testing sites last week.

"It is especially important to make testing readily available in communities that may have limited access," county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a press release. "Our ultimate goal is that anyone, living in any neighborhood, can get access to testing, particularly those with symptoms of COVID-19, and those who work in settings where they may have frequent exposure.”

Tests will only be provided to residents by appointment, which can be made by calling 888-634-1123 or visiting lhi.care/covidtesting. The testing sites will be open on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Read more about the testing sites here.

The county also launched a new webpage that lists who should be tested for COVID-19 and testing locations. Midpeninsula providers administering tests at local sites include Stanford Health Care, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Kaiser Permanente, El Camino Health and Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System. For a full list, visit sccgov.org/cv19testing.

The webpage also provides information on testing capacity and expansion and the types of COVID-19 tests.

New COVID-19 cases, deaths

Santa Clara County's total of coronavirus cases now stands at 2,244, according to new data published Monday. The total almost evenly splits between males and females.

Two more people have died of the new coronavirus, raising the total number of deaths to 117, which divides to 66 men and 51 women.

The case counts by city on May 4 showed Palo Alto has 70 cases, which represents 0.1% of the city population, and Mountain View has 46 cases, which represents 0.05% of the city population. San Jose has the most cases across all 15 cities in the county. Its 1,494 cases make up 0.1% of the city population.

Of the 131 people hospitalized with COVID-19 or suspected of having the disease, 72 are in acute hospital beds and 46 are in intensive care unit beds. Patients without the virus occupy 903 acute beds and 193 ICU beds, leaving another 880 and 186, respectively, available.

Five of 1,231 surge beds and 109 of 896 ventilators are being used throughout the county, but data provided by the state doesn't further break down those numbers to ones being used by COVID-19 patients.

Of the 33,396 tests performed for COVID-19, 2,244 returned positive, 30,970 returned negative and 182 are pending results. The data shows a 6.7% test positivity rate. Results turn around on an average of 1.7 days.

San Mateo County has 1,315 cases of the new coronavirus, which splits to 696 females and 619 males as of May 4. Five more people have died of the disease, raising the county's total number of deaths from 51 to 56, which breaks down to 29 men and 27 women.

As of Sunday, May 3, 61 people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 were hospitalized. Eighteen of those individuals are in intensive care.

Sixteen patients without the virus are also in ICU beds, leaving 50 more ICU beds available.

Fifteen of 231 surge beds and 17 of 223 ventilators are in use throughout the county, according to state public health data, which doesn't further break down those numbers to those being used by COVID-19 patients.

Remdesivir approved for emergency use

On May 1, the Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use of the experimental drug remdesivir for treatment of COVID-19.

The National Institutes of Health announced early data from its worldwide remdesivir trial found the drug helps to speed recovery in severely ill patients, reducing the time from 15 days to 11 days. The drug, which was developed by Foster City-based Gilead Sciences, is for use in hospitalized patients and can only be given intravenously at this time.

Remdesivir has been shown to reduce the coronavirus' replication in laboratory cell culture and animal studies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and other coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV.

"It is reasonable to believe that the known and potential benefits of (remdesivir) outweigh the known and potential risks of the drug for the treatment of patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19," the FDA wrote in its approval letter.

The drug will only be used on adults and children with suspected or laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 and severe disease, which was defined as a patient who has a blood oxygen level of 94% or less when breathing normal room air, requiring supplemental oxygen, mechanical ventilation or life support.

Gilead will supply the drug to authorized distributors or directly to a U.S. government agency, which will distribute remdesivir to hospitals and other health care facilities in collaboration with federal, state and local authorities.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 2-3

Santa Clara and San Mateo counties have seen fewer patients with confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 in intensive care unit beds over the past week, according to the latest public data.

Santa Clara County reported a new total of 2,231 cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, May 3, and one death, for a total of 115. Of the 140 people hospitalized, 44 are in ICU, 33 fewer patients than a week earlier. On April 26, the county reported 77 patients in ICU.

In San Mateo County, the total number of coronavirus cases is 1,281 and the death toll remained at 51 as of Sunday, May 3.

San Mateo County's number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases in ICU has ebbed and flowed over the span of a week. As of Saturday, May 2, the county reported 17 patients with or suspected of having the coronavirus in ICU beds at its hospitals, the same as the day before. A week earlier, on April 25, the county had 26 COVID-19 patients in ICU.

Shelter-at-home orders

Extended stay-at-home orders in six Bay Area counties, including Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, went into effect on Monday, May 4.

Health officers for the counties issued revised orders on Wednesday, April 29, that largely retains restrictions that were previously in place but loosens some directives. The new orders allow gardeners and landscapers to resume all work and reclassifies construction and real estate as "essential business" that is permitted.

On Friday, May 1, Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated that California is now "many days, not weeks" away from loosening the statewide stay-at-home order in effect until the end of May.

Newsom didn't provide a timeline for the changes, but said he'll make an announcement on the topic sometime this week. The pending modifications come as the state reports a decrease in the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and more resources for testing and personal protective equipment arrives.

COVID-19 case at juvenile hall

A youth admitted two weeks ago into the Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall in San Jose tested positive for COVID-19, the county announced Friday, May 1.

"Best practices were used to protect both youth and staff from exposure in our facilities," the county said in a statement, adding that the youth "is doing well."

No further details were released by the county, except that the youth was never placed in general population, was isolated and moved to the medical clinic within the facility after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

The county said additional youths and staff members are being tested for the coronavirus but that none of the tests have come back positive so far, though testing is not yet completed.

Couples can obtain marriage licenses remotely under new executive order

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on Thursday allowing state residents to obtain marriage licenses remotely due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The order will allow couples to obtain a marriage license from their county clerk via video conference provided that both members of the couple are state residents and that they can both present a valid form of identification on the video call. The clerk will then email the licenses to the couple.

The state will also recognize marriages performed over video call as long as both members of the couple are present and there is at least one witness to the live ceremony.

The executive order will remain in effect for the next 60 days, according to Newsom's office.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MAY 1

Santa Clara County has 2,179 cases of the new coronavirus in about 1,090 males and 1,080 females, according to new data released Friday.

Of the total 144 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 84 are in acute hospital beds and 48 are in intensive care. Another 767 acute beds and 200 ICU beds are occupied by patients without the virus, leaving 1,026 and 188, respectively, available.

Eight of 1,231 surge beds and 112 of 892 ventilators are in use throughout the county, regardless of whether the patient has the new coronavirus.

Sixty-five men and forty-eight women make up the county's total of 113 deaths from the disease, two of which are new.

There were no changes to the total of cases in Palo Alto and Mountain View, which have stayed at 69 and 45, respectively, since Wednesday. Palo Alto's 69 cases make up 0.1% of the city's population and Mountain View's 45 cases make up 0.05% of the city's population. San Jose's 11 new cases bring its total to 1,447, which represents 0.1% of the city's population.

Out of 29,614 COVID-19 tests performed in the county, 2,179 returned positive, 27,239 returned negative and 196 are pending. The data reveals a 7.4% test positivity rate. Results turn around in 1.7 days on average.

There were no changes to the county's cases that originated at long-term care facilities. Of the total 419 cases, which make up 19% of the county's overall total, 57 have been hospitalized and 43 have died.

Newsom: State is 'many days, not weeks' from modifying stay-at-home orders

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Friday that California is now "many days, not weeks" away from loosening the statewide stay-at-home order now in effect until the end of May.

Newsom didn't provide a timeline for the changes, but said he'll make an announcement on the topic sometime next week. The pending modifications come as the state reports a decrease in the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and more resources for testing and personal protective equipment arrives. On Thursday, more than 5 million masks were distributed, according to Newsom.

Newsom said positive COVID-19 cases and deaths have increased statewide on Friday (data from the California Department of Public Health shows increases of 3.1% and 4.6%, respectively), but hospitalization numbers went down and the number of intensive care unit beds remained flat.

"The data is starting to give us more confidence," Newsom said.

The governor also took a moment to thank essential workers for May Day, also known as International Workers' Day.

On Monday, Newsom plans to address more details on testing and contact tracing.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 30

Santa Clara County watched its total of coronavirus cases go up to 2,163 on Thursday, 1,080 of which are male and 1,074 of which are female.

Four more people have died of the disease, raising the county's total number of deaths to 111, which divides to 63 men and 48 women.

There was no change to the total number of cases in Palo Alto and Mountain View since Wednesday. Palo Alto's 69 cases make up 0.1% of the city's population and Mountain View's 45 cases make up 0.05% of the city's population. San Jose's 13 new cases brings its total to 1,436, which represents 0.1% of the city's population.

Nearly 7% of the county's cases are hospitalized. Of the 150 people with or suspected of having COVID-19, 78 are in acute hospital beds and 56 are in intensive care beds. Another 820 acute beds and 173 ICU beds are occupied by patients without the virus, leaving another 970 and 198, respectively, available.

County data only shows how many surge beds and ventilators are in use throughout the county, regardless of whether they have COVID-19. Nine of 1,231 surge beds and 112 of 892 ventilators are being utilized.

Three more cases were reported at long-term care facilities, where a total of 419 cases have been found at 33 facilities. Fifty-seven have been hospitalized and 43 have died.

Of 28,570 tests for COVID-19, the results returned positive for 2,163 people and negative for 26,224 people. Another 183 tests are pending results, which turn around on an average of 1.7 days. The numbers show a 7.6% test positivity rate.

San Mateo County has a total of 1,197 cases of the coronavirus, which breaks down to 645 females and 552 males, as of Thursday. The death toll rose to 51, of which 28 were men and 23 were women.

As of Wednesday, 70 people with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized, 17 of whom are in intensive care, according to the county's hospitalization dashboard. Another 20 ICU beds are occupied by patients without the virus, leaving 52 available.

Eleven of 231 surge beds and 21 of 224 ventilators are in use throughout the county, according to the dashboard, which doesn't break down those numbers further to those being used by COVID-19 patients.

San Mateo County this week started releasing information on cases by ZIP code. Here's a breakdown of the total cases for a few local cities as of Sunday (the latest data available):

• 94025 (Menlo Park): 49

• 94027 (Menlo Park/Atherton): 11

• 94028 (Menlo Park/Portola Valley): Less than 10.

• 94063 (Redwood City/Woodside): 52.

• 94303 (East Palo Alto): 47.

• Unknown/Other: 14.

Newsom clarifies permitted outdoor, social activities under stay-at-home order

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday tried to clear the air on permissible outdoor and social activities — a confusion onset by the increasing number of cities and counties across the state easing local shelter-at-home orders, including six Bay Area counties.

At a press conference, Newsom said that outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding and tennis are acceptable outdoor activities, as long as physical distancing is maintained. Golf courses, Newsom vaguely said, "is a space that's loosening up, but with modifications." Realtors can also resume hosting open houses on site.

However, in response to the images of crowded southern California beaches last weekend, Newsom said a few beaches in certain cities and counties around the region will now be closed, mainly singling out Orange County.

"The images we saw on a few of our beaches were disturbing," Newsom said.

To stress his point on physical distancing, Newsom cited a 5.2% increase in positive COVID-19 cases across the state in the past 24 hours. Patients hospitalized and admitted into intensive care increased within a percentage point, but Newsom contrasted that statistic with the state's 95 deaths from COVID-19 over the past day.

Newsom also announced a new online portal where parents and essential workers who need child care can find local resources. which can be found at covid19.ca.gov.

About 63% of licensed child care centers have been impacted by the pandemic, Newsom said.

Face coverings required on VTA vehicles

Starting Monday, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is requiring riders to wear face coverings while on the transit system's buses and light-rail trains through the end of May. The new rule is in compliance with Santa Clara County's revised shelter-at-home order that mandates transit personnel and passengers wear face coverings.

The agency is communicating the new requirement across its system via posters, recorded messages on vehicles and platforms and other public messaging, the agency said in a press release Thursday.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 29

The Bay Area's stay-at-home orders will stretch on until at least the end of May, though construction workers, gardeners and outdoor retailers that can accommodate physical distancing can get back to businesses as early as Monday, county officials announced Wednesday.

The new order in Santa Clara County, which Dr. Sara Cody, the county's health officer issued Wednesday, represents the Bay Area's first attempt to loosen the shelter-at-home directives that health officers across the region issued on March 16, when COVID-19 cases were rapidly climbing and officials were preparing for a larger surge. The order also lifts prohibitions on outdoor spaces such as skate parks, which do not involve shared equipment or physical contact.

Health officials at Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties, as well as the city of Berkeley, announced similar measures Wednesday.

Read the full story here.

New COVID-19 cases, deaths

Santa Clara County reported 2,134 total cases of the new coronavirus on Wednesday, 164 of which are hospitalized. The total almost splits evenly between gender to 1,069 males and 1,057 females. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 80.

• 21 to 30 years old: 259.

• 31 to 40 years old: 358.

• 41 to 50 years old: 365.

• 51 to 60 years old: 378.

• 61 to 70 years old: 284.

• 71 to 80 years old: 209.

• 81 to 90 years old: 121.

• 91 years old or over: 67.

• Unknown: 13.

The latest data also shows Palo Alto has 69 cases, which represents 0.1% of the city's population. Mountain View has a total of 45 cases, which represents 0.05% of the city's population. At 1,423, San Jose has the most cases in the county. Its total represents 0.1% of the city's population.

The county has recorded a total of 107 COVID-19 deaths, an increase by one from Tuesday. Sixty of the deceased were men and 47 were women. When it came to pre-existing conditions, 86.9% of the deceased had one or more, 8.4% were unknown and 4.7% had none. Here's a breakdown by age group.

• 31 to 40 years old: 4.

• 41 to 50 years old: 5.

• 51 to 60 years old: 15.

• 61 to 70 years old: 14.

• 71 to 80 years old: 30.

• 81 to 90 years old: 23.

• 91 years old or over: 16.

Asian and Latinx/Hispanic residents had the most cases and deaths based on the lists of cases and deaths by race. Here's a full breakdown of cases by race in descending order:

• Latinx/Hispanic: 37%.

• Asian: 22%.

• White: 18%.

• Unknown: 16%.

• Other: 4%.

• African American: 2%.

Here's a full breakdown of deaths by race in descending order:

• Asian: 32.7%.

• Latinx/Hispanic: 32.7%.

• White: 25.4%.

• African American: 6.5%.

• Unknown: 2.8%.

• Other: 1.9%.

There are 164 people hospitalized with COVID-19 or suspected of having the disease, 89 of whom are in acute beds and 66 of whom are in intensive care beds. Patients without the disease occupy 749 acute beds and 173 ICU beds, leaving 1,011 and 193, respectively, available.

There are nine surge beds and 107 ventilators in use throughout the county's hospitals, leaving 1,222 and 789, respectively, available. County data doesn't state how many surge beds or ventilators are being used by COVID-19 patients.

Of the 27,502 people who have been tested for COVID-19, 2,134 returned positive, 25,189 returned negative and 179 are pending. The county has a test positivity rate of 7.8% and results turn around in 1.7 days on average.

There are 416 cases across 32 long-term care facilities, which make up about 19% of the county's total. Fifty-six cases are hospitalized and 41 have died.

San Mateo County has a total of 1,177 cases of the coronavirus, which splits to 636 females and 541 males. The county's death toll remains at 48, which divides to 26 men and 22 women.

As of Tuesday, 63 people with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized.

San Mateo County reopening some park trails

Trails at 13 of San Mateo County's 23 parks will be reopened starting this Monday, according to a Tuesday announcement from the county's parks department.

Trail access, which has been off-limits in all county parks since March 27, will be offered with a number of restrictions in place to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus, according to a press statement. Some single-track trails will be converted to one-direction routes, and some trails will be closed to bikes. Dogs must remain on leashes.

Other park areas that permit gathering will remain closed. That includes picnic areas, playgrounds, campgrounds, fields, visitor centers, and some parking lots and restrooms.

Read the full story here.

Supplying food banks

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a state and federal initiative Wednesday to connect farmers and ranchers with excess produce to food banks around the state.

According to Newsom, food banks have seen a 73% increase in demand since the COVID-19 pandemic began, while farmers and ranchers have seen demand for their crops and other food fall by half.

With supply chains of perishable food to shuttered restaurants fractured during the pandemic, that produce and other food could end up being thrown away if action wasn't taken, Newsom said.

The partnership currently includes nearly 130 farmers and ranchers who are providing food commodities to 41 food banks in 58 counties. State officials hope to extend the program through the end of the year, providing roughly 21 million pounds of food to local food banks every month.

Read the full story here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 28

Santa Clara County's total of coronavirus cases rose to 2,122 on Tuesday, which divides to about 1,070 males, 1,050 females, seven of unknown gender and one identified as "other" gender. The number of deaths in the county now stands at 106, which roughly splits to 60 men and 45 women.

Tuesday's cases-by-city data shows Palo Alto has 68 cases, making up 0.1% of the city population, and Mountain View has 46 cases, making up 0.6% of the city population. San Jose, the county's most populous city, has the most cases — 1,409 — making up 0.1% of the city population.

Of the 182 people in the hospital with COVID-19 or who suspected of having the disease, 86 are in acute beds and 77 are in intensive care. Patients without the new coronavirus occupy 719 acute beds and 176 ICU beds, leaving 1,034 and 182, respectively, unoccupied.

Nine of 1,231 surge beds and 118 of 890 ventilators are in use throughout the county, though the hospital dashboard doesn't further break down those numbers to show which ones are being used by COVID-19 patients.

Exactly 26,640 tests for the coronavirus have been performed as of Tuesday, 2,122 of which are positive, 24,318 of which are negative, 200 of which are pending. The county's test positivity rate has gone down to 8% and results on average turn around in 1.7 days.

The county's long-term care facilities have 407 COVID-19 cases, about 20% of the countywide total. Fifty-six are hospitalized and 40 have resulted in death.

As of Tuesday, San Mateo County has a total of 1,136 cases of the coronavirus, which is split to 608 females and 528 males. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 19 years old or under: 37.

• 20 to 29 years old: 156.

• 30 to 39 years old: 189.

• 40 to 49 years old: 196.

• 59 to 59 years old: 187.

• 60 to 69 years old: 161.

• 70 to 79 years old: 84.

• 80 to 89 years old: 73.

• 90 years old or over: 53.

The death toll remained at 48 on Tuesday, which divides to 26 men and 22 women. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 59 to 59 years old: 3.

• 60 to 69 years old: 8.

• 70 to 79 years old: 6.

• 80 to 89 years old: 15.

• 90 years old or over: 16.

Here's a breakdown of the deaths by race/ethnicity:

• White: 32.

• Asian: 11.

• Hispanic: 3.

• Black 1.

• Unknown: 1.

The county's hospitalization data shows 80 people with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized as of Monday.

State outlines four stages of reopening

At a Tuesday press conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined the four stages of reopening businesses, schools and child care facilities guided by the six indicators the governor announced April 14, which will determine if the state is ready to modify its stay-at-home order as positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to the disease continue to stabilize.

The four phases organize businesses and facilities by sectors that have the lowest to highest risk of COVID-19 transmission. For example, the first stage, which the state is currently in, only allows the operation of essential workplaces.

During the first stage, Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the state's health department, said the state will want to focus on increasing testing and contact tracing capacity; ensuring personal protective equipment and hospital space availability; and developing the guidelines for reopening more businesses in the next stages.

In Stage 2, which Newsom said the state is just weeks away from, "lower-risk workplaces" will be able to reopen but only with new guidelines set in place. This includes retailers that can offer curbside pickup, the manufacturing sector, office workspaces that can't adopt work-from-home protocols, schools, child care facilities and public spaces such as parks and hiking trails.

"We're talking about summer programs and the next school year potentially starting sooner, perhaps in July or August," Angell said, but the environment has to be safe for children and teachers.

To transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2, Angell broadly stated that there must be a combination of government, business and individual-level initiatives — from policy changes and sick pay for employees to physical distancing.

Though Stage 2 will be a statewide transition, local counties will be able to relax restrictions on their own accord, Angell said.

Stage 3 will include reopening personal care facilities such as hair and nail salons; entertainment venues such as theaters and sporting events without live audiences; and in-person religious services.

By Stage 4, Angell said the stay-at-home order should be over and concerts, convention center events and other mass gatherings will be allowed.

Besides addressing the possibility of starting the next school year in the middle of the summer, no other specific dates were provided.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 27

The six Bay Area counties that became the first in the nation to shelter at home in March will continue under an extension of the public-health policy through the month of May, according to a joint statement issued Monday by health officials.

The counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara and the city of Berkeley plan to revise their shelter-at-home orders and release them later this week.

The seven jurisdictions plan to mostly keep the current limitations in place, though restrictions will be lifted for a few "lower-risk activities," according to a joint press release.

The counties and city of Berkeley that make up more than 7 million residents are currently under a shelter-at-home order expiring this Sunday. While the release notes there has been "substantial progress" in slowing down the growth of COVID-19 and a leveling of hospitalizations, lifting restrictions could lead to a significant increase in cases.

There is no set date for when the health officers will announce the extended order, which is also expected to outline state-aligned indicators they will use to track the progress and response to the disease.

New COVID-19 cases, deaths

On Monday, Santa Clara County saw its total of coronavirus cases rise to 2,105, 172 of which are hospitalized, and 103 deaths caused by the disease.

The total of cases divides to about 1,060 men, 1,037 women, seven people of "unknown" gender and one person identified as "other" gender. The total number of deaths splits to 59 men and 44 women.

According to data released Sunday, Palo Alto has 68 cases, representing 0.1% of the city's population, and Mountain View has 45, representing 0.05% of the city's population. San Jose has the most cases in the county — 1,383 — which represents 0.1% of the city's population.

Of the 172 people hospitalized with COVID-19 or suspected of having the disease, 82 are in acute beds and 77 are in intensive care beds. That leaves another 692 acute beds and 167 ICU beds being used by patients without the virus and another 1,078 and 191, respectively, available.

County data also shows nine surge beds and 123 ventilators are in use, leaving 1,222 and 767, respectively, on hand as needed. The data doesn't differentiate between COVID-19 patients and other hospital patients.

Of the 25,575 people who have tested for COVID-19, 2,105 have received positive results, 23,023 received negative results and 267 are pending results. The test positivity rate has gone down to 8.2% and the average turnaround time for results is 1.8 days.

As of Sunday, there are 391 cases at long-term care facilities, which include skilled nursing, independent living, assisted living and board and care facilities. Fifty-four are hospitalized and 37 have resulted in death.

As of Monday, San Mateo County has a total of 1,099 cases of the coronavirus, 591 of whom are female and 508 of whom are male. The death toll rose to 48, which divides to 26 men and 22 women.

Of the total cases, 63 with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized, 20 of whom are in intensive care unit beds. Another seven patients without the virus are also in ICU, leaving 55 more beds available.

County data doesn't indicate how many COVID-19 patients have ventilators or are occupying surge beds. Thirteen of 243 surge beds and 22 of 246 ventilators are in use throughout county hospitals.

Stanford seeks plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients

Stanford Medicine and Stanford Blood Center are creating a convalescent plasma program, which takes plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients and transfuses them into critically ill patients with the virus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the procedure in an effort to help patients fight off the virus, according to a FAQ list for the program.

The Stanford Blood Center is a member of America's Blood Centers, which on Monday announced a partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to promote gathering COVID-19 convalescent plasma from recovered patients across the country. The authority is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, which falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"The support of BARDA enhances the continued mobilization efforts by community blood centers to meet patient needs during the COVID-19 pandemic," America's Blood Centers CEO Kate Fry said in a press release.

America's Blood Centers acknowledged there is no proven treatment for the new coronavirus, but said convalescent plasma could give patients with COVID-19 antibodies to fight the virus.

Those interested in donating can apply through this form. Questions or those in need of additional support can email [email protected] or call 650-723-6667.

New clinic for COVID-19 patients

Stanford Health Care has established a new clinic for COVID-19 patients who don't need hospital care, allowing them to isolate from other clinics and avoid exposing others to the disease, according to a news release issued Monday.

The clinic, known as CROWN (short for care and respiratory observations of patients with novel coronavirus), is housed in the first floor of Hoover Pavilion and has its own separate entrance. It's staffed by a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant and other health care professionals.

"It's a safe place where we can manage their symptoms and keep them out of the emergency department if it's not necessary," said nurse and clinic manager Christopher Lentz.

Patients can speak with a caregiver by phone, over video conference or in-person visits to the clinic.

"If they're high-risk and we're worried about them, we follow them very closely with video visits and in-person visits to make sure that they're doing well," Dr. Maja Artandi, clinical associate professor of medicine and CROWN medical director, said in the news release.

Clinicians monitor the patients for two to three weeks until they stop exhibiting symptoms and are no longer contagious. In addition, they see patients suspected of having the disease and need urgent care.

As state figures out how to modify sheltering order, Newsom pleads people to continue staying at home

California is just a few weeks away from modifying its stay-at-home order, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a Monday press conference. But recent images of crowded southern California beaches over the weekend were "an example of what not to see," the governor warned, if the state wants to reopen.

"The only thing that will set us back is our behavior," Newsom said. Nothing about the nature of the virus has changed, but rather people's behaviors that have helped mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, he added.

Increasing talks of changing stay-at-home orders come as several states across the U.S., including Georgia and South Carolina, begin to reopen parts of their economy. California has yet to make any changes to its statewide order. The city of Berkeley and six Bay Area counties, including Santa Clara County, however, made a joint announcement on Monday regarding plans to extend the local stay-at-home order set to expire this Sunday. Local health officers will make an announcement with further details later this week.

Newsom also announced that Nevada and Colorado recently joined a coalition of western states — Oregon, Washington and California — to collaboratively work on guidelines for modifying the stay-at-home measures.

In addition, Newsom said he will give further details on Tuesday about the indicators that will help determine how California will modify its order.

Starting Tuesday, there also will be separate press conference opportunities with the economic recovery task force Newsom announced on April 17 in an effort to make the group's plans more transparent.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 25-26

Over the weekend, Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith said a new shelter-at-home order will be announced this week for the six Bay Area counties plus Berkeley. Smith said public health officers are finalizing the policy, which may differ from the current one, which lasts through Sunday.

Also, as Santa Clara County reported its 100th death from COVID-19, the autopsy report on a San Jose woman, the first person known to have died of the disease in the nation, was made public. It stated that, even though she didn't have a history of coronary artery disease, the virus contributed to a heart attack that led to a heart rupture that proved fatal.

Finally, at a telephone town hall meeting on Sunday, local leaders discussed concerns about the coronavirus risk of takeout food, the state of hospital capacity and more.

Stay-at-home order will be extended

With other states beginning to relax their public health restrictions, Santa Clara County leaders on Friday predicted a local spike in cases of the novel coronavirus this summer and warned of local plans to continue the shelter-in-place policy.

"In terms of seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, that's pretty hard to visualize at this point because, in order to prevent the spread of this virus and try to mute the pandemic, the only tool we really have is shelter-in-place," the county's executive Dr. Jeff Smith said Friday in a teleconference with the Silicon Valley Commonwealth Club, a Bay Area-based public affairs forum. "We don't have the treatment; we don't have the vaccine; we don't have any other specific way to deal with the pandemic."

"I think we're looking forward, sadly, to another spike (in cases) probably the late summer and early fall because we don't have a consistent shelter-in-place program for the rest of the country," Smith said. "And since we're so mobile, we'll expect higher numbers because other people will be traveling around the nation."

Seven Bay Area jurisdictions in March led the country with the first shelter orders following the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. Smith during a Sunday teleconference, sponsored by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, said that as soon as the middle of the coming week the public health officers in the seven Bay Area municipalities will likely announce the updated stay-at-home order. The current one is in effect through May 3.

Smith told the Commonwealth Club that the new order could look different from the current one — a "staged relaxation," with different parts of the county adhering to different restrictions.

On Sunday, he said the county has seen fewer cases than it expected due to the shelter policy. Public cooperation has made a difference in lowering the number of cases and hospitalizations. It's not the time to slack off, however, he said.

"We're very concerned about spikes. Every pandemic in the history of the world has had two to three spikes," he said.

Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez joined Smith for the Friday teleconference and applauded the staff of the county and individual cities for their work. However, she added, "I don't feel that way about the whole rest of the country," particularly pointing to states without their own shelter orders and physical distancing protocols.

"The way I see this is we're going to slowly open up the economy based on how safe the workplaces are that we're sending people into, because the last thing we want to do is put people in harm's way, and furthermore put their families in harm's way," Chavez said. "People who are not following this order are risking the lives of whole other states and countries."

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said that his city is "in the food distribution business now" as a result of the health crisis, with about 160 employees producing about 2 million meals per week. He also expressed the need for increased testing for the coronavirus.

"I would love to see a much more focused public health effort at a federal level so that we're not all out there trying to do our own thing," Liccardo said.

Smith similarly took aim at the federal government, criticizing the country's leaders for "diversion, disinformation and lack of preparation" in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Santa Clara and San Mateo counties' COVID-19 cases

As of Sunday, Santa Clara County has 2,084 total confirmed cases of the coronavirus, an increase of 48 from Saturday. The county also reported a total of 100 coronavirus-caused deaths and 163 people currently hospitalized. According to data released Saturday, Palo Alto has 68 cases and Mountain View has 45.

San Mateo County has a total of 1,080 cases of the coronavirus, with a death toll of 41 as of Sunday. Seventy-four people are hospitalized.

Autopsy report implicates virus in fatal heart attack

The autopsy report on the first person known to have died of COVID-19 in the United States, San Jose resident Patricia Cabello Dowd, 57, states that the viral infection contributed to a heart attack that proved fatal.

The report, which is a public record under California law, was obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle. Initially written on Feb. 7, the day after Cabello died, it was only signed by Santa Clara County Medical Examiner Susan Parson on April 23. In the intervening time, public health officials have stated, tissue from Dowd was sent for testing to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which confirmed her death was related to COVID-19.

According to the autopsy, Dowd experienced a heart attack. That attack led to a rupture of her left ventricle (one of four chambers in the heart), which allowed blood to fill the sac around the heart, ultimately preventing her heart from pumping.

Although one of the common causes of heart attacks is coronary artery disease, Dowd had "no significant degree" of plaque, nor any blood clots, in her arteries, the report stated. What the coroner did find in her heart was the coronavirus RNA and inflammation, even in the right ventricle, which did not rupture.

The virus was also present in her lungs, trachea and intestines.

The report did not state that Dowd, who was 5 feet, 1 inch tall and 165 pounds, had pre-existing health conditions that would have made her more vulnerable, such as diabetes or hypertension.

Dowd experienced flu-like symptoms in January, according to media reports, long before community spread of the new coronavirus had been suspected in Santa Clara County.

The autopsy report stated that Dowd tested negative for influenza A and B and a respiratory virus known as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Four types of parainfluenza viruses were also "not detected," the report states.

Santa Clara County public health administrators said on April 21 that Dowd did not travel out of the country before contracting the virus. Officials said that the CDC also confirmed two other county deaths as related to COVID-19: a 69-year-old man who died on Feb. 17 and a person whose death was reported on March 6.

"What these deaths tell us is that we had community transmission far earlier than our systems allowed us to detect," Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a statement. "The virus was likely introduced and circulating in our community earlier than we had known."

Simitian town hall addresses food takeout risks, hospital readiness

On Sunday, April 26, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian hosted a telephone town hall meeting, which included updates from Paul Lorenz, CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center hospital system; Greta Hansen, chief assistant county counsel; and County Executive Jeff Smith.

Lorenz said that as of April 26, the county's health system, which includes three public hospitals, has 165 COVID-19-positive patients. The county still has 40% of its acute-care capacity available.

There are 800 ventilators available across all hospitals in the county, including public and private institutions.

In addition to hospitals, the county's surge facilities, such as a field hospital at the Santa Clara County Convention Center, are 100% available, Lorenz said.

Addressing hospital preparation, Hansen said the county has acquired 17 million pieces of personal protective equipment, which have been distributed within the county's hospital system.

Many hospitals, including those within the county's system, are experiencing financial struggles because they haven't been able to do elective surgeries, which provide revenue. They are all looking at their ability to maintain employment for their workers, Lorenz said.

Smith said that testing capacity is still inadequate and had sharp criticism for the nation's leaders. The federal response to testing "should've gotten started a few months ago. We didn't get tests from the CDC until the first part of February and those tests were defective," he said.

Although the World Health Organization has a test that is available, county public health departments are hampered by law from using anything from overseas or from sources other than the CDC, and the tests must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, he said.

Private companies are supplying tests to hospitals and clinics now, but the county still doesn't have anywhere near the needed number of tests, which would help local leaders to better understand the spread of the virus, he said. To date, 23,000 tests have been completed with about 2,000 returning positive results for the coronavirus, he said.

Related to residents' concerns about the potential health risks of ordering takeout food from restaurants, Hansen said county environmental health teams are conducting site inspections to ensure restaurants are maintaining food safety and following public health department guidance related to the coronavirus.

Smith said there is no data linking takeout food and the coronavirus, but health workers are watching for the possibility. So far, they have not been able to conduct contact tracing of all coronavirus cases, which involves following up on everyone with whom a coronavirus-positive person came into contact, to see if the takeout food process has transmitted the virus, he said.

On the issue of serving vulnerable populations, the county has a strike team of doctors and nurses who are keeping an eye on nursing homes, Smith said. They make sure staff has enough personal protective equipment — gloves, masks, gowns and face shields — and that they are following protocols. Staff members in nursing homes are being tested for COVID-19, he said.

Teams are also going into the homeless community. Everyone who has been identified as having the coronavirus has been quarantined in a hotel room and is receiving support services, he said.

Simitian also conducted a poll for listeners to identify their chief concerns. On Sunday, 33% said the health and welfare of seniors and at-risk family and friends is their top concern; 27% said hospital capacity and the ability to handle a surge worries them most; 32% identified the impacts on the economy and jobs; and 8% said education and schools.

Three weeks ago, twice as many people identified hospital capacity as their chief concern, Simitian said. He plans to hold another town hall teleconference on May 17. His office will send out a registration link before the event.

Counties take tougher stances on face coverings

Last week marked the beginning of San Mateo County's new order requiring face masks, which went into effect on Wednesday morning. Residents must cover their face while outside of their homes and inside an essential business, including grocery stores, hospitals and even ride-sharing vehicles.

Santa Clara County hasn't followed suit in making face masks mandatory but earlier this month said it was "strongly urging" residents to cover their face when leaving their home. Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody was asked Friday why she didn't go the same route as other Bay Area counties in making face coverings a legal requirement, subject to enforcement by local police departments.

In a live Q&A sponsored by the nonprofit news organization San Jose Spotlight, Cody said that law enforcement has many priorities and that she didn't want to divert enforcement resources away from those priorities and towards people wearing face coverings.

"When I issue a health office order, I mean it. And I want law enforcement to take action. I didn't really see that law enforcement would be going to grocery stores and citing people for not wearing face coverings," she said.

Cody also said that she hopes wearing a face cover in public will become a "social norm" so that when people go outside without the covering, "It should feel funny. It shouldn't feel right. It should feel OK when you're in your home, with your household (not to wear one), but when you're not at your home and out and about, you should feel like something is missing. It's like not having your glasses on."

Cody also made her rounds on national media outlets on Thursday, speaking to CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta at a coronavirus town hall and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on her eponymous news show for a nearly eight-minute segment.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 24

On Friday, Santa Clara County saw its total of coronavirus cases rise to 2,018, which divides to about 1,015 males, 995 females, seven of unknown gender and one identified as "other" gender.

The latest data also shows Palo Alto has 68 cases, which represents 0.1% of the city population, and Mountain View has 43, representing 0.05% of the city population. San Jose has the most cases in the county — 1,344 — which represents 0.1% of the city's population.

There are a total of 98 deaths in the county, which splits to 58 men and 40 women.

Of the 176 people hospitalized with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease, 86 are in acute beds and 86 are in ICU beds. Patients without the disease occupy 870 acute beds and 151 ICU beds, leaving 647 and 114, respectively, available.

County data doesn't state how many COVID-19 patients are in surge beds or using ventilators. As of Friday, 16 surge beds are filled, with another 1,215 on hand as needed, and 127 ventilators are in use, with another 677 available as needed.

Out of the 22,034 people who have been tested for the coronavirus, 2,018 received positive results, 19,737 received negative results and 279 are pending results. The numbers show a 9.2 test positivity rate. Results turn around on an average of 1.8 days.

The county's data on testing and long-term care facilities have not been updated as of about 5:45 p.m. Friday.

Meals for seniors of California

A new three-meal program for isolated and vulnerable seniors was announced by the state on Friday to not only support dependent seniors, but also local restaurants that have been economically ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative, called "Restaurants Deliver: Home Meals for Seniors," will provide eligible individuals with three nutritious meals per day through the partnership of local restaurants, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a Friday press conference.

Eligible seniors include those who are high-risk individuals with compromised immune systems, below the federal poverty line by 600% or have been directly impacted by the pandemic. The restaurants that can participate in the program will be determined on a local level, Newsom said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse 75% of costs for the entire program and the remaining 25% will be funded by local governments. Newsom said that the state will help counties pay three-quarters of their share.

Participating restaurants will be reimbursed up to $16 for each breakfast meal, $17 for lunch and $28 for dinner.

Through "Restaurants Deliver," Newsom hopes that this will give restaurant owners the opportunity to retain or rehire staff members and boost business, while also providing an estimated 1.2 million isolated seniors essential care.

Seniors interested in the program should call 211 or visit covid19.ca.gov for more information.

Newsom also unveiled the "Friendship Line" call center, created in partnership with the Institute on Aging, to provide emotional support for isolated seniors. The hotline can be reached at 888-760-1360.

Prioritizing long-term care facilities

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department is prioritizing seniors and staff at long-term care and skilled nursing facilities for testing of COVID-19.

During a Friday press conference at the county's Emergency Operation Center, Santa Clara County Public Health Department officials briefly addressed how the county has responded to COVID-19 cases at these facilities that house seniors — among the most vulnerable members of the population when it comes to the coronavirus.

Dr. Elsa Villarino, county assistant public health officer, said sharing information is one of the key steps to preventing more COVID-19 cases. The county has assigned public health nurses to talk with residents and staff at care facilities and provide infection control and prevention guidelines.

Part of that guidance also includes contact tracing. Villarino said that anytime a case is discovered at these facilities, an investigation will be conducted to find out with whom the infected individual has come into contact. The Public Health Department will then conduct lab tests for those who may have been exposed to the virus.

In addition, the county will continue to provide extra staffing to maintain a reasonable staff-to-patient ratio and supplement personal protective equipment for any facility experiencing a shortage, according to Villarino.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 23

Santa Clara County's total of coronavirus cases climbed closer to the 2,000 mark on Thursday. Of the total 1,987 cases, 95 have resulted in death and 178 have been hospitalized.

There are about 1,000 men, 980 women, seven people of unknown gender and one person identified as "other" gender who have the disease. The number of deaths break down to 58 and 37 women.

The city-by-city case data showed no change for Palo Alto, which has 67 cases that represent 0.1% of the city population, and Mountain View, which has 43 cases that represent 0.05% of the city population. Twenty-two more cases have raised San Jose's total to 1,324, the most in the county. Its total represents 0.1% of the city's population.

The total of people tested for COVID-19 now stands at 21,064, 1,987 of whom had positive results, 18,799 of whom had negative results and 278 of whom are pending results. The numbers show a 9.6% test positivity rate. Results turn around on an average of 1.9 days.

As of Thursday, San Mateo County has a total of 989 cases of the coronavirus, 535 of whom are female and 454 of whom are male. The death toll rose to 41 as of Thursday, up from the total of 39 reported on Tuesday. The number breaks down to 21 men and 20 men.

Of the total cases, 67 with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized, 17 of whom are in intensive care. Another 35 patients without the virus are also in ICU, leaving another 32 ICU beds available as needed. Eleven of 297 surge beds and 24 of 246 ventilators are in use throughout the county, which doesn't state how many are being used by COVID-19 patients.

Debt relief for Californians

Californians in debt will now receive some relief under a new executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Thursday.

As stimulus checks from the federal government arrive, Newsom said at a Thursday press conference that he will ban debt collectors from garnishing the relief funds. The order will also be retroactive. If debt collectors already collected any checks, then they must return them.

The ban does not apply to individuals who owe child care or spousal support as well as those who owe compensation to victims.

In addition, Newsom said that 21 out of 24 California-based student loan providers have agreed to give college students in debt a 90-day forbearance, which means they do not need to make regular monthly payments during that time period. There will also be no late fees, penalties and impacts to credit ratings, but rather support for new payment plans, Newsom said.

The state will also start distributing 90,000 testing swabs from the federal government on Friday. Though Newsom announced on Wednesday that President Donald Trump promised 100,000 swabs, the governor said that the rest of the 10,000 will be accounted for next week.

Newsom also gave a sharp rebuke to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's suggestion on Wednesday that states should file for bankruptcy instead of getting federal support.

The governor was unequivocal when he said that the senator's idea was "offensive" to both Democrat and Republican governors and "expects he'll take back his comments."

Newsom also provided updated numbers for the COVID-19 crisis, citing Thursday as one of the worst days of the pandemic for the state in terms of the number of deaths. In the past 24 hours, 115 people died from the coronavirus and there was a 5.6% increase in positive COVID-19 cases.

Newsom added that there was a 0.4% decrease in hospitalizations and 1.2% decrease in intensive care unit-admitted patients.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 22

Santa Clara County has 1,962 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up by 16 from the previous total, according to new data the county posted online Wednesday.

Of the 1,962 cases, about 990 are male, 960 are female, seven are of unknown gender and one identified as "other" gender. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 69.

• 21 to 30 years old: 230.

• 31 to 40 years old: 332.

• 41 to 50 years old: 334.

• 51 to 60 years old: 369.

• 61 to 70 years old: 264.

• 71 to 80 years old: 196.

• 81 to 90 years old: 106.

• 91 years old or over: 61.

• Unknown: 11.

The latest data also shows Palo Alto has 67 cases, which represents 0.1% of the city's population. Mountain View has a total of 43 cases, which represents 0.05% of the city's population. At 1,302, San Jose has the most cases in the county. Its total represents 0.1% of the city's population.

The county has recorded a total of 94 COVID-19 deaths, six of which are new. Fifty-seven of the deceased were men and 37 were women. When it came to pre-existing conditions, 86.2% of the deceased had one or more, 8.5% were unknown and 5.3% had none. Here's a breakdown by age group.

• 31 to 40 years old: 4.

• 41 to 50 years old: 5.

• 51 to 60 years old: 14.

• 61 to 70 years old: 13.

• 71 to 80 years old: 26.

• 81 to 90 years old: 18.

• 91 years old or over: 14.

Latino/Hispanic and Asian residents had the most cases based on the list of deaths by race. Here's a full breakdown by percentage in descending order:

• Latino/Hispanic: 31.9%.

• Asian: 30.9%.

• White: 25.5%.

• African American: 6.4%.

• Other: 5.3%.

There are 191 people hospitalized with COVID-19 or suspected of having the disease, 86 of whom are in acute hospital beds and 72 of whom are in intensive care beds. Non-COVID-19 patients are occupying 771 acute beds and 134 ICU beds, leaving another 665 and 105, respectively, available as needed.

The county's hospital data provides cumulative totals for surge beds and ventilators in use, regardless of whether they have the coronavirus. Seventeen surge beds are occupied and 186 ventilators are in operation, with another 1,617 and 671, respectively, available as needed.

A total of 20,416 people have undergone testing for the coronavirus, of which 1,962 had positive results, 18,169 had negative results and 285 are pending results. The county's test positivity rate stands at 9.6% and the average turnaround for results is 1.9 days.

The county's data on cases at long-term care facilities didn't have new information on Wednesday.

San Mateo County has a total of 966 cases of the coronavirus as of Wednesday, 520 of whom are female, 445 of whom are male and one of unknown gender. The death toll remains at 39, which splits to 21 men and 18 women.

Of the total cases, 67 with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized, 21 of whom are in intensive care. Another 30 patients without COVID-19 are in ICU, leaving 33 more beds available as needed. County data shows 13 of 292 surge beds and 50 of 246 ventilators are in use, but don't state how many are being used by coronavirus patients.

New findings suggest 'iceberg' of COVID-19 cases

At a Wednesday press conference, Dr. Sara Cody addressed new reports of three COVID-19-related deaths in the county, which she called "iceberg tips … to some iceberg of cases of unknown size."

The deaths occurred before March 9 — the date of the first coronavirus-associated death originally recorded in the county.

Based on new findings from the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office, health officials now know that the first case belonged to a 57-year-old woman, who died on Feb. 6 — over a month before the March 9 death and more than three weeks before the first recorded death in the U.S.

More than a week later, on Feb. 17, a 69-year-old man died of COVID-19. Then on March 6, a 70-year-old man died of the same disease. Cody said there were no records of significant travel history for any of the individuals, allowing health officials to "presume community transmission."

The delay in the early deaths was due to a lack of testing for COVID-19 at that time, according to senior health planner Evelyn Ho, who read a statement from the county coroner's office at the press conference.

Anytime an individual shows flu-like symptoms before death, it's common protocol for a medical examiner to perform studies for any viral illnesses, Ho said. The three individuals exhibited flu-like symptoms but tested negative for other viruses, raising suspicion from the medical examiner that the cause of death was related to COVID-19.

Ho said that the coroner's office then sent autopsy tissue samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further examination and received confirmation on Tuesday that the three individuals died from the coronavirus.

The findings raised many concerns from online viewers during the Facebook Live conference, who left comments that asked what this means for the current stay-at-home order, which on March 31 was extended to May 3.

Cody did not comment on any changes to the order, but said the new findings suggest community transmission of the disease was much earlier than what county health officials originally detected.

"We anticipate that this pandemic is going to be going on for a very, very, very long time," she said. "We know that we do not have immunity in the population nor do we have a vaccine, so anytime that we let up on our mitigation measures, we are going to expect to see a spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths — that is certain."

State to ramp up COVID-19 testing

After weeks of COVID-19 testing that has come in dribs and drabs, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced at a press briefing on Wednesday that the state is ramping up its testing for the coronavirus with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of swabs needed for the testing.

Newsom said the state has tested 465,325 people so far, but that sum is inadequate. The state can't consider lifting its stay-at-home order until it has completed much more testing and contact tracing (the act of following up with whoever has been in contact with a COVID-19 patient and testing those people).

Currently, the state has tested 16,000 patients per day, but Newsom said the goals are to reach 25,000 per day by the end of April and 60,000 per day over the next months. Ultimately, the state hopes to test 80,000 people each day using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which tests for the presence of the virus in nasal/throat swabs.

The testing has been hampered by shortages of components necessary for taking and preserving the samples, the latest being the swabs. Newsom said he spoke with President Donald Trump at around 11 a.m. Wednesday about the need for components for the tests, and Trump has assured him the state will receive 100,000 swabs this week, 250,000 by next week and a "substantial increase" by the third week. Each swab represents another person who can be tested, he added.

The state is also looking at building "an army of tracers," perhaps as many as 10,000 people, who will help with tracing and tracking people who have the disease and the people with whom they have been in contact.

Newsom said the state is also working with Google and Apple to develop smartphone apps for symptom tracking that would aid in the contact tracing efforts.

The state is also opening 86 testing sites in rural areas and communities of color — so-called "testing deserts" — in order to have equal access to testing, Newsom said.

Newsom also announced plans to allow hospitals and health systems to resume delayed medical care, such as heart-valve replacements, angioplasty and tumor removals, and key preventive care services, such as colonoscopies – which were deferred as the state's health care delivery systems prepared for a surge of COVID-19 patients. The decision was based on progress the state has made toward preparing hospitals for a surge in COVID-19 patients. Read more here.

Santa Clara County unveils data on cases by race

For the first time, Santa Clara County on Wednesday released information on the race and ethnicity of its nearly 2,000 cases, a majority of whom are Hispanic/Latinx.

The county has 1,962 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 94 deaths. Here's a breakdown by race in descending order:

• Hispanic/Latinx: 35.9%.

• Asian/Pacific Islander: 22.5%.

• White/Non-Hispanic: 18.9%.

• Unknown: 16.7%.

• Other: 3.9%

• African American/Black: 2.0%.

The county noted in a press release Wednesday that the data could change given about 17% of its cases are currently of an unknown race as more data becomes available.

"The County recognizes that social determinants of health, including race/ethnicity, employment, and income may significantly affect the distribution of cases and the severity of cases across the community," according to the press release. "The County and its community partners are actively working together to support and provide needed resources to communities who may be more vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 through multiple strategies."

Stanford withdraws relief application

Stanford announced Wednesday that the university has decided to withdraw its application for federal relief funds to make money available for smaller colleges and universities. "Like all universities, Stanford is facing significant financial pressures during this time of unprecedented uncertainty," the university said in a statement. "However, we realize that this crisis represents an existential threat for many of the smaller colleges and universities that are such a critical part of the fabric of higher learning in the United States. We believe strongly in the importance of keeping these institutions viable in order to provide access to higher education for as many students as possible, and we had concluded that this should be a priority. "

Stanford assured students that it is "fully" committed to providing their financial aid despite the fact that half of the federal funds, from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund section of the CARES Act, were to be applied to student grants.

Addressing concerns about passing COVID-19 through food packaging

At a Wednesday press briefing at the Santa Clara County Emergency Operations Center, Michael Balliet, director of the county Environmental Health Department, assured residents that there has been no substantial evidence that the coronavirus can be transmitted through food packaging when ordering takeout or buying groceries.

It is "unlikely" that someone can transmit COVID-19 through food packaging, and there is "absolutely no evidence that that has occurred at this point" based on multiple reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, World Health Organization and the European Union, Balliet said.

The director said that the best precautionary measures residents can take is to always maintain a 6-foot distance, wear a mask and thoroughly wash their hands.

For more information on food safety, visit sccgov.org.

New education partnership

On Wednesday, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the Santa Clara County Office of Education announced a new partnership that will provide local school districts with pro-bono services to address immediate challenges and longer-term recovery efforts related to COVID-19, including distance learning; staff and families' social-emotional needs; food services; and emergency child care for essential workers.

Silicon Valley Community Foundation is supporting the effort with a $1 million donation, which has also been matched by Genentech. The organizations are urging others to donate to support local public school students.

"The impact of COVID-19 on our students and school communities has been severe and widespread, and existing equity gaps are more pronounced than ever," said San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee. "My hope is that the San Mateo County community will join in this effort to hold up our students hardest hit by this global pandemic."

SamTrans schedule changes

SamTrans is modifying its schedule starting this Sunday to reduce service on 31 routes as a result of ridership rates dropping between 66-70% since the shelter-at-home order went into effect last month.

Passengers can expect most routes to run on Saturday schedules during the weekday. Route ECR, which runs between the Palo Alto Transit Center and Daly City BART, will operate buses every 20 minutes during the weekday and maintain its Saturday and Sunday schedules.

A full list of the changes can be found at samtrans.com.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 21

Santa Clara County is now home to the nation's first deaths from the coronavirus.

The county received confirmation Tuesday that two people who died Feb. 6 and 17 at their homes had the virus that causes COVID-19, earlier than deaths in Washington state announced Feb. 29 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Tuesday night, Santa Clara County said it received confirmation from the CDC that three people who died in February and March had the coronavirus.

The county Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office conducted autopsies on two of the individuals who died at their respective homes on Feb. 6 and 17. Samples from the residents were submitted to the CDC. Another person who died in the county on March 6 was also found to have COVID-19.

The county had previously stated that a woman in her 60s who died on March 9 was its first death connected to the coronavirus. She succumbed to the disease at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View where she was admitted for several weeks.

It's not clear whether the three deaths are captured in the county's total of 88 deaths or raises the total to 91. A request for clarification from the county was not immediately returned.

New COVID-19 cases, deaths

Twenty-seven more people have been infected by the coronavirus in Santa Clara County, where the total number of COVID-19 cases rose to 1,946 on Tuesday, 175 of whom are hospitalized. Of the total, about 960 are female, 980 are male, seven are of unknown gender and one was identified as an "other" gender.

Five more people have died of COVID-19, bringing the county's total number of deaths to 88, which splits to 54 men and 34 women. A majority of the deceased had one or more underlying health conditions, according to the county's deaths dashboard.

The latest data also shows Palo Alto has 67 cases, which represents 0.1% of the city's population. Mountain View has 43 cases, which represents 0.05% of the city's population. San Jose has the most cases in the county — 1,288 — which represents 0.1% of the city's population.

There are 86 people with or suspected to have COVID-19 in acute hospital beds and 72 in ICU beds. That leaves 771 acute beds and 134 ICU beds occupied by other patients without the virus, with another 665 acute beds and 105 ICU beds available as needed.

Seventeen surge beds and 186 ventilators are being used throughout the county, but the hospital data doesn't divide those numbers between patients with or without the virus. Another 1,617 surge beds and 671 ventilators are available as needed.

Of the 19,928 people who have tested for COVID-19, 1,946 had positive results, 17,707 had negative results and 275 are pending results. The information indicates a 9.8% test positivity rate in the county, where results on average turn around in 1.9 days.

Nineteen more cases were identified at long-term care facilities, where the total of COVID-19 cases is at 357. Fifty of those individuals have been hospitalized and 31 have died.

San Mateo County has a total of 958 cases of the coronavirus as of Tuesday. When sorted by gender, 511 are female, 446 are male and one is unknown. Here's a breakdown of the cases by age group:

• 19 years old or under: 29.

• 20 to 29 years old: 139.

• 30 to 39 years old: 159.

• 40 to 49 years old: 169.

• 59 to 59 years old: 161.

• 60 to 69 years old: 144.

• 70 to 79 years old: 70.

• 80 to 89 years old: 59.

• 90 years old or over: 38.

The death toll rose to 39 on Tuesday, up from the total of 28 reported on Monday. Twenty-one were men and 18 were women. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 50 to 59 years old: 2.

• 60 to 69 years old: 6.

• 70 to 79 years old: 6.

• 80 to 89 years old: 11.

• 90 years old or over: 14.

Here's a breakdown of county's deaths by race in descending order:

• White: 24.

• Asian: 10.

• Hispanic: 3.

• Black 1.

• Unknown: 1.

Of the total cases, 72 with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized, 22 of whom are in ICU. Another 32 ICU beds are occupied by non-COVID-19 patients and another 19 available as needed. County data doesn't differentiate between patients with or without the virus in surge beds or using ventilators, which is currently 14 and 47, respectively. The county has another 221 surge beds and 199 ventilators available.

A total of 9,092 people have tested for the virus in the county, 958 of whom had positive results, 8,002 of whom had negative results and 132 of whom are pending results. The test positivity rate is at 10.5% and results turn around in 1.9 days on average.

Santa Clara County waives penalty fees on property taxes

Late payment penalties on property taxes will be waived for the 2019-20 tax year in Santa Clara County.

The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved Supervisor Joe Simitian's proposal to waive the 10% penalty and $20 fee attached to late property tax payments, according to a news release from Simitian's office. This applies to penalties and fees attached to the second installment of property taxes that were due on April 10.

The board also agreed to work on two other points of Simitian's proposal: publicizing different payment options, which includes partial payments of property taxes, and finding "relief measures" for taxpayers who have not paid the second installment of property taxes as of July 1. Measures could include, but are not limited to, waiving, reducing or refunding redeemed penalties and fees, the release states.

“I'm told that a proposal of this type … sort is unprecedented, but then so is the crisis at hand," Simitian said in a statement. "If we've got a tool we can use to provide relief, we should use it."

New website connects Californians to volunteer opportunities during pandemic

During a Tuesday press conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the new website that connects the public to volunteer opportunities such as delivering donations to food banks, providing tutoring services, answering calls at 211 help centers and lending a hand at shelters, among other areas. Residents also can volunteer for skill-specific services such as accounting and translation.

Californians who want to volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic can apply at californiansforall.ca.gov.

Newsom also responded to several inquiries about the extent of local counties' authority to begin slowly opening up businesses. Counties can start to open up businesses as long as they don't supersede the statewide stay-at-home orders, Newsom said in response to a question about Riverside County reopening golf courses.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 20

Santa Clara County's total of coronavirus cases reached 1,922 on Monday with the addition of 41 new cases. Of the total, about 940 are female and 980 are male.

Since Friday, the county's total number of deaths has gone up by 10 to 83, which breaks down to 31 women and 52 men.

The county unveiled a new online chart that shows the number of new cases by specimen collection date rather than the date the positive test result was reported to the state's database. The new method "more closely represent(s) the timing of the spread of the virus in Santa Clara County," according to a press release. The dashboard shows that on March 30, 78 specimens collected resulted in positive results, the largest of any day since Feb. 17. The county site also notes that values for the most recent five days may likely go up as more results come in.

Monday's data also shows 189 with or suspected to have COVID-19 are hospitalized, 107 of whom are in acute hospital beds and 82 of whom are in intensive care. Another 19 surge beds and 186 ventilators are in use, though county data doesn't differentiate between COVID-19 patients and others hospitalized for other reasons.

The latest data also shows Palo Alto has 66 cases, which represents 0.1% of the city's population. Mountain View has 43 cases, which represents 0.05% of the city's population. San Jose has the most cases in the county — 1,227 — which represents 0.1% of the city's population.

The county has recorded 19,463 people tested for the virus, 1,922 of whom received positive results, 17,291 of whom received negative results and 250 of whom are pending results. The numbers indicate a 9.9% positivity rate. Results turnaround on an average of 1.9 days.

Of the 1,922 cases, 338 originated in long-term care facilities. Forty-eight are hospitalized and 26 have died.

San Mateo County has a total of 935 cases of the coronavirus, 504 of which are female and 431 of which are male as of Monday. The death toll remains at 28, which breaks down to 17 men and 11 women.

Of the total cases, 59 with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized, 18 of whom are in intensive care. Twenty-five surge beds and 49 ventilators are also in use, though the county's data doesn't differentiate between COVID-19 patients and others hospitalized for other reasons.

70K laptops and tablets to close 'digital divide' for low-income students

Laptops, tablets and Wi-Fi hot spots will be distributed throughout California in an effort to close the digital gap between low-income students and online distance-learning methods that schools have adopted since local and state stay-at-home orders went into effect in March.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel Newsom, his wife and the state's first partner, announced at a Monday press conference that tech companies are giving over 70,000 laptops and tablets to the effort. The donors include Google, Microsoft, Apple and T-Mobile.

The state Public Utilities Commission also will invest $25 million to increase Wi-Fi hot spots and $5 million for electronic devices to help make distance learning more accessible.

The initiative will build on Google's commitment to provide 100,000 free Wi-Fi hot spots and 4,000 Chromebooks, which Newsom previously announced on April 1.

In addition, Newsom said seven buses will be converted into mobile Wi-Fi hot spots. If the project proves successful, the initiative will be rolled out on a larger scale. According to a separate Monday press statement from the governor's office, the California State Transportation Agency will partner with the city of Sacramento to deploy the program. The buses will be able to provide connectivity within at least a 500-foot radius from where they will be parked for four to eight hours.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey as well as venture capitalist John Doerr and his wife Ann's private family foundation will each donate $1 million to help purchase more electronic devices, according to the news release.

The governor also plans to expand on the six indicators he unveiled on April 14 that would determine whether the state is prepared to modify its stay-at-home order. Further details will be unveiled this Wednesday, Newsom said.

Testing for COVID-19 is on Newsom's radar. By the end of this month, Newsom said he hopes to have the capacity to conduct 25,000 tests per day, along with a significant increase "in multiples" by May. He did not provide details for how the state would achieve that goal.

County updates briefings schedule, reminds residents to maintain social distance

Santa Clara County Public Health Department will reduce its press briefings to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only starting this week. The briefings will be aired live at 10 a.m. on the department's Facebook page.

County Public Information Officer Hilary Armstrong said during Monday's briefing that the move is to focus on reports of critical developments within the Emergency Operations Center.

Armstrong also addressed why the number of new COVID-19 cases in the county had not been updated on the Public Health Department's online dashboards over the weekend. She attributed the reporting delay to a "data update in the state's Reportable Disease Information Exchange," an electronic disease reporting and surveillance system. She said the online dashboards will continue to be updated today.

County officials also reminded residents to continue social distancing, noting that they've personally seen too many cars on U.S. Highway 101.

"Unless a lot more people became essential workers, you all are bending the rules a little bit," said Marianna Moles, public information officer for Santa Clara County.

To socially distance means to refrain from seeing anyone outside of your household, said Moles, unless it's for essential business such as going grocery shopping, but only when food supply is low. Residents should not be visiting friends or families outside of their household.

Call center taking questions submitted online

Palo Alto's Community Support Call Center is now accepting questions submitted online on topics related to the COVID-19 crisis, such as the shelter-at-home order, city services and local resources, among other topics. The call center will continue to stay open on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 650-272-3181. Anyone who is experiencing a life-threatening emergency is asked to call 911.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 18-19

The Peninsula collectively has a total of 2,790 cases of the coronavirus, according to the latest data available on Sunday.

In Santa Clara County, the total of COVID-19 cases climbed to 1,870 on Friday with the announcement of 37 new cases. The total number of deaths has jumped by four to 73, 47 men and 26 women. The county did not release numbers on the total cases and deaths over the weekend due to a data update in the Reportable Disease Information Exchange, a resource managed by the state Department of Public Health, which prevented the county from obtaining updated information.

As of Sunday, there were 200 people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Santa Clara County, 107 of whom are in acute beds and 82 of whom are in ICU.

San Mateo County's total of cases reached 920 on Sunday, 496 of whom are female and 424 of whom are male as of Friday. The death toll remains at 28.

Of the total cases, 61 with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized, with 16 of those patients in intensive care.

Cases at skilled nursing facilities

As of Friday, 13 skilled nursing facilities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties have one or more health care workers or patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, according to new data published Saturday by the California Department of Public Health.

The list names 11 skilled nursing facilities in Santa Clara County, including Mountain View Healthcare Center and Los Altos Sub-Acute and Rehabilitation Center. San Mateo County reported two facilities: The Sequoias Portola Valley retirement community and Burlingame Long-Term Care nursing home.

The list identifies a total of 258 skilled nursing facilities throughout the state that have reported one or more positive COVID-19 cases from a staff or patient. This includes long-term care facilities, nursing homes, retirement communities and rehabilitation centers for seniors. There are 1,224 skilled nursing facilities in California, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Centers with fewer than 11 COVID-19 cases do not provide a specific number of infected individuals or a timeline of when these cases were identified.

Mountain View Healthcare Center reported fewer than 11 health care workers and patients with the coronavirus, while the Los Altos Sub-Acute and Rehabilitation Center showed fewer than 11 cases only within its staff members. No centers in Palo Alto were identified.

Most of the skilled nursing facilities in Santa Clara County with COVID-19 cases were based in San Jose, where the highest number of cases came from the Canyon Springs Post-Acute nursing home with 25 health care workers and 39 patients who have tested positive.

In the two San Mateo County facilities, Burlingame Long-Term Care nursing home had fewer than 11 health care workers and patients with COVID-19, while The Sequoias Portola Valley retirement center only reported fewer than 11 cases within its staff.

A total of 1,290 health care workers and 1,740 patients in skilled nursing facilities throughout the state have tested positive for COVID-19.

View the complete list at cdph.ca.gov.

California finds 16K hotel rooms for homeless

California has acquired nearly 16,000 hotel rooms as part of a statewide initiative to shelter vulnerable individuals experiencing homelessness.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the new milestone on Saturday outside of a Motel 6 in Santa Clara County. According to the governor, it's set to be one of 47 Motel 6 buildings throughout 19 counties in the state that was provided by the budget motel chain to aid the initiative called, "Project Roomkey."

With Motel 6's contribution, it will provide 5,025 rooms on top of the additional 10,974 rooms the state separately acquired, surpassing the project's initial goal of 15,000 rooms in a matter of weeks. Newsom said 4,211 vulnerable homeless individuals have now been placed in one of the 10,974 rooms the state has locked in.

The initiative was launched on April 3 with the goal of prioritizing sheltering homeless individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, were exposed to the coronavirus or are high-risk individuals such as seniors who are age 65 years or older or already have underlying health conditions.

Funding for the new shelters comes from a mix of federal and state government support as well as through public and private partnerships. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had already agreed to reimburse the state 75% of the costs to purchase the rooms and provide staffing. California will provide $650 million in emergency grants.

Newsom also said that the occupants will be fed three meals a day through partnerships with local restaurants and World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit founded by celebrity chef José Andrés that provides meals during natural disasters.

In addition, an extended goal of "Project Roomkey" is to segue into more long-term solutions for the homelessness crisis, which Newsom acknowledged on Saturday was an issue long before the COVID-19 pandemic and the most prevalent in the state compared to the rest of the country.

Newsom said that he hopes to purchase these rooms in the future to create permanent sheltering options for the homeless. One of the strategies he outlined at an April 3 press briefing is to seek contracts with properties that have month-to-month occupancy leases and allow right of first refusal — the ability to enter into a transaction before any other party can.

With Motel 6, Newsom stated that he has created a template with "language" that sets the state up with an opportunity to purchase some of the 47 sites provided by the chain, but didn't elaborate on the idea.

Since the outset, Santa Clara County has also been cooperative with the project, taking its own initiative as well to house the homeless. On Friday, the county announced that it successfully placed all homeless individuals known to have tested positive for COVID-19 in temporary housing.

Newsom took the time to praise the county's efforts by bringing up Santa Clara County Board of Supervisor President Cindy Chavez and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo to provide a few comments at Saturday's press briefing.

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Santa Clara County's total of coronavirus cases climbed to 1,870 on Friday with the announcement of 37 new cases. The cases are almost evenly distributed by gender, with about 950 being male, 910 being female, 10 of unknown gender and 1 identified as "other" gender.

The total number of deaths has jumped by four to 73, 47 men and 26 women.

The latest data also shows no change to Palo Alto's total, which stands at 63 and represents 0.09% of the city's population. Two more cases in Mountain View have brought the city's total of cases to 42, which represents 0.05% of the city's population. Twenty more cases have brought San Jose's total to 1,232, the highest of any city in the county. Its total represents 0.1% of the city's population.

There are 187 people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Santa Clara County, 110 of whom are in acute beds and 71 of whom are in ICU. Patients hospitalized for other reasons make up 847 acute beds and 139 ICU beds in the county. That leaves 723 acute beds and 92 ICU beds unoccupied.

Nineteen surge beds and 194 ventilators are being used throughout the county, leaving 1,1615 and 663, respectively, available as needed. Data provided by the state Department of Public Health doesn't identify which ones are being used by COVID-19 patients and which ones are being used by patients hospitalized for other reasons.

Of the total 17,774 people tested for the virus, 1,870 reported positive results, 15,660 reported negative results and 244 are pending results. The numbers indicate a 10.5% test positivity rate. Results on average turn around in two days.

Thirteen more cases were recorded at long-term care facilities across the county. Of the 322 cases, 44 are hospitalized and 22 have resulted in death.

The county announced on Friday that it has housed homeless people who have or are suspected of having the coronavirus. They have been placed in hotel rooms, noncongregate temporary housing and added shelters that have enough physical distance between the individuals. There are 35 homeless people who are confirmed with the virus.

Another 236 homeless people have been placed in hotel/motel rooms and 277 other homeless individuals are in shelters that have enacted physical distancing measures.

As of Thursday, the county has 453 hotel/motel rooms in San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Morgan Hill and Gilroy, according to a press release. County officials are searching for more temporary housing sites to provide shelter for the homeless.

New recommendations on masks

On Friday, both counties scaled up their calls for the public to wear face masks. In San Mateo County, a new order that requires residents and essential employees to wear face coverings when out in the public will be enforced starting this Wednesday at 8 a.m. Santa Clara County, which was previously "recommending" the public wear masks, is now "strongly urging" face coverings.

This is a "critical recommendation," Dr. Sara Cody said in a YouTube video published Friday evening. The new guidance comes as more research emerges on COVID-19.

Santa Clara County addresses evictions, housing assistance

To address housing inequalities being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Clara County officials joined Jennifer Loving, CEO of Destination: Home, a San Jose-based nonprofit homelessness prevention agency, at a Friday press conference streamed live to review the county's current eviction moratorium. The Board of Supervisors approved the temporary ban on March 24 to protect tenants from being evicted during the coronavirus crisis.

Deputy County Counsel Christopher Cheleden said the order applies to all cities in the county, even those that have not established their own eviction moratoriums.

If landlords want to end a lease, Cheleden said the ordinance requires they give tenants notice of why they're being evicted, present their rights under the current ordinance and provide them possible sources for rent relief and assistance.

Cheleden also said that the moratorium could be extended by the county Board of Supervisors beyond its original May 31 expiration date, though he did not specify when and for how long.

For more information on the ordinance, visit sccgov.org.

Destination: Home and Sacred Heart Community Service are also in the process of distributing $11 million to about 4,500 people who have applied for the agencies' COVID-19 relief fund, Loving said. Last month, the money was quickly exhausted to support those heavily impacted by the crisis. She assured more financial assistance will be on the way.

Low-income residents impacted by COVID-19 can apply for financial assistance at sacredheartcs.org.

Testing San Mateo County's first responders

For first responders and health care workers in San Mateo County whose daily work puts them at high risk of being exposed to people who have COVID-19, it just got easier to get tested for the coronavirus.

These workers – including health care workers, paramedics, firefighters, police officers, as well as those who work in clinics, senior care facilities and nursing homes – can now be tested for the coronavirus for free within 24 hours of requesting a test, according to San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy.

The drive-thru testing center is located at the San Mateo County Event Center in San Mateo and is operated by Verily Life Sciences, an Alphabet company.

Verily's screening process had previously set strict standards for who could access tests, and according to Callagy, the number of tests administered has been far below the capacity of the testing center in recent days.

Callagy said that as more tests become available, the county is hoping to lower the standards at which tests are administered to the general public so that they can be more widely available.

Visit the Project Baseline screening survey see if you qualify for a test.

Newsom creates new state economic recovery task force

A new bipartisan task force made up of industry leaders and both former and current government officials was announced on Friday. The group will focus on recovering from what Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a "pandemic-induced recession."

The members include Walt Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger, Apple CEO Tim Cook, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The advisory committee will be co-chaired by Newsom's Chief of Staff Ann O'Leary as well as billionaire and former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, who provided a few comments at Friday's press briefing. Newsom said the panel consists of 80 members and will be divided into subcommittees representing different sectors of the economy such as entertainment and retail.

Since March 12, around 3.1 million state residents have filed for unemployment insurance, effectively ending a 10-year streak in unprecedented job growth, according to Newsom.

"We were enjoying the lowest unemployment in modern American history," Newsom said, citing 3.4 million jobs created since the 2008 Great Recession. "It ended officially with our March numbers."

On Friday, the state also experienced the worst death toll since the beginning of the pandemic, with 95 lives lost due to the coronavirus.

No specific plans for the economic recovery task force were detailed, but Newsom said that its actions will be determined by what's safest for the public's health and guided by science and facts.

Insurers ordered to refund two months of premiums

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has ordered insurance companies to return premiums to consumers and businesses during the COVID-19 emergency.

Lara's April 13 order covers premiums paid for at least March and April and includes the month of May if shelter-at-home restrictions continue.

At least six different areas of insurance fall under the order: private passenger automobile, commercial automobile, workers' compensation, commercial multi-peril, commercial liability, medical malpractice and other insurance products where the risk of loss has fallen substantially as a result of the pandemic.

Californians are driving fewer miles and many businesses are closed due to the health emergency, so premiums no longer reflect present-day risks of accident or loss, Lara said in a statement.

The commissioner's bulletin requires insurance companies to provide a premium credit, reduction, return of premium or other appropriate premium adjustment as soon as possible, and no later than August. Lara has already requested at least a 60-day grace period for policyholders to pay their premiums so that insurance policies are not canceled for nonpayment of premium during the crisis. The two actions will give consumers and businesses substantial financial relief, he said.

The University of California, Davis' Special Report on the Impact of COVID-19 on California Traffic Accidents found that there are fewer accidents, injuries and fatalities on public highways and roads due to reduced driving from the shelter-in-place order. Falling payroll and receipts due to closure orders have also dramatically reduced risk of a liability loss for businesses.

Several auto insurance companies recently announced voluntary premium refunds to drivers, he noted. The state will also monitor insurance companies’ compliance with California’s consumer protection laws so that refunds are not discriminatory or inadequate.

The insurance companies must report all premium refunds they’ve issued or expect to issue within 60 days to the Department of Insurance.

Telephone town hall

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian has announced plans to host a telephone town hall on the coronavirus on April 26. He will be joined by County Executive Jeff Smith, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center CEO Paul Lorenz and Greta Hansen, the county's chief assistant county counsel.

Those interested in joining the meeting, scheduled at 11 a.m., can register here.

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On Thursday, Santa Clara County reported 40 new cases of the coronavirus, raising its total to 1,833, about 930 of whom are male, 890 of whom are female 8 of whom are of unknown gender and one identified as "other" gender.

The latest data also shows one more case was added to Palo Alto's total, which is now at 63 and represents 0.09% of the city's population. Three more cases in Mountain View have brought the city's total of cases to 40, which represents 0.05% of the city's population. At 1,202, San Jose has the most cases in the county. Its total represents 0.1% of the city's population.

Four more people who died of the virus has brought the city's total number of deaths to 69, which splits to 45 men and 24 women.

Out of 17,061 tests performed in the county, 1,833 returned positive results, 15,008 returned negative results and 220 are pending results. The test positivity rate is at 10.7% and the average turnaround time for results is two days.

Out of the 1,833 cases, 309 originated from long-term care facilities, nine of which are new. Forty-two people at the facilities have been hospitalized for COVID-19 and 17 have died from the disease.

San Mateo County has a total of 797 people with the coronavirus, 434 of whom are female and 363 of whom are male as of Thursday. The death toll remains at 28.

Of the total cases, 71 with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized, with 18 of those patients in intensive care. County hospitals have placed another 32 patients without the virus in ICU, leaving 27 ICU beds unoccupied. Fifteen of the county's 262 surge beds and 44 of its 247 ventilators are in use, though county data doesn't differentiate which ones are for COVID-19 patients and patients hospitalized for other reasons.

Food workers to receive paid sick leave during coronavirus crisis

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a statewide executive order on Thursday that will provide essential food industry employees with two weeks of paid sick leave if they test positive for COVID-19 or were forced to quarantine because they were exposed to the virus. It applies to California workers of large employers.

Newsom did not outline every type of employee in the supplemental order, but defined it broadly as those who work in the food sector, including farm workers, fast food chain employees, delivery people and grocery store staff.

The order also provides health and safety standards that allow workers at food facilities to wash their hands every 30 minutes or as needed to increase proper sanitation measures.

In addition, Newsom did not provide further comment on the nationwide guidelines for "phased reopening" of the country's economy, which President Donald Trump will be releasing on Thursday night at 6 p.m. EDT. The governor only commented that the booklet of guidelines is being sent out in "real time" for state officials to review soon.

Newsom did not know exact details in terms of the content of the booklet. Based on a conference call with state governors and members of the White House administration, including President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, "it certainly is in line with what we were hoping to hear," he said.

Resources for people facing domestic violence

Though staying at home is a combatant against the spread of the coronavirus, it can also leave people vulnerable to domestic violence.

Carla Collins, manager of Santa Clara County's Office of Gender-Based Violence Prevention, said at a Thursday press briefing that the global pandemic has added stresses such as financial burdens that can often make home an unsafe place.

"All of this can negatively impact survivors and actually create circumstances where safety is further compromised," Collins said.

Esther Peralez-Dieckmann, executive director of Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence has seen those effects. Without a private space such as the home or the office, calls to hotline centers have decreased, a signal that domestic violence survivors are having a difficult time in reaching out.

"When our clients have been able to reach us in the past, it's usually at a time where they have some privacy, during the day with people at work," she said. "But right now, during the shelter-at-place order, the victims are often housed with the perpetrator, so it's very difficult."

Resources are available for survivors, including hotline centers and online chat rooms that connect people one-on-one with domestic violence advocates — all of which are free and confidential.

Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence's hotline can be reached at 408-279-2962.

YWCA Silicon Valley, a San Jose-based nonprofit organization that provides a broad range of support services from housing assistance to therapy, has a 24-hour hotline that can be reached at 1-800-572-2782.

Safe Chat Silicon Valley can connect individuals one-on-one with an advocate in online chatrooms at safechatsv.org.

For more information and resources, visit sccgov.org.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 15

On Wednesday, Santa Clara County reported a total of 1,793 cases of the coronavirus, 71 of which are new. The virus has infected about 915 males, 869 females, eight people of unknown gender and one person identified as an "other" gender. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 3.4%.

• 21 to 30 years old: 11.8%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 17%.

• 41 to 50 years old: 17%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 18.1%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 13.2%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 9.9%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 5.6%.

• 91 years old or over: 3.3%.

• Unknown: 0.8%.

The latest data also shows no change in Palo Alto's total cases, which remains at 62 since Monday and represents 0.09% of the city's population. Three more cases in Mountain View have brought the city's total of cases to 37, which represents 0.04% of the city's population. At 1,182, San Jose has the most cases in the county. Its total represents 0.1% of the city's population.

Since Monday, five more people have died from the disease, bringing the county's death total to 65, which splits to 44 men and 21 women. When it came to pre-existing conditions, 84.6% of the deceased had one or more, 7.7% had none and 7.7% were unknown. Here's a breakdown by age group.

• 31 to 40 years old: 4.6%.

• 41 to 50 years old: 6.2%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 13.8%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 13.8%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 29.2%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 24.6%.

• 91 years old or over: 7.7%.

Latino/Hispanic residents topped the list of deaths by race. Here's a full breakdown by percentage in descending order:

• Latino/Hispanic: 35.4%.

• White: 30.8%.

• Asian: 23.1%.

• African American: 6.2%.

• Other: 4.6%.

Out of 16,585 people who have tested for COVID-19, 1,793 received positive results, 14,591 received negative results and 201 were pending results. The county's test positivity rate stands at 10.8% and the average turnaround time for results is 2.1 days.

There are 300 COVID-19 cases at the county's long-term care facilities, 48 of which are new. Of the 300 cases, 40 patients are hospitalized and 15 have died. Forty-five more cases were reported from the county's 16 skilled nursing facilities, which account for 275 of the total, 35 of whom are hospitalized and 13 of which have died.

One independent living facility has recorded 14 cases, one of which has been hospitalized and two of which have died. One board-and-care facility reported a single case that has resulted in hospitalization.

Six assisted living facilities have reported 10 cases, three of which have led to hospital stays.

A total of 188 people with or suspected to have COVID-19 are hospitalized, 113 of whom are in acute hospital beds and 71 of whom are in ICU. Another 862 acute hospital beds are being used by patients without the virus and 707 more acute beds are available as needed. The county has 124 other ICU beds filled with other hospital patients and 104 more are unoccupied.

Nineteen of the county's 1,529 surge beds and 186 of the county's 835 ventilators are being utilized. The county data doesn't differentiate between COVID-19 cases and other hospital patients.

As of Wednesday, San Mateo County reported a total of 767 people with the coronavirus, 415 of which are female and 352 are male. Seven people who have died of the disease raised the death toll to 28, 17 of whom were men and 11 of whom were women.

The county is now announcing deaths by race. Here's a breakdown in descending order:

• White: 13.

• Asian: 10.

• Hispanic: 3.

• Black 1.

• Unknown: 1.

Of the 67 people hospitalized with COVID-19 or suspected to have the disease, 23 have been placed in ICU. Another 33 patients without the virus are also ICU, leaving 25 ICU beds available as needed.

Seventeen of 252 surge beds and 50 of 247 ventilators are in use in the county, but the latest data doesn't differentiate which ones are being used by patients with or without the virus.

Aid coming for undocumented workers, independent contractors

California will provide $125 million to undocumented workers — a population that accounts for 10% of the state's workforce and that will not benefit from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Along with $75 million in state funds, $50 million will be provided through philanthropic efforts spearheaded by the Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, an organization based in Sebastopol, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a Tuesday press briefing.

The state will disperse the money as grants to community-based organizations, which will then be responsible for delivering the aid. Households can receive up to $1,000, while individual workers can receive $500.

"I'm not here to suggest that $125 million is enough," Newsom said. "But I am here to suggest that it's a good start."

In addition, self-employed and independent contractors in California will be able to apply for the federal government's Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program starting April 28.

State Labor Secretary Julie Su said that the program is currently being set up in a way to ensure that people will receive checks within 24 to 48 hours of filing an application. She also said that the payments will be retroactive. Workers can receive money for unemployment that dates as far back as the first week of February if they can show that they were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic at that time.

Newsom also signed an executive order Wednesday to extend hours of the state Employment Development Department's call center.

With more than 2.7 million workers applying for unemployment insurance just in the past month, according to Newsom, the center will now operate everyday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., to address the long queue of callers seeking unemployment resources. The department increased its staff to 1,340 employees to answer more calls.

County health official clarifies her authority on stay-at-home orders

Days after President Donald Trump said his position allows for "total authority" to lift stay-at-home orders across the country during a Monday White House press briefing, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody clarified what the extent of her power is to enact or lift those orders in the county.

"In California, the local county public health officer has the authority and the power to make decisions," Cody said at a Wednesday briefing. "The orders that we've had in Santa Clara County … those are health officer orders and they are to protect the public health."

The health officer then restated her position on easing sheltering orders that she had initially announced on Tuesday: It is too early to lift restrictions. Though the county has seen a slowdown in the coronavirus' spread, there continues to be an increase of cases and hospitalizations, she said.

"We're not out of the woods yet," Cody re-emphasized.

San Mateo County offering free rides to testing center

San Mateo County is providing free rides to residents who meet the requirements for COVID-19 testing but don't have the means to reach the Verily testing site at the San Mateo County Event Center

The county has reconfigured cars to make sure patients and drivers don't have physical contact.

Residents can visit projectbaseline.com to determine if they're eligible for a test and schedule an appointment if needed. Those in need of a ride can make arrangements by calling the testing site at 650-779-9375 on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Santa Clara County launched a new dashboard that provides more insight into COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities on Tuesday. There are 252 cases, 40 of which are hospitalized and 13 of which have resulted in death, according to the data provided by the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange.

"We are paying special attention to long-term care facilities because their clients are at higher risk for more severe disease from COVID-19," county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said in a statement. "We are acutely aware of this and have been actively investigating and responding to needs in LTCFs to protect our most vulnerable residents."

A bulk of the people were spread out across 16 skilled nursing facilities, which accounted for 230 of the total, 35 of whom are hospitalized and 11 of whom have died.

An independent living facility in the county recorded 11 individuals with the virus, one of whom is in the hospital and two of whom have died. One case was recorded at a board-and-care facility.

The county is aware of 10 cases from six assisted living facilities, three of which have led to hospital stays.

The county has a dedicated, specialized team that looks into coronavirus cases and possible outbreaks at long-term care facilities, according to a county press release. The Public Health Department launches an investigation into any facility that may be seeing an outbreak or is at risk of transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19.

The agency's next step could be more symptom screening and testing, which may incorporate people who were exposed to the virus and are asymptomatic; residents and staff.

In the event when the county confirms a positive case at a facility, department staff works to identify all the people the infected person crossed paths with. The process includes looking at the duration, frequency and proximity of the contact.

Nearly 200 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Santa Clara County as of Tuesday. Of the total 195 patients, 115 are in acute hospital beds and 76 are in intensive care, with another 802 and 134, respectively, in use by patients without the disease. Another 747 acute and 87 ICU beds are unoccupied.

In addition, 18 surge beds and 177 ventilators are in use across the county, with another 1,511 and 616, respectively, available as needed. The data provided by the state Department of Public Health doesn't list how many surge beds and ventilators are being used by coronavirus patients.

The county did not release new data on the number of cases, deaths and testing as of Tuesday evening due to technical issues with the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange, which is operated by the state Department of Public Health.

San Mateo County has reported a total of 747 cases of the coronavirus cases as of Tuesday, according to the county's data dashboard. Of the total cases, 403 are female and 344 are male. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 27.

• 21 to 30 years old: 101.

• 31 to 40 years old: 139.

• 41 to 50 years old: 129.

• 51 to 60 years old: 117.

• 61 to 70 years old: 107.

• 71 to 80 years old: 67.

• 81 to 90 years old: 37.

• 91 years old or over: 23.

The death toll has stayed at 21 since April 6. Ten of the deceased were female and 11 were male. It's unclear whether they had pre-existing conditions. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 51 to 60 years old: 2.

• 61 to 70 years old: 2.

• 71 to 80 years old: 4.

• 81 to 90 years old: 7.

• 91 years old or over: 6.

The latest hospitalization data shows 76 people with the virus or suspected to have the disease are hospitalized, 22 of whom are in ICU. Another 29 hospital patients without the virus are also in ICU, leaving 26 beds available.

Seventeen of the county's total 302 surge beds are in use and 50 of the county's 247 ventilators are being utilized. The county data provided by the state Department of Public Health doesn't distinguish how many ventilators and surge beds are being used by coronavirus patients and others hospitalized for different reasons.

The county's latest data also shows 7,163 people have tested for COVID-19 as of Tuesday.

What it would take to reopen Santa Clara County

As talks of easing stay-at-home restrictions are collectively discussed by state governors across the country, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody briefly addressed a few factors that need to be considered to move from broad shelter-in-place orders to more "focused measures."

At a Tuesday press conference, Cody said the county would need to ensure stable hospital and testing capacity and, as COVID-19 case numbers settle down, the ability to track the spread of the virus.

"We can't do it the way that we did it at the beginning of the outbreak — our case numbers are too high," Cody said. "But once we begin to settle those case numbers down, then we can transition into a more focused effort."

Cody said there's reason for "cautious optimism" given how the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing at a stable pace with 50-100 confirmed cases per day. She emphasized multiple times that the county is "not out of the woods."

"We're still probably at the beginning of what is going to be a very long marathon here in the county, across the region and indeed across the country," she said.

When will California relax its stay-at-home order? Ask Newsom in two weeks

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a sweeping outline of California's approach to loosening its stay-at-home order during a press briefing on Tuesday, but didn't provide a concrete timeline for when it will all happen.

Returning to some semblance of normalcy requires a consistent decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, as well as a strong statewide infrastructure, especially one that can readily take on a sudden surge of infection when stay-at-home measures are relaxed, Newsom said.

If those needs are met within the next two weeks, then he can provide a more specific timeline for easing the restrictions currently in place, Newsom said.

The six indicators that will determine whether the state is prepared to modify its measures include:

• Establishing a fortified hospital and alternative health care system with sufficient staffing, personal protective equipment and other critical resources to deal with any potential surge.

• Comprehensive monitoring capabilities, such as testing and contact tracing.

• Securing at-risk individuals such as seniors and the homeless population with options for health care and isolation.

• A continued effort to develop "therapeutics" or vaccines through public, private and academic partners.

• New guidelines for businesses, schools and other public spaces that support physical distancing.

• The ability to reinstate any social distancing measures if necessary.

"There's no light switch here," Newsom said. "I would argue it's more like a dimmer — this toggling, back and forth, from more restrictive to less restrictive measures."

Newsom and state Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angell didn't delve into specific numbers or goal posts that would determine when those six indicators are satisfied. Angell emphasized that the framework is not a list of indicators that "we check and we move on," but rather something that will continue to be assessed over time.

When stay-at-home orders are slowly lifted, Angell noted that it will not be a return to normal. Restaurants, for example, may have fewer tables and face coverings will be the new norm.

"This is not about going back to the way things were before," she said. "It's about going forward in ways that are healthy for all of us. But it won't look the same."

New hotlines connect unemployed workers with resources

Santa Clara County's Labor Standards Enforcement Office introduced two hotlines that would help employees, who have been laid off, furloughed or had their hours drastically reduced due to the pandemic, navigate critical resources such as unemployment insurance and legal aid.

In partnership with the Fair Workplace Collaborative, the office launched the COVID-19 Assistance Navigation hotline to directly connect workers affected by the health crisis to various social safety-net programs.

The free service is currently available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Interested callers can leave a voicemail at 408-809-2124 and expect a response within 24 hours.

The Fair Workplace Collaborative also has a free legal advice hotline staffed by employment law attorneys who can help workers with concerns such as discrimination, wage theft, paid family leave and unemplyoment benefits.

The hotline can be reached at 866-879-7725 and is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin and Tagalog.

For more information on other resources and benefits available to county residents, visit sccfairworkplace.org.

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On Monday, Santa Clara County reported a total of 1,666 cases of the coronavirus, 45 of which are new. The latest data also shows one more case in Palo Alto, which now has 62, which represents 0.09% of the city's population. There was no change in Mountain View's total, which stands at 34 and is equal to 0.04% of the city's population. Six more people have died from the disease, raising the county's total number of deaths to 60.

Of the total 1,666 people who tested positive, 197 are in the hospital. The county has 119 COVID-19 patients in acute hospital beds, another 827 being used by other hospital patients and 761 more available. Seventy-two patients are in intensive care and 136 non-COVID-19 patients are also in ICU, leaving 99 ICU beds unoccupied.

Nineteen surge beds and 184 ventilators are in use, with another 1,150 and 609, respectively, on hand as needed. The county data doesn't differentiate between ones being used by coronavirus patients and other hospital patients.

Of the 14,956 people tested for COVID-19, 1,666 had positive results, 13,670 had negative results and 193 are pending results. The county has a test positivity rate of 10.7% and results turn around in 2.1 days on average.

A 13th Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office employee has tested positive for the virus, the agency announced Monday. The individual, who works for the custody bureau, is under quarantine at their home.

A total of 73 employees in the office have tested for the virus as of Monday, 17 of whom are under quarantine or isolation. Six employees have recovered and been cleared for duty. Fifty-one county inmates have also undergone testing, of which two received positive results.

The Sheriff's Office coronavirus tracking data can be found here.

Santa Clara County's public information office hopes to establish two-way communication between the county and residents during the health crisis through a partnership with United Way's 211 call center, David Flamm, deputy director of the county's Office of Emergency Management said during a briefing Monday morning.

For more information about the county health orders and the resources that are available, call 211. For those with impaired hearing, text "coronavirus" to 211.

San Mateo County surpasses 700 cases

On Monday, San Mateo County reported a total of 721 coronavirus cases. The death toll is at 21; no deaths have been reported over the past week.

A total of 87 patients have been hospitalized with the virus as of Monday, 22 of whom are in intensive care. Another 26 ICU beds are occupied by people without the virus, leaving another 37 beds available as needed.

The county on Monday provided totals for how many surge beds and ventilators are in use, 102 and 56, respectively, though the numbers don't differentiate which ones are for COVID-19 patients and which ones are for other hospital patients.

On Monday, the county Sheriff's Office said its two employees who tested positive for the virus, as announced over the weekend, worked in correctional centers and not in inmate housing areas. No inmates, correctional officers or sheriff's deputies were reported to have the virus.

Free meals for high schoolers

The Sequoia Union High School District's food services department is offering breakfast and lunch meals to all district students for the rest of the 2019-20 school year, according to an email sent on Monday to district families.

Parents or students can pick up multiple breakfasts and lunches at once on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pick up locations are: SUHSD central kitchen at 300 James Ave. in Redwood City, East Palo Alto Academy at 1050 Myrtle St. in East Palo Alto and Menlo-Atherton High at 555 Middlefield Road in Atherton.

Social distancing and safe food handling procedures must be observed, according to the email.

For more information, go here.

California steps up for foster care children

The state has invested $42 million toward additional resources for foster care children, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday.

At his daily press briefing, Newsom addressed how in-home visits from social workers who check on children in the foster care system are low due to stay-at-home orders and school closures, which have removed another major point of contact for critical resources.

To ramp up support for families in the welfare and foster care system, $42 million will go toward supporting social workers and family resource centers that provide necessities, and a $200 per month program for families, among other services. A majority of the funding is coming directly from the state.

Newsom also said he hopes to extend the emancipation process for foster care children, the time period when children are released from foster care when they turn 18 years old.

For more information, visit cdss.ca.gov.

Kimberley Johnson, director of the state's Department of Social Services partially outlined how the money will be used: $27.8 million will support the $200 per month program, $6.8 million will provide extra support for social workers, $3 million will be earmarked for family resource centers and $1.7 million is for any additional resources children may need.

In addition, Newsom hinted at talks about an incremental release of the stay-at-home orders. The governor said that he will provide a "framework" for easing restrictions Tuesday afternoon.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 11-12

Santa Clara County saw its total of coronavirus cases and deaths rise to 1,621 as of Sunday with 55 new cases and three new deaths. The total number of deaths now stands at 54.

The county now has recorded 194 people hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Saturday, nine more than on Friday, with 72 of those patients in intensive care. On Friday, the county recorded 185 people hospitalized with the coronavirus, 100 fewer patients from the day before.

The county Public Health Department has also broken out cases by city. Palo Alto has 61 cases and Mountain view has 34 as of Sunday.

The total number of COVID-19 coronavirus cases in the state, meanwhile, has reached 21,794, with 651 deaths as of Sunday, according to the California Department of Public Health.

County and state officials put out public service announcements over the weekend asking people to continue sheltering in place over the Easter weekend and to refrain from holding public Easter egg hunts in parks.

$100 million to support child care

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the release of a $100 million child care package on Friday to support child care services and child care providers who are serving essential infrastructure workers and vulnerable populations and their children during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Of the funding, $50 million will go to the California Department of Education to pay for up to 20,000 limited-term, additional state-subsidized slots for child care. The other $50 million will go to the department to ensure child care centers, facilities and family-provider homes are safe and clean for the children and families they are serving. The funding reimburses the providers for the purchase of gloves, face coverings, cleaning supplies and other labor related to cleaning in accordance with federal and state public health and safety guidelines.

Sheriff announces positive cases

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office on Saturday announced that two of its professional staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. They have been quarantined at home and are under a physician's care.

The agency did not elaborate on the staff members but said they haven't been to work since late March. The two cases appear unrelated. The areas where they work have been professionally cleaned.

No inmates, correctional officers nor deputies have tested positive in the county correctional facilities. The correctional department is screening anyone who enters the facilities and with decreased inmates populations therein ample space to quarantine inmates if needed. The facilities are being deep sanitized regularly and inmates and staff practice social distancing, the department said.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 10

Santa Clara County's total of COVID-19 cases climbed to 1,484 on Friday, 42 of which were new. Of the total people with the coronavirus, an estimated 757 are male, roughly 712 are female, around 10 were of an unknown gender and about two were categorized as "other."

The county's death toll from the virus reached 50 on Friday, 33 of whom were men and 17 of whom were female. The county has also published data on the cases and deaths by age group, and deaths by race and whether the individual had pre-existing conditions, which can be viewed here.

New data also shows one more case in Mountain View, which brings the city's total to 31 and makes up 0.04% of the city's population. Palo Alto's total remains at 57 cases as of Friday, representing 0.09% of the city's population. San Jose, which has most of the county's residents, has a large bulk of the region's cases with 986, an increase by 29 from the day before. The virus has struck 0.1% of the city's population.

Since Thursday, the county has seen 100 fewer COVID-19 patients in the hospital. Of the 185 people hospitalized with the virus, 99 are in acute hospital beds and 76 are in intensive care beds. Another 818 acute beds and 123 ICU beds are being used by patients without the virus. The county has 771 acute beds and 104 ICU beds available as needed.

Eighteen surge beds are occupied (another 1,511 are ready as needed) and 194 ventilators (with 503 more available). The county data doesn't divide the total between COVID-19 patients and those hospitalized for other reasons.

Hundreds of more people have undergone testing for the virus in the county, where the total rose to 14,135 and the test positivity rate slightly dipped to 10.5%. Of the total, 1,484 tests were positive, 12,400 were negative and 251 are pending results.

As of Friday, San Mateo County reported 652 cases and the death toll has stayed at 21 since April 6.

More than 150 COVID-19 cases found in nursing homes

Nursing homes in Santa Clara County have 164 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among its staff and residents as of Thursday, the county's Public Health Department reported Friday. This includes "long-term care facilities" such as licensed skilled nursing, assisted living, independent living and board and care facilities.

Of the 164 people, 50 are staff members, the county department said in a press release.

To reduce the spread of the coronavirus among the most vulnerable individuals, the department said that it is "actively investigating and responding" to the concentration of cases in those nursing homes.

The agency will provide testing within facilities where there may be COVID-19 outbreaks, and "aggressive interventions" will be implemented in locations where the virus may have spread. In addition, disaster service workers and other health care professionals will be deployed to support any facilities that are understaffed. Workers in long-term care facilities can also visit sccgov.org for more guidance.

Reducing the jail population

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office plans to release approximately 100 inmates in the next several days "due to increased COVID-19 restrictions," according to a press release issued Friday.

Maguire Correctional Facility, which has a maximum capacity of 684 inmates, had a population of 486 as of Feb. 29 and is down to 356 as of Friday. Maple Street Correctional Center, which can hold 832 inmates, had 483 inmates as of Feb. 29 and is now down to 302, the Sheriff's Office said.

Santa Clara County also plans to release inmates and place them in involuntary home detention in an effort to reduce the jail population and lower the risk of spreading the coronavirus across the county's jail facilities.

California looks out for seniors

California is prioritizing some of its resources, including the USNS Mercy hospital ship docked in the Port of Los Angeles, to care for its seniors — one of the most vulnerable groups of people to contract the coronavirus.

In addition to the hospital ship and seven unspecified sites that will be used to isolate and care for older adults, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a Friday press briefing that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will support struggling local restaurants by having them deliver three nutritious meals daily to isolated, homebound seniors.

Part of the initiative is to relieve the current strain on the Meals on Wheels program, which distributes around 50,000 meals each day, according to Newsom.

"This state has a disproportionate number of aging and graying individuals, and we have a unique responsibility to take care of them," Newsom said. "Meals on Wheels alone can't do what is required to protect and meet the needs of our seniors."

Nursing homes have become a hot spot for positive COVID-19 cases. According to Newsom, out of the 1,224 "skilled-nursing facilities in California," not including the 7,461 facilities licensed through the Department of Social Services, the state is closely monitoring 191 locations where a total of 1,266 patients and staff tested positive for the coronavirus.

And within the 7,461 smaller nursing facilities, Newsom said 94 locations are being monitored because 370 patients and staff members contracted the virus.

Licensed vocational nurses and certified nursing assistants are also getting a small boost from the state. Using the $25 million donation from Facebook previously announced on March 31, Newsom said LVNs and CNAs can soon receive $500 stipends to stay in hotels and properly isolate themselves if necessary.

In addition, state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly explained how social distancing measures helped slightly flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases. Without strong interventions, California quickly could have been on its way to 700,000 hospitalizations by around May. Currently, Ghaly said the state is on a good track and doing better than expected projections, even when factoring in the interventions.

But he emphasized that there can be a strong peak in hospitalizations at any moment if current measures are loosened.

Reporting child abuse

In observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month in Santa Clara County, acting Director of the county's Department of Family and Children's Services Daniel Little spoke briefly at a Friday press conference on what to do if residents see a child potentially in danger or being neglected.

"With this current public health emergency we know there's additional burdens and stressors placed upon children and placed upon families," Little said."And we want to make sure that as a community that each and every one of us understands our part in ensuring the safety and well being of all the vulnerable populations within our county."

Emergency response social workers are available 24 hours a day at 833-SCC-KIDS (722-5437). Additional resources can be found at the county's Child Abuse Prevention Council's website.

San Mateo County open spaces to be closed on weekends

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District will close all of its open spaces in San Mateo County on weekends starting this Saturday.

The closures, which apply to all district open space areas in the county, are in response to a request by San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow, according to the district.

The weekend closure announcement comes on the heels of many local park closures that have been implemented as park rangers in the area report visitor numbers to be higher than average and some instances where social distancing protocols are not being followed.

Read more here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 9

On Thursday, Santa Clara County unveiled more detailed data that shows how its total 1,442 cases — 62 of which are new — distribute across its 15 cities. Palo Alto has 57 cases, translating to 0.09% of the city's population with the virus, and Mountain View has 30, which makes up 0.04% of the city's population. San Jose has the most cases in the county with 957, which makes up 0.09% of the city's population.

“With various levels of testing in different communities, the city-level data do not necessarily represent the level of spread in these cities,” said County of Santa Clara Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. “Whether there are three confirmed cases or 100 hundred confirmed cases in any given city, we must behave as if the virus is everywhere, because it is.”

Out of the total cases, about 735 are male (or 51%) and 692 are female (or 48%). Exactly 285 people are hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 189 of whom are in acute beds and 84 of whom are in intensive care. Another 754 acute beds and 105 ICU beds are available in the county.

The county's hospital data shows 205 ventilators and 18 surge beds are in use, with another 493 and 1,511, respectively, on hand as needed. The information doesn't differentiate between those with COVID-19 and other patients.

The county also debuted data on deaths by race. Of the 47 people who have died of the disease, 36.2% were Latino/Hispanic, 34% were white, 23.4% were Asian, 4.3% were African American and 2.1% were identified as other. The total also breaks down to 33 men and 14 women.

Records show 13,360 people have tested for the virus, of which 1,442 returned positive, equal to a 10.8% positivity rate; 11,667 returned negative; and 251 are pending.

San Mateo County has reported a total 638 cases, 5 of which were announced Thursday. Of the total, 350 are female and 288 are male. The county's death toll stands at 21.

The county also reported 86 people with the virus were hospitalized as of Thursday. Twenty-seven of those patients are in intensive care unit beds, with another 32 being used by non-COVID-19 patients and 32 others available in the county. The county's hospitals are using 97 surge beds (with another 330 more available) and 53 ventilators (with another 159 available). The county's data doesn't divide the total of people using surge beds and ventilators between patients with and without the virus.

Ready for an expected surge

Paul Lorenz, CEO of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, assured residents on Thursday that the county's health care system is well prepared for the expected surge of COVID-19 patients.

Even as the pandemic continues, visits to the hospitals' emergency rooms are down to 33% of the typical volume, going from a high of about 600 to 650 individuals to between 150 and 200 currently, Lorenz said at the county's daily morning briefing. Of the visitors, roughly a quarter have influenza-like illnesses and, of those, between 10% and 15% test positive for COVID-19.

The county has also recently acquired two community hospitals – O'Connor Hospital in San Jose and St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy – acquisitions that allow the system to add 340 beds, including 200 that would be ICU-ready, Lorenz said.

He credited the county's shelter-in-place order issued on March 16 with containing the number of cases and giving county hospitals adequate time to prepare for a possible surge.

"The time that the public health officer has given your public health care system has been invaluable," Lorenz said.

California offers hotel rooms, flights for traveling health care workers

Health care workers and caregivers responding to the pandemic can receive vouchers, stipends and, for any low-wage workers, full reimbursements for hotel stays throughout California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a Thursday press briefing that the state has been able to acquire over 150 hotels as part of a "bulk-purchasing" program through the state's Department of General Services.

"Some of the nicest and finest hotel chains in the world are participating in this program, providing deep discounts to the state of California," Newsom said. "And we will extend those deep discounts to our caregivers and, in other cases for low-income workers, we'll provide 100% reimbursements so that they're allowed to stay closer to their patients."

The program will also allow workers not to worry about potentially spreading the coronavirus to their families, said Newsom.

Interested health care workers can view the list of participating hotels at caltravelstore.com.

Airlines have also stepped up to aid potential out-of-state health care workers participating in the state's Health Corps initiative Newsom announced on March 30. United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines have offered fully reimbursed, round-trip flights into California for any out-of-state health care employees who have signed up for the program that was created to relieve California's health care system.

As of Thursday afternoon, 86,516 people have signed up through healthcorps.ca.gov.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 8

Santa Clara County has a total of 1,380 cases of the coronavirus, 95 of which were announced Wednesday. Of the total patients, about 704 are male (or 51%) and roughly 662 are female (or 48%). Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 3.1%.

• 21 to 30 years old: 12.3%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 18.3%.

• 41 to 50 years old: 18.6%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 18.2%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 13.3%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 9%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 4.4%.

• 91 years old or over: 2%.

• Unknown: 0.8%.

New data released Wednesday showed 278 COVID-19 patients are in the hospital, 168 of whom are in acute beds and 89 of whom are in intensive care. Another 736 acute beds and 100 ICU beds remain available in the county. The hospital data dashboard also showed 18 surge beds and 195 ventilators are in use, while another 1,511 and 422, respectively, are on hand. The information doesn't show how many are being used by COVID-19 patients.

The total of county residents who have tested for the virus climbed to 13,008 on Wednesday, 1,380 of which returned positive (which shows a 10.6% positivity rate), 11,404 of which were negative and 224 of which are pending results.

A 25-year-old man who was taken to the Main Jail in San Jose on Monday tested positive for COVID-19, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday. The inmate, who is homeless, informed deputies while he was getting booked that he was exposed to the virus through a friend.

The man was transferred to an infirmary where he remains isolated while medical staff continues to monitor his condition. The initial arresting officer or officers from San Jose police were informed of the possible exposure, the sheriff's office said.

The first inmate who tested positive for COVID-19 last month has since recovered and was released from custody, according to the agency.

The Sheriff's Office has started screening new arrestees in the sally port area outside of the jail, where health care staff are checking for dry cough, shortness of breath, fever and whether the individual was exposed to someone with the virus.

Three more people have died of the disease, raising the death toll to 46, 32 of whom were male (or 70%) and 14 of whom were female (or 30%). When it comes to pre-existing conditions, 80% had one or more, 8.7% had none and 10.9% were unknown. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 21 to 30 years old: 2.2%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 2.2%.

• 41 to 50 years old: 8.7%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 10.8%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 15.2%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 28.3%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 28.3%.

• 91 years old or over: 4.4%.

On Wednesday, San Mateo County reported a total of 633 cases, 344 of whom are female and 289 of whom are male. Residents between 31 and 41 years old made up 116 of the total, the largest age group infected with the virus. The death toll stands at 21, 11 of whom are were male and 10 of whom were female.

The latest hospitalization data for the county showed 76 people with the coronavirus were hospitalized as of Wednesday. Fifty-six COVID-19 patients were in intensive care (with another 35 ICU beds available). The numbers provided by the state showed 103 surge beds and 52 ventilators were in use, though the information doesn't show how many are being used by COVID-19 patients. Another 160 ventilators and 324 surge beds are on hand as needed.

Out of 5,919 people who have tested for the virus, 644 returned positive (indicating a 10.9% positivity rate), 5,182 returned negative and 93 are pending results. It takes an average of 2.2 days for results to return, according to the county.

County asks residents to hand over protective equipment

Santa Clara County issued a new order on Wednesday requiring all residents, organizations and businesses with personal protective equipment and other critical items to treat COVID-19 patients, such as ventilators, to report their inventory to the county.

Any individual or entities with more than 5,000 nitrile or vinyl gloves, 500 N95 masks as well as surgical or procedure masks, 500 hair-covering bonnets, 500 shoe coverings, 100 containers of sani wipes and cloths, 100 safety goggles, 100 face shields, 100 long-sleeved protective gowns and coveralls, 10 large or gallon-sized containers of hand sanitizer (or 100 small or medium containers greater than 8 oz.) and any number of ventilators must disclose that information in a one-time online survey at sccphd.org/cv19ppe. The results will be kept confidential.

Dr. Jennifer Tong of the Santa Clara County hospital surge capacity team said at a Wednesday press briefing that local hospitals have the supplies they need to address the current number of hospitalized patients with the coronavirus (as of Tuesday, there were 277 COVID-19 patients in the hospital). But to prepare for a possible surge of local COVID-19 cases, she emphasized that the county cannot exclusively depend on state and federal support for protective equipment and ventilators.

"This is a unique situation in which the disaster is so widespread across our state and across our country that we can't rely solely on our state and federal government," Tong said. "We really have to turn locally to see what capacity for inventory exists here in our county."

Mike Wasserman, vice president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, added that the county expects a shortage of equipment assuming the current rate of cases continues and no additional equipment enters the local health care system.

A specific number for the amount of protective equipment needed can't be quantified, Tong said. The need continues to evolve based on many factors, including the volume of patients entering the hospital, the varying ways medical workers expend these resources and how often they reuse protective equipment in a given week, he said.

For those who want to donate protective equipment, visit vmcfoundation.org.

State invests over $1 billion for protective equipment

California will invest over $1.4 billion to purchase and distribute more personal protective equipment to medical workers and essential employees such as grocery store clerks, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

To meet the state's goals of acquiring more personal protective equipment, including 500 million N95 masks, Newsom said at a Wednesday press conference that he formally submitted a request to the state Legislature to tap into California's Disaster Response-Emergency Operations Account.

Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, said that the state also will partner with nongovernmental organizations, large firms and vendors, such as Bear Mountain Development Company and JR Resources, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to acquire a steady flow of personal protective equipment.

Newsom also provided a limited portrait of the racial demographics that make up the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state. Of the 16,957 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Newsom's office was only able to analyze 37.2% of the aggregate data, which is around 6,306 cases.

Out of the 6,306 positive COVID-19 cases, Newsom said that 30% of the people identified as Latino, 6% as African American, and 14% as Asian. Newsom did not unveil the racial makeup for the rest of the cases.

County exploring exclusive vote-by-mail general election

Due to the coronavirus crisis, the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters is examining the option of a vote-by-mail only general election later this year.

The idea, raised by Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez at this week's board meeting, comes as many counties are voicing support for a vote-by-mail election this November, according to a press release from her office issued Wednesday.

"This is about preparing. The goal is to make absolutely certain that in sprawling and diverse Santa Clara County we are able to give every resident a way to vote in the 2020 presidential election on Tuesday November 3, 2020," Chavez said in the release. "At this point, because of the coronavirus outbreak there are no certainties about being able to vote."

Chavez's recommendation, which received unanimous support from the board, also calls on the Registrar of Voters to communicate voting rights at county jails, nursing homes and senior assisted living facilities, according to the release.

East Palo Alto takes further actions in response to crisis

On Tuesday, the East Palo Alto City Council took further actions to address the coronavirus crisis in relation to its RV Safe Parking Program, planning and building entitlements and construction activities, the city outlined in a press release Wednesday.

The RV Safe Parking Program will temporarily allow participants to stay on site for up to 24 hours a day while the shelter-at-home order is in place. Prior to Tuesday's decision, people with RVs were required to leave during daytime hours. The city is working with nonprofit Project WeHope to secure funds for other aspects of the program, such as 24-hour security and facilities for washing on-site, during the health crisis, according to the city.

The council also chose to extend current and unexpired planning approvals and building permits through Sept. 30, the press release states.

Essential construction will move forward, but the city's Chief Building Official will also consider requests from developers seeking to continue work on their projects while the order is in effect, according to the release. Residents can pursue projects that don't require an entitlement, such as switching to a tile floor, and are on a homeowner's property.

New initiative for families in need

The Menlo Park City School District and Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation launched MPCSD Helps, an initiative to provide district families in need with necessities such as housing, health care, money, gift cards or food pantry staples.

"MPCSD Helps will focus much of its effort on addressing food insecurity as more and more families are laid off, experience reduced hours, or contend with rising costs brought on by the pandemic response," according to a Wednesday, press release. "As the economic toll of the pandemic grows, we expect more families to reach out with needs."

Gift cards can be dropped off at the district office, 181 Encinal Ave. in Atherton, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

More information on necessities that can be donated and how to donate, go here or email [email protected]

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 7

Santa Clara County has a total of 1,285 cases of the coronavirus, 61 of which were announced Tuesday. One more person died of the disease, raising the death toll to 43.

As of Tuesday, 277 people with the virus are hospitalized, 172 of whom are in acute beds (with another 748 available) and 86 of whom were in intensive care beds (with another 90 available). The county is also using 17 surge beds (with another 1,512 available) and 202 ventilators (with another 443 available. The data doesn't distinguish which surge beds and ventilators are for coronavirus cases and other hospital patients.

The county also reported 11,782 people have undergone testing for the coronavirus, of which 1,285 received positive results (which translates to a 10.9% test positivity rate), 10,243 returned negative and 254 are pending results.

A dozen staff members at the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office have tested positive for the coronavirus. The workers have isolated themselves at home and "remain in good spirits," the agency said in a press release issued Tuesday.

Nine of the 12 employees are deputies. One works for the patrol division and the eight others are part of the custody bureau, two of whom have recovered and returned to work.

Two employees are custody support assistants at the Main Jail in San Jose and another employee is a records technician.

The Sheriff's Office is working with the county Public Health Department to prevent the disease from spreading to other people.

As of Tuesday, San Mateo County had a total of 617 cases of the coronavirus, more than two-dozen of which are new. Of the total patients, 330 are female, 286 are male and one was of an unknown sex. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 24.

• 21 to 30 years old: 75.

• 31 to 40 years old: 119.

• 41 to 50 years old: 101.

• 51 to 60 years old: 102.

• 61 to 70 years old: 95.

• 71 to 80 years old: 53.

• 81 to 90 years old: 32.

• 91 years old or over: 16.

The death toll stands at 21, 10 of whom were female and 11 of whom were male. It's unclear whether the deceased had pre-existing conditions. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 51 to 60 years old: 2.

• 61 to 70 years old: 2.

• 71 to 80 years old: 4.

• 81 to 90 years old: 7.

• 91 years old or over: 6.

Santa Clara County sees slowdown in cases

Dr. Sara Cody, the county's health officer, said Tuesday that COVID-19 cases in the county are doubling every two weeks, according to the latest counts. In early March, before the county began adopting increasingly stringent measures to mandate social distancing, cases doubled roughly every three days, Cody told the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

"The trend is exactly what we want to see: that we're lengthening the doubling time, we're slowing things down," Cody said.

Read more here.

Newsom: The curve is 'bending'

The oft-mentioned curve that doctors, researchers, government agencies and media outlets closely survey to track the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the nation appears to be "bending" and "stretching" in California, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

For the first time, the number of hospitalizations and patients in the intensive care unit diagnosed with COVID-19 increased by only a single-digit percentage, he said, citing the latest statewide numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations during his daily press conference on Tuesday.

The latest numbers show that California has 15,865 positive cases, 2,611 patients hospitalized and 1,108 patients in ICU. Those numbers reflect a 4.1% increase for hospitalizations and 2.1% increase for those in the ICU, compared to a 10.9% increase of ICU-admitted patients just last Saturday.

"That's not to suggest by any stretch of the imagination that we'll continue to see these declines," Newsom emphasized. "It's to only reinforce the importance of maintaining physical distancing and continuing our stay-at-home policy that has helped bend the curve."

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state's secretary of health and human services, explained that the bending curve means that the peak comes down but "also goes further out."

Newsom also outlined how the state is sending out a total of 500 ventilators at this time to east coast states: 100 to New York, 100 to New Jersey and 100 to Illinois, so far. On Monday, Newsom said that the state had 11,036 ventilators on hand, and sending 500 of those ventilators to the national stockpile would assist other states in more need. California would retain the ability to redeploy those ventilators, if necessary.

Newsom also addressed where the public can find help as the physical and mental health effects of being cooped up during the pandemic may be slowly taking its toll on some people. He said there are many hotlines, including texting services and chat lines, people of all ages can access at covid19.ca.gov for various concerns.

San Mateo County bans evictions of businesses in unincorporated areas

On Tuesday, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors banned evicting small commercial businesses in unincorporated parts of the county that can't afford to pay rent because their business has suffered as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The ordinance, which runs through May 31, applies to businesses that make under $2.5 million annually. It doesn't apply to businesses in cities, but county officials noted that cities may use the county's ordinance as a model to enact their own moratoriums on commercial evictions (the city of San Mateo already has).

Small businesses would be liable to pay back rent up to 180 days following the termination of the declared local emergency in San Mateo County.

Supervisor Warren Slocum, president of the Board of Supervisors, and co-sponsor of the ordinance, said businesses in his district have been keenly impacted by the shelter-at-home order.

"The businesses and families of North Fair Oaks work hard every day for themselves, their families and their communities," he said in a prepared statement. "They have pride in what they accomplish, even when it is a struggle. Right now, they like the rest of us trying to make sense of this virus are struggling even more. Providing relief from the fear of being evicted because they cannot pay rent — through no fault of their own — is one concrete step my colleagues and I are proud to take."

Light-rail service resumes Thursday

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority plans to resume light-rail service this Thursday, two weeks after trains were suspended due to a training operator who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trains will only run on weekdays every 30 minutes on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The agency is not collecting fare for the time being.

While service was on a break, the VTA deep-cleaned the trains and replaced upholstery seats with vinyl seats, which is an ongoing project for the agency.

Federal help for small businesses, nonprofits

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, plans to hold a webinar this Thursday at 4:30 p.m. for small businesses and nonprofits in her Congressional district to learn about resources they can utilize under a $2 trillion bill to provide relief during the coronavirus crisis.

Eshoo will discuss the funding and take questions with Julia Clowes, director of the Small Business Administration's San Francisco district office, which oversees 14 counties in northern California.

Anyone interested in joining the RSVP at eventbrite.com.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 6

Santa Clara County has a total of 1,224 people with the coronavirus, 17 of whom were announced Monday and 276 of whom were hospitalized. Three more people died of the disease, raising the death toll to 42.

Out of the 11,607 people tested for the virus, 1,224 returned positive, showing a positivity rate of 10.6%. Another 10,175 returned negative and 208 are pending results.

As of Monday, San Mateo County had a total of 589 cases of the coronavirus. Eight more deaths have brought the death toll to 21. The county's latest data from the state Department of Public Health also shows 159 people with the virus are hospitalized as of Saturday, 31 of whom are in intensive care. (Another 56 ICU beds are in use by other hospital patients and 40 more beds are available.) State data on the county also reported 67 surge beds in use, with another 348 available, and 63 ventilators in use, with another 111 available. The information on surge beds and ventilators doesn't differentiate which ones are used by COVID-19 patients.

Housing the homeless

As of Sunday, Santa Clara County has added approximately 602 shelter beds for homeless individuals and families. These beds will populate sites such as the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, Parkside Hall at the San Jose Convention Center and hotels.

Half of that number will make up for the approximately 300 shelter beds that were lost in order to meet the social distancing requirements, Ky Le, director of Santa Clara County's Office of Supportive Housing, said at a county press conference on Monday.

At the beginning of the shelter-at-home order, Le said that the county had the capacity to shelter around 2,100 unhoused individuals. However, some of that capacity was lost to comply with social distancing rules.

"We do have a net of over 300 shelter beds so far," Le said. "We're working to expand both congregate and non-congregate sites in the coming days."

In addition to increasing housing efforts for the homeless, the county continues to work with the Valley Homeless HealthCare Program for outreach and educating the homeless population on the virus.

In a press release Monday evening, the county said it has found temporary shelter for another 265 people who are unhoused and at risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19.

California locks in sites to house nearly 5,000 surge beds

California has acquired several sites to house 4,613 beds that will specifically serve patients with mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.

During a Monday press conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom stood inside the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento — the former home of the Sacramento Kings that's currently being transformed into an alternative care site for COVID-19 patients — to emphasize how the state is trying to meet the demand for 50,000 additional hospital beds for an anticipated surge of patients.

Around 30,000 surge beds can be housed within the state's existing 416 hospitals, according to Newsom. But the other 20,000 beds will need to be placed in various locations of different sizes throughout the state, including Sleep Train Arena, which Newsom said can hold 400 beds and will be operational "as early as" April 20.

The state also has secured sites up and down the coast at facilities such as the Seton Medical Center in Daly City with 220 beds, hotel rooms in San Carlos that account for 120 beds, St. Vincent Hospital in Los Angeles with 266 beds, the USNS Mercy hospital ship docked in Los Angeles with 550 beds, Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa with 520 beds and Porterville Developmental Center in Fresno County with 246 beds. There also are eight medical station sites provided by the federal government that will provide space for around 2,000 beds, including ones in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

Newsom hopes to staff some of the current and future sites with medical workers recruited through the state's Health Corps initiative announced a week ago. Newsom said 81,879 health care professionals have already signed up through healthcorps.ca.gov.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 4-5

The coronavirus continued to take its toll on the Peninsula over the weekend, when Santa Clara and San Mateo counties together reported a collective total of 154 new cases of the coronavirus.

On Saturday, the county reported 1,148 positive COVID-19 cases, representing 11% of the total tests conducted for the virus. One more person died of the disease, bringing the death toll to 39. On Sunday, 54 more cases brought the county's total to 1,207 and no new deaths were reported.

The virus infected 41 more people over the weeekend in San Mateo County, where the total of cases stood at 579 as of Sunday night. The death toll continues to stand at 13.

Temporary medical station welcomes first patients

A state Field Respite Center in Santa Clara opened its doors to two people with less-acute cases of the coronavirus, the county announced on Sunday.

Located at the Santa Clara Convention Center, the facility has beds, supplies and medication delivered by the National Guard and can accommodate up to 250 people. It was established with help from the state and federal governments to alleviate the volume of patients at hospitals in the area.

"Today's patients will have the ability to recuperate in a safe setting while still sheltering in place – keeping all of our residents and essential workers protected," county Supervisor Susan Ellenberg said in a press release.

State ramps up testing efforts

Gov. Gavin Newsom is looking to increase California's COVID-19 testing capacity through a new task force that represents a public-private partnership.

The task force is co-chaired by Dr. Charity Dean, assistant director of the state Department of Public Health, and Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California, a health plan provider.

Newsom said at a Saturday press conference that the state is currently working with University of California, San Diego, and University of California, Davis, to create a minimum of "five to seven hubs" for testing throughout the state and collaborating with various vendors to increase testing capacity.

Newsom also acknowledged Stanford University School of Medicine's first-in-the-state efforts to produce serology, also known as blood-based tests, which can help researchers further understand the virus by examining one's antibodies.

In addition to academic institutions, Abbott Laboratories, a company that makes medical devices, will provide 75 point-of-care testing sites, where results can be quickly produced in about five minutes, according to Newsom.

The efforts respond to the relatively low number of people within California who have been tested and received results so far. Newsom said that 126,700 people have been tested and 13,000 of those are still awaiting results.

"The issue of testing — I own that," Newsom said. "You deserve more and better."

Newsom also unveiled a new website, covid19supplies.ca.gov, for businesses and organizations interested in providing any critical equipment, from ventilators to viral testing media.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 3

On Friday, Santa Clara County's total of coronavirus cases went up to 1,094 with the announcement of 75 new cases, according to new data.

Of the total 1,094 cases, 53%, or 580, people are male and 47%, or 514, are female. Another 0.2% were identified as "other" and 0.6% as unknown. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 2.9%.

• 21 to 30 years old: 11.7%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 18.8%.

• 41 to 50 years old: 19.2%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 19.2%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 13.2%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 8.7%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 4%.

• 91 years old or over: 1.2%.

• Unknown: 1.1%

Two more people died of the disease, raising the death toll to 38, 27 of whom were male (making up 71% of the total) and 11 of whom were female (making up 29% of the total).

In addition, 76% had pre-existing conditions, 10.5% had none and 13.2% were unknown.

Here's a full breakdown of the people who died by age group:

• 21 to 30 years old: 2.6%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 0%

• 41 to 50 years old: 10.5%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 13.2%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 13.2%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 31.6%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 26.3%.

• 91 years old or over: 2.6%.

Nearly 10,000 people have been tested for the virus. Out of the total 9,910 people, 1,094 received positive results, 8,609 received negative results and 207 results are pending. The testing dashboard indicates a test positivity rate of 11% and an average turnaround time of 2.4 days.

Forty-two more people have been hospitalized with COVID-19. The number of coronavirus patients in the county now stands at 287, 199 of whom are in acute hospital beds (with 767 more available in the county) and 88 in intensive care unit beds (with 95 more available in the county). No COVID-19 patients were using surge beds or ventilators according to the county's hospital data.

Housing the homeless

To reduce the strain on homeless shelters during the statewide stay-at-home order that went into effect on March 19, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced during a Friday press conference that California is looking to secure a total of 15,000 hotel rooms in various counties as part of an initiative called, "Project Roomkey."

California has acquired 6,867 housing units so far throughout the state to protect the homeless from COVID-19.

"It's all around making sure that we address the most vulnerable Californians," Newsom said.

Federal and state funding will support the new project. Newsom touted how California was the first state in the U.S. to receive support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to purchase hotel and motel rooms. FEMA will reimburse 75% of the costs to buy rooms and fund a staff that will provide security, meals and custodial services.

The rest of the funding gap, according to Newsom, will be filled through state grants. California has already provided $650 million worth of emergency grants, as well as $150 million, for local governments to use for emergency homeless aid.

Project Roomkey is reserved for a certain subset of homeless individuals — specifically those who already tested positive for COVID-19, may have been exposed to someone with the virus, or are high-risk individuals, such as people who are 65 years or older or have underlying health conditions.

Newsom said that the rooms are "noncongregant" sites that will be used to separate those who need to be isolated from those who can still use available shelters.

In addition to identifying new sites, Newsom said he hopes to use the project as a template for more long-term solutions to homelessness. In the future, the state will look into purchasing some of the properties that have month-to-month occupancy leases, with contracts that allow right of first refusal — the ability to enter into a transaction before any other party can — or at least right of first offer.

"This was the crisis we needed to address before the COVID-19 crisis," Newsom said. "And we're not walking away from meeting that crisis head-on as we move through this process."

In Santa Clara County, all individuals who are homeless and tested positive for COVID-19 have now been placed in a shelter, according to a press release issued Friday from the county's Emergency Operations Center.

The statement did not reveal the number of homeless individuals who have tested positive for the coronavirus, but did outline that an additional 174 "vulnerable community members" were housed and another 215 will be sheltered in the next few days.

The Valley Homeless Healthcare Program and Gardner Health Services helped identify those who are most vulnerable, specifically anyone who has three or more underlying health conditions identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that can be exacerbated by COVID-19.

"We have prioritized sheltering these at-risk individuals," the statement said.

Heavy crowds lead to closure of Bedwell Bayfront Park

Menlo Park shut down Bedwell Bayfront Park at 8 p.m. Friday in response to continuous heavy crowds, the city said in a press release.

The decision was fueled by damaged signs, sports team holding practices and a jump in complaints, city officials said.

The closure will be in place until further notice. It applies to all park trails, parking spaces and the gate to the parking lot at 1600 Marsh Road, where the street crosses Bayfront Expressway, to prevent vehicles from entering the site.

The public can enjoy the city's other parks, which remain open, to enjoy the outdoors while keeping a safe social distance from others, according to the press release.

Low volume of virus tests completed through Verily

Only 50 people per day are being tested per day at San Mateo County’s COVID-19 testing center run through Verily, which is capable of testing about 250 people, San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy told reporters on an April 3 conference call. This is likely because of strict guidelines for who can get tested at the site, he noted. Callagy said the county is in conversations to see if rules can be relaxed.

Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet, launched an online tool to help screen patients for COVID-19 testing. The tool, called Project Baseline, triages people who are concerned about their COVID-19 risk and — if they fit certain criteria — sends them to testing sites based on their symptoms, according to an announcement by the company.

The pilot program is available to residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, who can take the screener survey. The program is open to adults ages 18 and older and seeks to help people who are the most vulnerable.

People who take the survey and meet eligibility requirements for COVID-19 testing will be directed to mobile testing sites based on the site's capacity, where they have a nasal-swab test. They will be informed of the test results within a few days.

Obtaining more PPE

San Mateo County has committed $12 million to obtain personal protective gear for local medical workers, San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy told reporters on an April 3 conference call. There is a two- to five-week lag on the products ordered though, he noted. He said the county is prepared to spend up to $30 million for medical supplies to last the next 90 days.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 2

Santa Clara County's total cases of the coronavirus surpassed the 1,000 mark with the announcement of 63 new cases on Thursday afternoon.

Of the total 1,019 cases, 53%, or 540, people are male and 47%, or around 479, are female. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 3.1%.

• 21 to 30 years old: 11%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 18.3%.

• 41 to 50 years old: 19.5%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 19.6%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 13.4%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 8.8%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 4.2%.

• 91 years old or over: 1%.

• Unknown: 1.2%

Four more people who died of the disease has brought the death toll to 36, 26 of whom were male (making up 72% of the total) and 10 of whom were female (making up 27.8% of the total).

In addition, 75% had pre-existing conditions, 11% had none and 14% were unknown.

Here's a full breakdown of the people who died by age group:

• 21 to 30 years old: 3%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 0%

• 41 to 50 years old: 11.1%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 11.1%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 14%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 33%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 25%.

• 91 years old or over: 2.8%.

The new data published Thursday provided testing data. Out of the total 9,218 people who were tested for the coronavirus, 1,019 received positive results, 8,025 received negative results and 174 results are pending. The testing dashboard indicates a test positivity rate of 11.1% and an average turnaround time of 2.4 days.

On Wednesday alone, the county received 16 positive results and 262 negative results.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 went up from 198 to 245 on Thursday, an increase of 47 patients. Of the 245 individuals, 153 are in acute hospital beds (with 778 more available in the county) and 92 were in intensive care unit beds (with 91 more available in the county).

On Thursday evening, San Mateo County announced 33 new cases of the coronavirus, raising its total to 486. Three more people died of the disease, raising its death toll to 13.

Counties recommend face protection

On Thursday evening, Bay Area public health leaders issued recommendations for the public to wear face masks before they leave their homes as a precaution against the coronavirus.

Bay Area counties are following the state's guidance, which does not encourage the public to purchase N95 or surgical masks.

Read more here.

Santa Clara County unveils new data on COVID-19

According to data newly published on the Santa Clara County Public Health Department's website, 8,246 patients were tested for COVID-19, which yielded 956 positive results and 7,138 negative results — a 11.6% positivity rate — as of Wednesday.

Santa Clara County public health officials discussed the new data on the COVID-19 crisis at a Thursday press conference, including hospital capacity throughout the county and the number of people tested for the coronavirus.

"By sharing the data, in some ways, I think it will reassure people that our hospitals currently have a significant amount of remaining capacity," said Dr. Jennifer Tong, the hospital surge capacity branch chief of Santa Clara County's Emergency Operations Center. "Another reason for sharing the data is to highlight the importance of the social distancing order."

The information, which will be updated daily, can be found here.

As of Tuesday, 198 people were hospitalized for COVID-19, with 108 patients in hospital beds (another 936 are available for use) and 90 patients in intensive care beds (with another 92 available for use). The dashboards on the website also reveal how many ventilators and surge beds are currently available across the county. Since Tuesday, the county has used 227 ventilators (another 392 are available as needed) and five open surge beds (another 1,456 are available as needed).

Public health officials also briefly noted their plans to increase hospital capacity by collaborating with hospitals in the area and the temporary Federal Medical Station at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

Stanford Dish to close

Due to a "persistent minority" of people not complying with public health and safety measures at the Stanford Dish, the university will close all entrances to the popular walking trail on Friday, April 3, at 5 p.m. Stanford "will be actively looking for ways to safely reopen the Dish area."

A reprieve for small business owners

California will hold off on collecting sales taxes in order to support struggling small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday at a press conference an executive order that allows small businesses to keep up to $50,000 in sales tax, "as a loan," for 12 months without fines, penalties and interest.

"In essence, it is a bridge loan," Newsom said.

The new rule extends beyond a previously signed executive order in which businesses won't have to file sales tax returns through July 31.

In addition, the state will inject $50 million into the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank to create more "microlending opportunities." It specifically addresses small businesses that may not be eligible for programs offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration during the pandemic such as the Paycheck Protection Program, which incentives small businesses to keep employees on their payroll.

To address the current state of unemployment in California, Newsom unveiled a new website, onwardca.org, created in partnership with Salesforce, LinkedIn and Bitwise, that matches people to available jobs based on a set of 37 questions.

"Over 1.9 million Californians since March 12 have filed for unemployment insurance," Newson said. "The economic consequences are profound."

For more information on statewide resources, including applications for unemployment insurance, visit covid19.ca.gov.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: APRIL 1

On Wednesday, Santa Clara County announced 66 new coronavirus cases, bringing its total to 956.

Of the total cases, about 53%, or 506, people are male and roughly 46%, or 440, are female. Here's a breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 3.1%.

• 21 to 30 years old: 11.3%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 18.8%.

• 41 to 50 years old: 19.8%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 19%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 13.3%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 8.6%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 4.1%.

• 91 years old or over: 1%.

• Unknown: 1.2%

The county also reported Wednesday that two more people died of the disease, raising the death toll to 32, 24 of whom were male (making up 75% of the total) and eight of whom were female (making up 25% of the total). In addition, 72% had pre-existing conditions, 13% had none and 16% were unknown.

Here's a full breakdown of the people who died by age group:

• 21 to 30 years old: 3%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 0%

• 41 to 50 years old: 12.5%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 12.5%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 15.6%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 28.1%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 25%.

• 91 years old or over: 3.1%.

On Wednesday evening, San Mateo County reported 453 cases of the coronavirus, an increase of 65 cases from the previous day, and the death toll stands at 10.

School closures announced in Santa Clara County, appear likely for rest of California

Santa Clara County families were informed that their students' campuses will be closed for the rest of the academic year through a letter signed by the county superintendent and 32 district superintendents across the county.

Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Don Austin took definitive local action on Wednesday, announcing that all district schools will be closed for classroom instruction for the remainder of this school year.

Read more here.

Top California officials, including the governor and state superintendent, signaled this week that public school students won't return to their campuses before the end of the school year.

The "expectation" is that schools will not reopen, Newsom said during a press conference at the state Capitol with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond.

Thurmond said Wednesday that he's urging all superintendents "to proceed as if we can only educate our kids through distance learning for the remainder of the school year."

"Quite frankly, no one knows when it's safe enough for our students to return to campus," he said. "We are asking everyone to accelerate their efforts to make sure our kids get a great education."

Read more here.

Newsom: More hospital beds may be needed

California may need many more hospital beds by the end of May, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Based on the state's modeling that monitors the spread of the coronavirus, Newsom said during a Wednesday press conference that California will need 66,000 hospital beds toward the end of May — markedly different from the 50,000 beds the state is preparing for the "Phase 1 surge."

In addition, state Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angell addressed how face masks may provide additional protection against asymptomatic infection and an additional signal to other people to keep their distance. But she emphasized that it does not replace the importance of physical distancing.

"There may be some benefit from using these (masks), but only when they're used well," Angell said. "We don't want people to have a false sense of security with these face coverings … so if you use them, make sure you maintain that physical distance."

Retrieving ventilators remains a high priority for California. The goal is to have 10,000 ventilators in preparation for the Phase 1 surge, according to Newsom.

Since Wednesday, Newsom confirmed there are 8,155 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Sheriff's office confirms 11 COVID-19 cases

Eleven members of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office have tested positive for the coronavirus, the agency announced in a press release.

Nine were deputies, one of whom worked in the patrol division and eight others in the custody bureau (one has since recovered and returned to work).

The deputies are under isolation at home and "remain in high spirits," according to the release.

The other two employees are a custody support assistant at the county's Main Jail in San Jose and a sheriff's records technician.

The agency is working with the county Public Health Department to prevent further exposure to the virus.

San Mateo County prepares for COVID-19 patients

San Mateo County officials showed off a new treatment center for the novel coronavirus pandemic at the San Mateo County Event Center to reporters on Wednesday.

The triage center was constructed with the assistance of the California Air National Guard. It is the fourth site statewide where they've established such a treatment center after setting them up in Santa Clara County, Los Angeles, and Coachella.

The big challenge in getting the site up and running, if necessary, will be finding staff, said Travis Kusman, San Mateo County director of emergency medical services.

He said that how many staff might be necessary depends on need and the condition of the patients that are taken in there. No one accepted at the site will require a ventilator since it is not equipped for intensive care patients, so they would stay at hospitals while patients who are less sick would be housed at the event center.

Still, because it would need around-the-clock staffing, the facility would need substantial staff and volunteers to operate effectively.

But if residents of the county and region continue to follow social distancing guidelines, Kusman said the facility may never need to open.

"We're hopeful this facility will never have to be used," Kusman said.

The county is building a roster of volunteers and raising money for its response. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating can do so at smcgov.org.

Read more here.

San Mateo County report by Bay City News Service.

Virtual town hall

East Palo Alto plans to hold a virtual town hall meeting on the coronavirus this Friday when the community can ask questions, make comments and offer insights on the pandemic and its impact on the city. The meeting, scheduled for 4:30-6 p.m. via Zoom, can be found here.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MARCH 31

The current shelter-at-home order for seven Bay Area jurisdictions has been extended to May 3, health officials announced Tuesday.

The new order builds on the "shelter-in-place" order that was announced March 16 by the seven jurisdictions, including Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, and was set to expire April 7.

The updated mandate requires all businesses that remain in operation to prepare and post a "social distancing" plan detailing the measures they are taking to ensure compliance with county guidance.

Read more here.

New COVID-19 cases, deaths

Santa Clara County has reported 42 new cases, bringing its total to 890. Two more people died of the disease, raising the death toll to 30.

San Mateo County reported four more people who died from the coronavirus in San Mateo County, where the death toll now stands at 10.

San Mateo County also released a new data dashboard on patient demographics. Of the 309 people with COVID-19, more than half are between 40 and 69 years old. Here's a full breakdown by age group:

• 0 to 9 years old: 0.7%.

• 10 to 19 years old: 1.6%.

• 20 to 29 years old: 9.1%.

• 30 to 39 years old: 16.5%.

• 40 to 49 years old: 16.5%.

• 50 to 59 years old: 16.2%.

• 60 to 69 years old: 19.7%.

• 70 to 79 years old: 9.4%.

• 80 years old or over: 9.7%.

• Unknown: 0.7%.

On Tuesday evening, San Mateo County reported a total of 388 cases of the coronavirus, an increase of 79 cases from the previous day.

All of the 10 people who died were over age 60 years old and 70% were over age 80 years old. Here's a full breakdown of the people who died by age group:

• 60 to 69 years old: 20%.

• 70 to 79 years old: 10%.

• 80 years old or over: 70%.

The county notes in its dashboard that "due to the current testing capacity, the number of cases detected through testing represents only a small portion of the total number of likely cases in the County. This means the number of cases by age group is skewed toward those who are high risk and tested."

Stanford University is now aware of 32 individuals connected to the Stanford community either as faculty, staff, students or postdocs and who have received positive COVID-19 test results. The university is also now asking anyone who traveled outside of California over spring break and is returning to campus to self-isolate for two weeks.

New hotline for seniors unveiled

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a new hotline number on Tuesday aimed at helping isolated seniors in California stay connected.

The hotline number, 833-544-2374, will provide residents with the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic and services available to them, he said during a Tuesday press conference.

The governor also announced a partnership with the 2-1-1 help line center to connect Californians, on a case-by-case basis, to specific local services in their community, such as supplemental food and nutrition programs as well as shelter options. The call center is open 24 hours a day.

In addition, Newsom provided updated numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state. Since Tuesday, there have been 150 COVID-19 related deaths, 1,617 people currently hospitalized and 657 individuals in the intensive-care unit due to COVID-19.

Newsom also said that since the launch of the California Healthcorps initiative on Monday, more than 25,000 licensed health care professionals have signed up to aid the effort to relieve the current health care workforce.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MARCH 30

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department has reported a total of 848 coronavirus cases, 202 of which were announced on Monday. The large jump is due to a reporting delay, as opposed to a one-day increase, the county wrote in an update on its new data dashboard.

Of the 848 people with COVID-19, 53%, or about 450, are male and 46%, or roughly 390, are female. A majority of the cases are people between 41 and 50 years old, which made up 20% of the total. Here's a full breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 3.1%.

• 21 to 30 years old: 11.2%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 19%.

• 41 to 50 years old: 20.2%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 18.8%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 13.2%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 8.3%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 4.1%.

• 91 years old or over: 1.1%.

• Unknown: 1.2%

The county also reported Monday that three people died of the disease, raising the death toll to 28, 75% of which were male and 25% of which were female. Of the total, 71% had pre-existing conditions, 14% had none and 14% were unknown.

Here's a full breakdown of the people who died by age group:

• 21 to 30 years old: 3.6%

• 31 to 40 years old: 0%

• 41 to 50 years old: 11%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 14.3%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 17.9%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 25%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 28.6%.

Also on Monday, San Mateo County announced a total of 309 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and six people who have died from the disease. On a conference call with reporters on Monday, County Manager Mike Callagy said he will share more information on the demographics of county COVID-19 patients by Wednesday. San Mateo County is working on sharing data in a similar way to Santa Clara County’s new data dashboard. Until now, the officials haven't released ages or genders of county COVID-19 patients.

View our interactive charts on the number of cases and deaths here.

Extended shelter-at-home order

The public can expect the current shelter-at-home order for seven Bay Area jurisdictions, including Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, to continue through May 1. Health officers in each of the jurisdictions expect to announce an updated order in the coming days.

The health officers had previously said their jurisdictions could see an extension to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to a joint press release from the city of Berkeley and Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo counties. The updated order is expected to be finalized in the next day or two.

Increasing health care staff

At a Monday afternoon press conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the California Health Corps initiative to increase the state's health care workforce and prepare for a surge in COVID-19 cases predicted by the state's modeling.

Newsom cited a "universe" of 37,000 retired health care professionals or those with inactive licenses that he hopes to tap into in order to staff additional health care sites throughout the state and increase the number of medical professionals treating patients who don't have COVID-19. Interested participants can find more information here.

The initiative calls for physicians, pharmacists, dentists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses (RN, LVN, CNA), behavioral health professionals, respiratory therapists, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and medical assistants as well as medical and nursing students, according to the website.

To quickly meet the demands of the state's health care system, Newsom announced an executive order that provides temporary flexibility in staffing ratios and licensing processes for retired health care professionals as well as medical and nursing students close to receiving their degree or license.

"We have an executive order that went out that will provide flexibility through June 30," Newsom said. "This is temporary flexibility on staffing ratios (and) on scope of practice for nurse practitioners and EMTs and others."

Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state's secretary of health and human services who helped prepare the executive order and joined Monday's press conference, said that the staffing ratios are not specifically outlined down to the number "but does give us the flexibility and room to work within reasonable measures with the current conditions we expect."

In terms of accelerating retired professionals and students into the workforce, Ghaly did not explain what exactly that process looks like, but did provide an example of who the order addresses.

"There are a number of things that have to do with who can get licensed, how they can reinstate their license and being flexible and waiving some of those tried and true conditions that allow us to — for example, somebody who has been out of the workforce for just under five years — allow them to come in immediately to meet the surge demand," Ghaly said.

In addition, Newsom outlined several potential "surge sites" that the state will be looking into, including the Oakland Coliseum and Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, in order to increase the available hospital beds statewide to 50,000.

San Mateo Event Center prepared to house 250 hospital beds

San Mateo County officials announced Monday that they are preparing for a possible surge of COVID-19 patients by setting up a makeshift hospital at the San Mateo Event Center.

The National Guard is delivering and staging equipment and supplies to the temporary hospital, which county officials expect to be completed on Tuesday. The hospital, which is located in San Mateo, will be jointly operated by the county, which owns the Event Center, and the state.

Officials are accepting personal protective equipment donations Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Maple Street Correctional Facility, 1300 Maple St. in Redwood City, for the hospital. These items include unused N95 respirators and surgical masks (packages can be opened, as long as they have not been used); unopened packages of disposable gloves; unopened containers of hand sanitizer; unopened containers of disinfectants and disinfectant wipes; and packaged, unused protective goggles.

"The latest projections estimate that a medical surge could push the hospitals in our county to capacity and we’ll need another location to house patients requiring particular levels of care," Callagy said in a prepared statement. "We can't just wait to see if this will happen. We need to prepare now so that we can be ready to care for our friends, neighbors and loved ones when they need it most."

During the Monday conference call, Callagy said he isn't sure when there will be a peak in the number of cases. It's also too soon to tell if the shelter-at-home efforts have been effective at flattening the curve of the contagion, he said.

New mapping tool

On Friday, March 27, San Mateo County released a new mapping tool to help residents find open grocery stores, medical services, social services, parks and restaurants offering takeout.

Telephone town hall

A telephone town hall on the status of the coronavirus in Santa Clara County is scheduled for this Sunday, April 5, at 11 a.m. The meeting will feature Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian and other health care professionals. Anyone interested in joining can call 855-866-6313.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MARCH 28-29

The number of coronavirus cases sharply rose in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties over the weekend. As of Sunday, San Mateo County has 277 cases and six deaths. Santa Clara County has 646 cases, 72 of which were reported on Saturday and Sunday, and 25 deaths.

Santa Clara County has the most people with the coronavirus compared to the eight other Bay Area counties. The county's 646 cases as of Sunday afternoon make up over a quarter of the region's total cases. The county's death count now stands at 25, five of which were reported on Saturday.

Stanford University is now aware of 29 people who are connected to the Stanford community either as faculty, staff, students or postdoctoral students and who have received positive COVID-19 test results.

State bans vehicle access at state parks

California State Parks announced on Sunday that it is temporarily closing vehicle access at all 280 state parks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The department issued the restriction following a noticeable increase of visitors at parks statewide over the start of the weekend.

"On Saturday, many state parks once again experienced visitation surges that made it impossible for the public to implement appropriate social/physical distancing practicing," according to the announcement.

The Parks Department recommends that residents stay close to home when going outdoors. "This is not the time for a road trip to a destination park or beach," according to the announcement.

The department said it will continue to monitor visitation at all state parks, and if the current restrictions are not sufficient to protect public health, additional measures may be taken to fully close parks, including trails, bathrooms and other amenities.

For more information about park closures, go to the State Parks COVID-19 Resource Center.

Ventilator acquisitions increase and positive cases rise

Gov. Gavin Newsom held a press conference at the Sunnyvale manufacturing plant of Bloom Energy on Saturday to highlight work the company is doing refurbishing ventilators. On March 16, Newsom called for 10,000 additional ventilators to meet a projected surge in serious COVID-19 cases. Since making the plea, the state has procured an additional 4,250 ventilators toward that goal, he said.

Bloom's CEO K.R. Sridhar said the company shipped 80 refurbished ventilators to the state on Friday — on top of 24 it originally shipped — and was shipping another 120 on Saturday. The company expects to increase production in the next weeks to handle 250 per day.

Bloom is also refurbishing 170 broken ventilators received by Los Angeles from the federal stockpile. That shipment should be delivered on Monday, he said.

Newsom said the state had a 105% surge in the number of people in intensive care units between Friday and Saturday, more than doubling from 200 to 410 cases. Hospitalization rose from 746 to 1,034 patients — a 38.6% increase. He added that while those numbers may be startling, they are much lower figures overall than in other states.

He strongly urged the public to continue to shelter in place. It is the only way to prevent further deaths and spread of the disease and to not overwhelm the hospital system.

San Mateo County closes its parks

All San Mateo County parks have been closed until further notice due to a sharp increase in visitors despite the shelter-at-home and social distancing orders enacted to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, county officials said on Friday.

The county had kept 17 of the 23 sites it manages open before Friday.

An increase in visitors last weekend and observations of park and trail use over the past several weeks led to the closure order.

"The decision to close parks is not easy, especially now when people are looking for outdoor experiences, but the safety of San Mateo County residents must always be a priority," said San Mateo County Parks Director Nicholas Calderon. "In that spirit we had to take this action."

Data collected from mid-February to March 25 showed increases of 50% to 300% in park use following the shelter-at-home order.

Park staff also noticed people gathering in groups and failing to keep a safe distance, county officials said.

"We have a limited amount of time for the shelter-in-place order to truly save lives," County Manager Mike Callagy said. "The sheer number of people crowding our parks and driving to reach them made them unsafe for our community. I appreciate the desire for our residents to get outside and enjoy our open spaces, but we cannot have them descending on our parks in large groups now."

Entrance gates and parking lots will be locked and notices will be posted that the parks and trails are closed.

Patrol of parks will continue during the closure.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MARCH 27

Santa Clara County now has a total of 574 cases of the coronavirus, 32 of which were announced on Friday, according to a new dashboard launched by the county this afternoon. The dashboard provides a daily count of the cases since Feb. 28 and charts of the totals cross-tabulated with age, gender and underlying health conditions.

Of the 574 people with COVID-19, 53%, or a little over 300, are male and 46%, roughly 264, are female. A majority of the cases are people between 41 and 50 years old, which made up 21% of the total. Here's a full breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 3.5%.

• 21 to 30 years old: 9.9%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 17.8%.

• 41 to 50 years old: 21.4%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 19%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 12.4%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 9.2%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 4.4%.

• 91 years old or over: 1.2.%.

• Unknown: 1.6%

The county also reported one more person died of the disease, bringing the death toll to 20, 70% of which were male and 30% of which were female. Of the total, 75% had pre-existing conditions and 15% had none.

Here's a full breakdown of the people who died by age group:

• 41 to 50 years old: 5%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 20%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 25%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 20%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 30%.

On Friday, March 27, San Mateo County announced a total of 239 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and six people who have died from the disease. That's an increase of 44 new confirmed cases since Thursday.

San Jose predicts county's total COVID-19 deaths over next three months

San Jose Deputy City Manager Kip Harkness presented preliminary data regarding the potential spread of the coronavirus in Santa Clara County during the City Council's March 24 meeting. The city's models estimated that between 9,000 and 19,000 people in the county of 1.9 million residents might currently be infected with the virus.

The city’s models also predicted the worst, moderate and best-case scenarios for hospitalizations and deaths and the number of people who might require life-saving ventilators. It also estimated a timeline for each scenario and the impact of each.

"We have to bend the curve now," he said, referring to the trajectory of the contagion.

If residents do comply with the shelter-at-home order, hospitals could mostly handle the number of people needing ventilators. But under the moderate and worst scenarios, in which residents do not stay at home, the number of seriously ill people would overwhelm the system.

Even in the best-case scenario, an estimated 2,000 people in Santa Clara County could die in the next 12 weeks.

Santa Clara County public health leaders distanced themselves from the San Jose report, however. In a statement released on Thursday, they said the modeling and data had not been vetted by their department. On Friday, Executive Officer Jeff Smith said that statistical models of the future spread of the coronavirus are not what people should focus on. The only thing that matters at this point is for people to stay home and consistently refrain from being in contact with others as much as possible.

"Statistics can be misleading," said Smith, a physician.

The county is contracting with Stanford Medicine to analyze detailed data to determine factors that cause spread of the virus so health departments can have "internal projections about what we can expect in the future," he said.

Moratoriums on residential evictions

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed an executive order that banned evicting renters impacted by the coronavirus crisis through May 31. Under the order, landlords can't evict tenants who don't pay rent and law enforcement or courts can't enforce the removal of renters.

The executive order also requires tenants declare their inability to pay rent in writing within seven days after their due date. A copy over the order can be found here.

Newsom's order comes a day after the East Palo Alto City Council unanimously passed an emergency law that temporarily bans tenants from getting evicted as a result of the pandemic. Under the emergency law, also effective through May 31, tenants are required to provide a written notice about their inability to pay rent within 30 days. More information on the moratorium can be found here.

Known cases of COVID-19 in California sharply rise

Confirmed cases of the coronavirus rose 26% in one day, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Friday. Statewide, there are 746 hospitalizations, 200 of which are in the intensive-care unit, 3,180 positive cases and 78 deaths.

Newsom said the figures are the result of additional testing, which has been lagging since the pandemic reached California in January. The state has now recorded 88,400 tests, including testing by private, state and county laboratories. Newsom said the results of those tests are coming in too slowly, however, with some patients waiting six days or more to learn if they have the disease.

Speaking in front of the federal hospital ship the USNS Mercy, which is docked in Los Angeles, Newsom said that the city saw a 50% surge in cases in two days. At that rate, the city could reach similar numbers of positive cases as New York City in a week and the state could match New York in 12 days. He urged everyone to stay inside and continue to respect the shelter-at-home order as the only way to flatten the curve of the contagion.

The state has ordered 98 park facilities, mostly on the coast, to shut their parking lots to prevent people from gathering.

JCC suspends most operations

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto has decided to suspend most operations starting this weekend as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which has left "an insurmountable financial impact," CEO Zack Bodner said in an email addressed to the community. The community center has also placed most of its staff on furlough and some remain hired at "significantly reduced compensation."

The JCC is continuing to offer programs and resources through its virtual hub.

Students map COVID-19 cases, free meal distributions

Two Palo Alto High School students, Jonathan Kao and Victor Lin, have created a real-time website with coronavirus data provided by counties across the nation, according to a post by Kao on neighborhood social network Nextdoor.

Users can search for information on their county by searching their ZIP code or county and sign up for daily emails updates on new data from their county. View the website at clearcov19.com/.

A group of Stanford University students, in partnership with local school districts and nonprofit organizations, have created a digital map with detailed information about where local children can access free meals during the school closures in 10 Bay Area counties. View it here.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: MARCH 26

Santa Clara County recorded 83 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday and two more deaths from the disease. The new cases represent the second-highest one-day jump nearly two months since public health leaders announced the first local COVID-19 patient.

The county provided a breakdown of the age ranges for the total 542 people in the county with the coronavirus. A majority of the cases are people between 41-50 years old.

• People 20 years old or under: 19.

• People between 21 and 30 years old: 48.

• People between 31 and 40 years old: 99.

• People between 41 and 50 years old: 115.

• People between 51 and 60 years old: 104.

• People between 61 and 70 years old: 68.

• People between 71 and 80 years old: 51.

• People 80 years old or over: 30.

• People of unknown age: 8.

The county's total represents nearly half of the cases reported in the Bay Area, which has 1,322 cases.

No further details on the two deaths. The county plans to release a new website with "additional aggregate data" on its cases.

A sixth sheriff's deputy has tested positive for the coronavirus, the sheriff's office announced Thursday evening. The employee, assigned to the custody bureau, is in isolation at home and is one of three deputies who the agency determined was possibly exposed to the disease.

The sheriff's office is working to identify other staff members and inmates possibly exposed to the coronavirus.

In San Mateo County, 195 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and five people have died from the disease as of Thursday, March 26. That's an increase of 30 new confirmed cases over the last 24 hours.

Transit

A light-rail operator trainee for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority has tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing the transit agency to suspend light-rail service until further notice, a VTA spokeswoman said Thursday.

Six light-car trains were running when service was suspended at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. Agency personnel checked train platforms to make sure no riders were left stranded, according to spokeswoman Brandi Childress.

Light-rail trains will stay at the VTA's operating division and "undergo thorough cleaning," in addition to the operating division, Childress said.

Read the more from the VTA's Headways blog, which can be found here.

Starting Monday, Caltrain will reduce weekday service indefinitely. The rail commuter service will run 42 trains instead of 92, according to a press release issued Thursday. The trains will make all stops between San Francisco and San Jose about every 30-60 minutes. Limited and Baby Bullet has been temporarily shut down until further notice. An updated schedule can be here. The agency's weekend service will remain normal.

Donation drive

A group of Stanford School of Medicine students is holding donation drives for personal protection equipment this Friday, March 27, from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside of the Stanford Shopping Center.

They plan to set up in the parking lot just north of the Neiman Marcus department store. Donations can be opened or unopened but must be new. If items are open from the packaging, they must be placed in plastic zip-close bags. The group plans to safely sanitize any items before they are given away. Read more here.

Telephone town hall

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, plans to discuss new federal funding to address the coronavirus crisis and available community resources at a telephone town hall meeting on Thursday, March 26, starting at 7:35 p.m. Those interested in joining can register here.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: March 25

The latest Santa Clara County total of 459 coronavirus cases released Wednesday shows nearly half of the people presumably caught the disease within the community.

Of the 459 cases, 217 are presumed to have been community transmitted, 137 people are hospitalized and 88 are close contacts of known cases, according to the Public Health Department. No information was provided on cases associated with international travel.

The county also reported one more person died of the disease, bringing the death toll to 17.

A fifth Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy has tested positive for the coronavirus, the agency announced on Twitter. The individual, assigned to the custody bureau, is in isolation at home. Four of the five deputies worked on the same team.

In San Mateo County, 165 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and five people have died from the disease as of Wednesday, March 25. That's an increase of four new confirmed cases and four more deaths over the last 24 hours.

Stanford University announced that it's aware of 24 individuals who are connected to the Stanford community either as faculty, staff, students or postdocs, who have tested positive for COVID-19. They are living in the Bay Area and beyond, Stanford said. The university had previously reported one on-campus case involving a student who is self-isolating on campus. The new count "should not be considered comprehensive, given that it is partly based on self-reporting to the university ... and given the quickly changing nature of the COVID-19 spread," Stanford said, it is encouraging its community members to report test results to the university. Later on Wednesday, the university learned of two more people who have tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total to 26 individuals.

Social media giant's contribution

Facebook contributed $250,000 to the Sequoia Union High School District to give 2,000 students access to Wi-Fi hotspots for distance learning. High school district officials had reached out to Facebook because they anticipated the need for tech support for many of its families.

"We're proud to partner with the District and contribute $250,000 to ensure 2,000 SUHSD (Sequoia Union High School District) students — who would normally not have access to reliable internet at home — can access their online schoolwork from home," said Chloe Meyere, a Facebook spokesperson. "We're grateful for the District's leadership on this critical issue, and will continue to support our neighbors struggling with the impact of COVID-19."

Transit service

On Wednesday, SamTrans implemented a new practice, having riders board at the rear of busses with multiple doors, to follow social distancing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Passengers with disabilities or in need of assistance will be exempt from the practice. The agency is calling on patrons to stay 6 feet apart as requested by the CDC. Rides are currently free until further notice.

SamTrans has seen its weekday ridership drop 65-70% and expects to see lose $1.3 million in monthly revenue fare.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority plans to reduce service on its bus, light-rail and paratransit services starting Monday, March 30. The agency aims to prioritize service to hospitals, food banks and shelters.

"We find ourselves in an unprecedented situation of balancing how we provide that service amid a health pandemic in which ridership is extremely sparse," spokesman Ken Blackstone wrote on the VTA's "Headways" blog.

The changes include cutting down light-rail service frequency to every 30 minutes; ending bus and light-rail trips after 9 p.m., with the exception of Route 22 (which will continue to run 24/7 between the Palo Alto Transit Center and San Jose's Eastridge Transit Center); and adjustments to the Express 181 bus to coincide with BART's reduced service schedule.

A map of the reduced service changes can be found at vta.org.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: March 24

On Tuesday, Santa Clara County joined six other Bay Area jurisdictions in issuing new reporting requirements for laboratories testing for the new coronavirus, the county said in a press release.

The county, along with the city of Berkeley and Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties, are seeking more detailed information to help health leaders understand the rate of infection and possibly identify areas of dense infection.

Altogether, the jurisdictions have reported 930 confirmed cases, which makes up over half of the state's total, and 19 deaths. (Those numbers have since changed since Santa Clara County announcements of additional cases and deaths on Tuesday afternoon.)

Under the order, labs not only need to report positive results, which has prevented public health leaders from knowing the total number of people tested, but also negative and inconclusive readings. The test results for residents in each jurisdiction must be sent to the health care provider seeking the test and appropriate state and local authorities.

Public health labs are limited in the number of tests they can run compared to the commercial and academic labs, where testing is more readily available, according to the Santa Clara County press release.

"Receiving this critical information from those labs will help local health departments respond to COVID-19 during this unprecedented time," Dr. Sara Cody said in the press release.

Read the Santa Clara County order here.

Shelter-at-home order could last 12 weeks

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday, March 24 that a shelter-at-home order would last through April and as long as 12 weeks. Newsom said Californians have much to do to flatten the curve to levels where contagion of the COVID-19 virus would be greatly reduced.

Newsom's comments made over Facebook Live are at odds with those of President Donald Trump, who wants the country to get back to work by Easter, April 12. Newsom said it's "misleading" to think the state could reduce its stay-at-home order by that date.

"April, for California, would be sooner than any of the experts that I talk to would believe is possible," he said.

Newsom said the next six to eight weeks will be pivotal. California couldn't make any potential adjustments to the order for at least six weeks. In eight to 12 weeks "we will be in a very different place," he said.

He noted that people must do more to heed the shelter and social distancing order, and the impact of the disease on younger people can't be underestimated. Disproportionately, 50% of the positive coronavirus cases are among people ages 18 to 49, he said, although the majority of hospitalizations and deaths are still among people ages 60 and older. A teenager in Lancaster, a city about 70 miles north of Los Angeles, has died from the disease, he said.

New COVID-19 cases, deaths

Santa Clara County reported 54 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday. The county now has a total of 375 cases, 125 of which are people hospitalized, 91 of which are presumed to have been community transmitted; 82 of which are close contacts of known cases and 30 of which are associated with international travel.

The county also announced three more deaths from the disease, raising its death toll to 16. Further details on the new deaths weren't released.

San Mateo County added 19 cases to its total, which is now 161 as of Tuesday morning, March 24.

Fourth deputy has COVID-19

A fourth Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy has tested positive for the coronavirus, the agency announced on Twitter. The employee works at the custody division and is under quarantine at home. The sheriff's office announced its three other cases on Monday.

Federal Medical Station

A temporary Federal Medical Station that Santa Clara County is setting up in collaboration with the U.S. Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response will serve less-acute COVID-19 cases, the county clarified on Tuesday in a press release. The county had previously said the station wouldn't care for coronavirus patients.

The station will be set up at the Santa Clara Convention Center to accommodate up to 250 people. It will also care for short-term inpatient patients with subacute medical, mental health or other needs. The station will be supplied with beds, supplies and medicines, the county said. More information on the stations can be found at cdc.gov.

Food closet

Downtown Street Team's food closet located at All Saints Episcopal Church in Palo Alto is staying stocked with fresh groceries to help a community in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the organization's senior manager David Vyfvinkel, the downtown food closet has received two to three times more fresh produce than it usually serves thanks to donations from various retails and organizations such as Trader Joe's and Second Harvest Food Bank.

And besides a few newcomers coming in from the South Palo Alto Food Closet at Covenant Presbyterian Church, which is currently closed, the team is serving fewer clients than usual.

"We usually have about 60-75 people on any given day," Vyfvinkel said. "Now we're getting 40 to 45."

The three volunteers, including Vyfvinkel, who were operating the food closet on Tuesday wore masks and gloves to protect themselves while they handled food. To keep 6 feet of distance from the public, as recommended by public health officials, Vyfvinkel said they now make visitors wait outside while the team fills people's grocery bags with food and brings it outside.

The food closet is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: March 23

Santa Clara County has reported a total of 321 cases, 19 of which were announced on Monday. Of the 321 cases, 116 people are hospitalized, 91 presumed to have been community transmitted; 77 are close contacts of known cases; 28 are associated with international travel; and 13 people have died, according to the county's public health department.

Also on Monday, the county started releasing data on the people who have died. Of the 13 deaths, nine were men and four were women. The county also reported age ranges for the deceased:

• One person was between 41 and 50 years old.

• Two people were between 51 and 60 years old.

• Four people were between 61 and 70 years old.

• Two people were between 71 and 80 years old.

• Four people were between 81 and 90 years old.

Also, eight of the deaths involved people with pre-existing conditions and the remaining five had no pre-existing conditions.

San Mateo County now has 142 coronavirus cases, 25 of which were reported Monday morning, and one death.

At a press conference on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said California needs 50,000 hospital beds, up from 20,000, in response to the coronavirus after the state recalibrated its needs based on updated modeling. The increase means the state will seek to identify places to establish an additional 17,000 net new beds to add to its existing stock.

Coronavirus testing

On Monday, March 23, Santa Clara County issued an update on local testing for coronavirus. It has tested 1,044 samples for 647 patients as of Sunday, March 22.

The county noted that its public health laboratory can only run up to 100 tests daily through kits provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The lab is neither able to run tests at the high rates of private, commercial labs nor structured to handle such a volume. Its current focus is to test hospital patients; people living or working in high-risk places, such as long-term care facilities; health care professionals; and first responders.

In light of these limitations, the county has called on large commercial laboratories to report all positive and negative results for COVID-19 tests, plus other key information, according to the update. The details would allow the county to determine which parts of the community are seeing "more intense transmission."

Read the rest of the statement here.

State parks, beaches 'soft' close

Following a weekend of packed beaches despite a state order to shelter at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Newsom ordered parking lots at most state parks and beaches to close. Newsom called the move a "soft closure" to discourage people from overcrowding the open spaces. Park rangers would also enforce the 6-foot-distance rule between people. All campgrounds are closed. Locally, the following parking lots are closed: Año Nuevo and Burleigh Murray state parks; Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park; and Bean Hollow, Cowell Ranch, Gray Whale Cove, Half Moon Bay, Montara, Pescadero, Pomponio and San Gregorio state beaches. A full list of all of the park closures is available here.

Air National Guard arrives

Following Gov. Newsom's order, members of the California Air National Guard deployed to five counties around the state, including Santa Clara County, to help package and distribute food.

Newsom decided to use the National Guard for food distribution to the needy after nonprofit organizations around the state saw a large decrease in volunteers. Many of those volunteers are traditionally seniors and retired people, and they are among the most vulnerable to having serious complications from the COVID-19 illness and are adhering to the statewide stay-at-home order.

Last week, Newsom activated nearly 500 soldiers with Joint Task Force 115 to support county food banks. Soldiers and air personnel from the California National Guard began supporting food-bank warehouses in Sacramento. On Monday, March 23, the National Guard will send service members to support food banks in Amador, Monterey, Riverside, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. The personnel will assist at Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, 750 Curtner Ave. in San Jose, in Santa Clara County, according to a statement released Monday evening.

Air personnel from the Fresno-based, 144th Fighter Wing, California Air National Guard, deployed their Medical Detachment 1's Homeland Response Force to support the California Emergency Medical Services Authority and assist at a medical supply warehouse in Sacramento.

Another 10 personnel from the 144th Flight Wing were sent to Pacific Grove to assist the California Emergency Medical Services with caring for 19 quarantined passengers from the Grand Princess cruise ship.

Inmates, deputies confirmed with COVID-19

A county inmate has tested positive for coronavirus, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office announced Monday. The inmate is a 31-year-old man who was arrested on Friday and booked into the county's Main Jail in San Jose. While he was getting booked into jail, he reported feeling sick and told deputies that a family member returned home from Europe days earlier, according to a sheriff's office press release.

Once booked, the man was "masked" and placed under isolation in an infirmary, where he was tested for coronavirus, according to the press release. The results showed a positive reading for COVID-19, medical staff learned on Sunday.

The inmate remains in quarantine and is being monitored. The sheriff's office notified San Jose police that the initial arresting officer or officers may have been exposed to the disease.

In response, custody medical staff plans to screen new arrestees outside of the jail's sally port area and health care workers will assess whether they have dry cough, shortness of breath, fever or been exposed to someone with the coronavirus.

Three sheriff's deputies — two assigned to the patrol division and the other assigned to the custody bureau — have also tested positive for the new coronavirus, the agency announced Monday. Of the three deputies, were confirmed with COVID-19 Sunday and the other on Monday.

Two of the three deputies are under self-quarantine and the other is in stable condition at a hospital.

Telephone town halls

Santa Clara County Public Health Department is partnering with local Congressional leaders to host a telephone town hall on Tuesday, March 24, at 1 p.m. to answer the community's questions on COVID-19.

The event is a collaboration with Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Fremont; and Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley.

The community can join the call when the event begins by calling 855-962-1194. Questions about the event can be made to the Public Health Department at 408-271-8700.

More information on the event can be found here.

The Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System also plans to host a tele-town hall for veterans on March 30 from 6-7 p.m. Those interested in joining the meeting will need to register online at dashboard.teletownhall.us. Registrants will receive a call before the event starts.

Supplying respirators

Foothill College has made respirators from its respiratory therapy program available for the state Health and Human Services Agency to use in response to the pandemic. Of the 12 respirators on its Los Alto Hills campus, two of them are the same ones used at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, according to Dr. Ram Subrahmaniam, the college's dean of STEM.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: March 21-22

Increasing health care capacity

Santa Clara County is working with local hospitals to prepare for an expected surge in coronavirus patients, County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center CEO Paul Lorenz said at a press conference on Sunday.

Lorenz said there are approximately 2,500 hospital beds in the county. Roughly 400 of the beds are dedicated to pediatric care and 350 are for critical care, 75% to 80% of which are currently occupied. Approximately 290 additional beds can be converted to an "ICU level of care," he said.

"If in fact the demand goes beyond our capacity, we are working with the county emergency operations center to come up with a communitywide search plan," he said. "That plan would include looking at all 2,100 adult beds that we can equip and staff for critically ill patients."

The Valley Medical Center Foundation is continuing to collect monetary donations online and protective equipment, which can be dropped off beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, March 23, at the foundation's office on the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center campus, 2400 Clove Drive in San Jose.

Read more from the press conference here.

The county has teamed up with the U.S. Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response to establish a temporary Federal Medical Station at the Santa Clara Convention Center to accommodate up to 250 people, according to a statement issued Saturday. The station will be managed by the federal office to serve patients in need of short-term, subacute care and do not have COVID-19. It will be equipped with beds, supplies and medicines, according to the county.

The state can also increase capacity at clinics, mobile health care units and adult day care facilities as part of its COVID-19 response under an executive order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday.

New COVID-19 cases, deaths

Santa Clara County now has 302 cases of the new coronavirus, 106 of which were announced on Saturday and Sunday. The COVID-19 death toll now stands at 10 with the announcement of two more deaths over the weekend.

Of Santa Clara County's COVID-19 cases, 108 people are hospitalized; 77 are presumed to have been community transmitted; 75 are close contacts of known cases; 22 are associated with international travel; and 10 people have died, according to the county's public health department.

The ninth and 10th recorded deaths in the county were women in their 60s and 40s, respectively. Both women died Saturday, March 21. The woman in her 40s was hospitalized Monday, March 16, according to the county. Further information was not provided.

San Mateo County announced 10 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday and seven more on Sunday, bringing its county total to 11. The county currently has one death stemming from the disease.

Menlo fire begins pandemic response unit

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District now has a Pandemic Emergency Response Unit staffed by a two-person team. The unit is tasked with taking calls of suspected COVID-19 cases, according to a press release issued Saturday.

The district recently received seven calls of suspected COVID-19 in one day and expects to see that number go up.

Staff assigned to the unit will utilize the "highest level of Emergency Medical Services" and personal protective equipment. The district said they will aim to minimize contact with whoever may have COVID-19 while on a call to decrease possible exposure to the disease.

PREVIOUS UPDATE: March 20

Santa Clara County now has 196 cases of the new coronavirus, seven of which were announced Friday. The county also reported two more deaths, bringing its total to eight. San Mateo County's total case count hit the 100 mark on Friday morning.

On Friday afternoon, Santa Clara County reported two more deaths and seven new infections as a result of the coronavirus. The seventh recorded death was an adult male in his 80s who was hospitalized on Tuesday, March 3, and died on Tuesday, March 17. The eighth reported death was an adult male in his 70s.

In San Mateo County, 100 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and one person died from the disease as of Friday, March 20, at 8:57 a.m.

Also on March 20, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order extending the deadline for the official canvass of the March 3 election by 21 days. The certification of election results was initially due by April 2; it will now be by April 23. The change was made because of the difficulties presented by the social distancing order of public health officials in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Despite the extension, Friday's executive order stated: "Counties are urged to complete activities related to the official canvass according to the deadlines ordinarily imposed by state law, to the extent possible."

PREVIOUS UPDATES: MARCH 19

The state of California has issued a mandatory, stay-at-home order, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced at a press conference on Thursday evening, March 19. Employees of "critical sectors" are advised to go to work, according to a tweet from Newsom. Businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and banks will remain open. More information is available on the state's new website dedicated to coronavirus updates, covid19.ca.gov.

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department has reported a total of 189 coronavirus cases, 14 of which were announced on Thursday, March 19.

Of the 189 cases, 70 are presumed community transmitted; 62 people are hospitalized; 18 are associated with international travel; 43 are close contacts of known cases and six people have died, according to the public health department.

In San Mateo County, 89 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and one person died from the disease as of Thursday, March 19, at 10:24 a.m.

Education

Stanford announced Thursday, March 19, that the university doesn't expect to be able to hold this year's commencement "in its traditional form" due to the "strong likelihood that prohibitions on large gatherings will remain in place by later this spring." Classes will also be taught online for all of spring quarter, through June. "We are making the decision in recognition of the seriousness of the global public health challenge in front of us, and we are making it now in order to assist your planning to the greatest extent possible," Provost Persis Drell said.

The Palo Alto Unified School District released on Thursday answers to a set of frequently asked questions from students and families, related to online learning offerings, teacher availability during school closures, grades and other issues. The district also said it will no longer send out announcements if students are diagnosed with COVID-19. "The County Public Health Department has said we should all operate as though everyone is exposed," the district said.

Businesses

Tootsie's at the Stanford Barn in Palo Alto has launched an "adopt a doc and a nurse" menu for people to donate meals to Stanford Hospital staff. People can choose a designated department or the hospital will determine where the food is most needed. To place an order, email [email protected] or text Tootsie's owner Rocco Scordella at 347-633-7132.

Preserves open, with restrictions: Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District preserves and trails are open to the public as is allowed during the current shelter-at-home directive but has put new health and safety measures in place, including: restrooms are closed effective Friday, March 20; areas with high use will be intermittently closed without notice to promote safe social distancing; group gathering areas are closed; and group activities are suspended. Preserve visitors are reminded to stay at home if they are sick, and to maintain social distances of at least 6 feet from others.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: March 18

A man in his 60s died from the coronavirus on Tuesday, March 17, marking the sixth death in Santa Clara County, the Public Health Department announced on Wednesday, March 18.

The man had been hospitalized since March 5 and died of the disease 12 days later, the department said in a press release Wednesday morning.

City declares emergency

The East Palo Alto City Council declared a local state of emergency during a meeting on Tuesday, March 17. The declaration allows the city manager to ask Gov. Gavin Newsom to proclaim the city to be in a state of emergency and to request a federal declaration to aid residents with financial aid for losses and emergency repairs.

Under the order, the city manager can also award contracts to repair, al

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Coronavirus central: An archive of updates for San Mateo, Santa Clara counties

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Uploaded: Thu, May 21, 2020, 11:05 am
Updated: Mon, Sep 20, 2021, 4:39 pm

Editor's note: View the most current information here.

FDA advisory panel declines to support COVID vaccine boosters for most people

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted Friday to endorse COVID-19 booster shots for high-risk demographics such as those age 65 and older but declined to support offering booster vaccine doses to all eligible U.S. residents.

The panel of third-party experts voted 16-2 against a plan endorsed by President Joe Biden's administration to begin offering third doses to eligible people later this month, arguing that targeting booster vaccination efforts is more appropriate.

The panel also voted unanimously to support booster doses for people ages 65 and older or those at high risk to contract the virus and develop serious illness.

Federal officials that had endorsed the booster shots plan had argued that — given the propensity for the high level of immunity offered by the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to reduce over time while still preventing serious illness and death — the third doses would be necessary to continue battling new variants of the virus and prevent hospitals from being overrun across the country.

Even if the panel had approved the booster shot plan, approval from officials with the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would still be required before doses could go into arms.

Last month, FDA and CDC officials approved the administration of booster doses for people who have weakened immune systems due to an assortment of factors such as people who are being treated for cancer, organ transplant recipients and people with HIV.

The plan to offer booster shots to all fully vaccinated people also received support last month from a swath of officials within the federal Health and Human Services Agency.

The group included CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, FDA acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.

"Our top priority remains staying ahead of the virus and protecting the American people from COVID-19 with safe, effective, and long-lasting vaccines especially in the context of a constantly changing virus and epidemiologic landscape," the group said in its joint statement.

The administration of booster doses in western countries has drawn the ire of the World Health Organization, which has argued that many nonwealthy countries across the world have yet to even receive their initial vaccine doses.

"Because manufacturers have prioritized or been legally obliged to fulfill bilateral deals with rich countries willing to pay top dollar, low-income countries have been deprived of the tools to protect their people," WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said in a news briefing earlier this month.

State launches partnership with Tyler Perry in effort to encourage vaccination among Black residents

The California Department of Public Health is launching a series of public education videos in partnership with actor, director and producer Tyler Perry in an effort to encourage state residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The state and Perry's production company, Tyler Perry Studios, will release a series of videos this month that address frequently asked questions about the vaccines, including how to know they're safe and how mRNA vaccines work.

"What I want to do is give people the facts," Perry said in a statement. "There's a lot of misinformation out there, and my hope is that this content will give people the answers they need to make their own decisions based on the truth."

Perry and state health officials announced the partnership Wednesday as part of the state's "Let's Get to ImmUnity" campaign, which is intended to educate state residents about the vaccines' safety and efficacy.

The partnership with Perry is also part of an outreach effort for the state's Black communities, specifically.

"The vaccines continue to be our best tool to put an end to this deadly pandemic," CDPH Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said. "We are pleased to partner with Tyler Perry to help communicate the facts to more people — COVID-19 vaccines are effective, safe, and save lives."

As of Thursday, 82.5% of state residents ages 12 and up have received at least one vaccine dose, while 67.4% are fully vaccinated, according to data from the CDPH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Feds to mandate large businesses to require vaccination or frequent tests

President Joe Biden directed federal labor officials this week to draft a mandate that businesses with 100 or more employees must require them to prove their COVID-19 vaccination status or test for the virus at least once a week.

The mandate will apply to roughly 100 million workers, including those in the public sector as well as health care workers and workers under contract with the federal government.

Biden argued Thursday that the policy is part of his job as president "to protect all Americans" and that compelling eligible people to get vaccinated is "not about freedom or personal choice, it's about protecting yourself and those around you."

The requirement is one of the largest steps the federal government has taken to address the sect of Americans who remain resolutely unvaccinated.

California has yet to issue a similar mandate for much of the state's workers, but vaccination proof or frequent testing is already required for state employees as well as health care workers and K-12 teachers.

Local governments have gone even further, with several in the Bay Area requiring county employees to get vaccinated. San Francisco and Berkeley have also issued requirements that people provide proof of vaccination to dine at restaurants, work out at gyms and attend large events.

On Thursday, Biden pointed out that major businesses like United Airlines and Tyson Foods have already mandated vaccination or frequent testing for their employees across the country and that many vaccine holdouts have cited a lack of full approval from the Food and Drug Administration as a reason for their hesitance.

With the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine now fully approved by the FDA and the Moderna and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines likely to receive similar approval in the coming months, Biden argued that the time for waiting to get vaccinated is over.

"We've made vaccinations free, safe and convenient," he said. "The vaccine is FDA-approved. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and the refusal has cost all of us."

Nearly 82% of California residents age 12 and up have received at least one vaccine dose as of Friday, according to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Within the state, many of the greater Bay Area's counties have some of the highest vaccination rates in California. Both San Mateo and Marin counties have eclipsed 90% of their eligible populations receiving at least one vaccine dose. Both counties are also on the cusp of reaching 90% of their respective eligible populations being fully vaccinated.

Nearly all Bay Area counties outpace state's vaccination rates

In the greater Bay Area, COVID-19 vaccination rates among people ages 12 and up are outpacing the state's vaccination rate in all but one county as of Monday.

Roughly 80% of the state's vaccine-eligible residents have received at least one dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while 65.4% of those 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

As of Monday, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties are all ahead of both statewide metrics, with local data showing many counties surpassing 80% and 90% of eligible residents receiving at least one dose.

Solano County is the only Bay Area county trailing the state's numbers, with 74% of its eligible residents having received at least one dose and 61% fully vaccinated.

Marin and San Mateo counties are currently the gold standard in the Bay Area and are the only two counties in the region with more than 90% of their eligible populations having received at least one dose.

In Marin County, 95.8% of those age 12 and up have received at least one dose and 88.6% are fully vaccinated. Both figures are the highest among any Bay Area county.

San Mateo County sits slightly behind, with 91.4% of its eligible residents having received at least one vaccine dose and 81.6% now fully vaccinated.

Santa Clara County and San Francisco have also fully vaccinated at least 80% of their eligible populations, while Napa, Alameda and Contra Costa counties have all surpassed 75% of their eligible populations being fully vaccinated.

Nearly 370 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across the country, according to the CDC, with some 174 million Americans now fully vaccinated.

That includes 61.3% of those ages 12 and up and 52.4% of the country's population of roughly 330 million.

Cal/OSHA encourages indoor masking at jobs regardless of vaccine status

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health encouraged employers and workers Wednesday to follow the state's public health recommendation to wear a mask when indoors regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status.

While the state has not issued a new indoor face covering mandate that would also apply to fully vaccinated people, the California Department of Public Health still requires face coverings in certain settings like health care facilities and on public transit.

Cal/OSHA guidelines also do not require the use of a mask indoors for fully vaccinated workers, but encouraged workers to do so in an effort to prevent the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

Unvaccinated workers are still required to wear a face covering at all times when indoors under the workplace safety guidelines Cal/OSHA approved in June.

Workers are encouraged to contact Cal/OSHA at 833-579-0927 or visit dir.ca.gov/dosh/Complaint.htm for information about COVID-19 hazards in the workplace and how to report them.

Employers can also contact Cal/OSHA at 800-963-9424 for information or assistance with developing a COVID-10 prevention and safety program.

FDA issues full approval of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued its full approval Monday of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, marking the first approval of a COVID vaccine outside of its emergency use authorization.

An FDA advisory panel issued the approval for people ages 16 and up based on clinical trial and follow-up data on the vaccine's effectiveness from roughly 20,000 vaccine and 20,000 placebo recipients ages 16 and older.

The FDA also analyzed safety data from roughly 22,000 people who received the vaccine and 22,000 people who received a placebo. The trial data found that the vaccine was 91% effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, according to the FDA.

Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock called the approval a "milestone" in the ongoing pandemic.

"While this and other vaccines have met the FDA's rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product," she said in a statement.

The Pfizer vaccine will now be marketed as Comirnaty, according to the FDA, and will continue to be available to people ages 12 to 15 under the FDA's emergency use authorization.

The FDA is expected to issue a subsequent approval for the vaccine developed by Moderna in the coming weeks, while Johnson & Johnson is expected to apply soon for approval of the one-dose vaccine developed by its pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen.

In California, state officials celebrated the Pfizer vaccine's approval and urged people to get vaccinated if they have yet to do so to drastically reduce the likelihood of developing serious illness or dying from COVID-19.

"We know the vaccines work. We know vaccines are safe. We know they save lives," California Department of Public Health Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said in a statement. "If you are not vaccinated, let this be the milestone that gets you there."

The FDA issued its original emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 11, 2020, for people ages 16 and up. In May, it expanded that authorization to children ages 12 to 15.

While some 362 million vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. and more than 200 million Americans have gotten at least one vaccine dose, state and local officials expressed optimism that the FDA's full approval will spur more people to get vaccinated in the coming weeks.

In California, just over 46 million vaccine doses have been administered to roughly 25 million residents. Last week, FDA advisors and state officials also issued their respective approvals of booster vaccine doses for immunocompromised people who received the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

"I encourage all Californians to trust the science and protect themselves and their community by getting vaccinated," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. "With more than 80 percent of Californians 18 and up having received at least one dose, our work continues to close the gap in our most impacted communities and bring an end to this pandemic."

COVID-19 vaccine information can be found at myturn.ca.gov and vaccinateall58.com.

Federal officials formally announce plans for COVID-19 booster shots

Federal health officials announced plans Wednesday to offer COVID-19 booster shots to fully vaccinated people in an effort to fortify their immune response in the face of more contagious COVID-19 variants.

A group of public health and medical experts from within the U.S. Health and Human Services Agency issued a joint statement expressing their support for the administration of booster shots roughly eight months after full vaccination with the two-dose vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

While the two vaccines remain highly effective at preventing serious infections and death, the officials argued that preemptively boosting the immune response, particularly among people with weakened immune systems and other high-risk demographics like nursing home residents, would maximize protection against the delta variant and subsequent variants, which could be even more potent.

The group of federal officials includes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Food and Drug Administration acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.

"Our top priority remains staying ahead of the virus and protecting the American people from COVID-19 with safe, effective, and long-lasting vaccines especially in the context of a constantly changing virus and epidemiologic landscape," the group said in its joint statement.

Booster doses will also likely be necessary for those who have gotten or will get the one-dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but federal officials expect to have more data in the coming weeks since the J&J vaccine did not become available in the U.S. until March.

The formal approval of booster shots remains subject to safety and effectiveness evaluations by the FDA and a CDC advisory panel.

The CDC's vaccination advisory panel already issued an approval of booster doses last week for people with weakened immune systems who are more likely to suffer so-called breakthrough COVID-19 infections because their immune response is not as robust as that of people with fully functional immune systems.

State public health officials have also given the go-ahead to booster doses for immunocompromised people after the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup — which includes officials from Nevada, Oregon, Washington and California — issued its approval on Monday.

"As California continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, it is critical we take action to protect immunocompromised people who are most vulnerable to severe disease," California Department of Public Health Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said Monday in a statement.

According to federal officials, booster doses will be made available starting Sept. 20 to people who received their second vaccine dose eight months prior or more.

"At that time, the individuals who were fully vaccinated earliest in the vaccination rollout, including many health care providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors, will likely be eligible for a booster," the HHS officials said Wednesday.

The World Health Organization has pushed back on the federal government's booster shot plan, arguing that people in nonwealthy nations around the world must be prioritized before considering additional doses in wealthy Western countries.

HHS officials acknowledged the need to make vaccines available in poor countries but argued that the U.S. has already committed to donate more than 600 million doses globally, plans to donate even more and that increases in vaccination are needed both domestically and abroad.

"Nearly all the cases of severe disease, hospitalization, and death continue to occur among those not yet vaccinated at all," the officials said. "We will continue to ramp up efforts to increase vaccinations here at home and to ensure people have accurate information about vaccines from trusted sources."

State tightens vaccine proof requirement for large events of 1,000 or more

State public health officials tightened vaccine verification requirements Wednesday for large indoor events, requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for events with more than 1,000 people.

Starting Sept. 20, the California Department of Public Health will require indoor venues to confirm the vaccination status of attendees or that they've tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of an event.

Venues will also no longer be able to allow event attendees and spectators to self-attest their vaccination status and are encouraged to utilize the state's digital vaccine record system.

State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director Dr. Tomas Aragon cited the spread of the ultra-contagious delta variant as well as the COVID-19 vaccines' success at preventing serious illness and death as the main reasons for the verification requirements.

"By requiring individuals to be vaccinated, or test negative for COVID-19 at large events, we are decreasing the risk of infection, hospitalization and death," Aragon said.

The state had previously required vaccine or negative test verification for events of 5,000 or more people through at least Oct. 1. Until Sept. 20, those rules will remain in effect.

State public health officials touted support for the new guidelines from entertainment event giants like Live Nation Entertainment and AEG as well as Californians for the Arts.

"Vaccination and health check requirements ensure everyone can continue enjoying live music while also encouraging even more people to go get vaccinated, which is why Live Nation has made this the standard at our venues and festivals across the country," Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino said in a statement. "We fully support California's efforts and will stay in lockstep to keep bringing live music back to the Golden State."

The guidelines issued Wednesday will keep the verification system in place through at least Nov. 1, according to the CDPH.

State superintendent encourages eligible students, parents to get vaccinated before fall term

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond urged students Friday to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before the fall term begins and full, in-person classes resume.

Thurmond called on students age 12 and up to get vaccinated as soon as they can to protect themselves, their peers and their teachers.

Thurmond also urged parents to do the same, especially if they have children who are under age 12 and thus not yet eligible for a vaccine.

"We just want to urge and encourage every adult who can get a vaccine, if nothing else, get your vaccine so that you can help your children who can't get a vaccine be able to be safe and to be able to get their education in person," Thurmond said Friday morning.

Thurmond deferred to state legislators and public health officials when asked if the state is considering a mandate for the COVID-19 vaccine the same way it mandates vaccinations against illnesses like measles and whooping cough, but argued the vaccines' protection from serious illness and death is a public good.

"At the rate that they are projecting that the unvaccinated folks will get COVID-19 due to the (delta) variant, it seems to me that a vaccine mandate is a good thing," he said. "But mandates are only as good as they are able to be enforced. ... Until there are mandates, we must do all that we can to educate those who have been hesitant."

Thurmond's encouragement comes the same week that three unvaccinated teachers in Broward County, Florida, died due to COVID-19 complications just a week before their classes were scheduled to start.

State officials have attempted to mitigate similar outcomes by requiring teachers to either confirm their vaccination status or get tested for COVID-19 weekly.

"We're seeing that 99% of the cases with serious injury are those who are unvaccinated," Thurmond said. "That tells us that we can prevent serious injury by making sure that those who can't get a vaccine get one."

CDC panel approves third COVID vaccine dose for people with weakened immune systems

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advisory panel unanimously voted Friday to support COVID-19 vaccine boosters for immunocompromised people.

The guidance, which CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to formally support on Friday, applies to people who have received the two-dose series of vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Following Walensky's approval, booster shots could be in arms as soon as this weekend. The Food and Drug Administration also issued its approval Thursday night of booster shots for people with weakened immune systems.

According to the CDC, some people who may be recommended to get a third vaccine dose include people who are being treated for cancer, organ transplant recipients, people with HIV and people actively being treated with immunosuppressant qualities like chemotherapeutic drugs.

Roughly 7 million U.S. adults have a weakened immune system and as such are more likely to suffer so-called breakthrough COVID-19 infections after they've been fully vaccinated, as their antibody response is not as robust as that of people with fully functional immune systems.

Free COVID-19 vaccine clinics lined up in Woodside, Portola Valley

Two vaccine clinics will be held at the Portola Valley Town Center at 765 Portola Road in the Community Hall Courtyard (by the library). Register or walk up to get your vaccine on Sunday, Aug. 8, 1-4 p.m. Second doses will be administered on Sunday, Aug. 29, 1-4 p.m.

Registration is preferred online at myturn.ca.gov or by phone at 833-422-4255, but walk-ups will also be accepted. Vaccinations are open to everyone ages 12 and older in San Mateo County, regardless of immigration status. Anyone under 18 years old will need parental consent.

The Sequoia Union High School District has partnered with Safeway to host a free clinic in Woodside High School's gym, 199 Churchill Ave. in Woodside, on Aug. 10 from 9 a.m. to noon and 4-6 p.m. The event is open to all.

More information is available at seq.org.

State public health department issues indoor mask recommendation regardless of vaccination status

The California Department of Public Health formally recommended Wednesday that state residents resume wearing a face covering indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.

The recommendation comes one day after the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued similar guidance for people who live in areas with high COVID-19 case and transmission rates.

According to CDPH officials, more than 90% of the state's population lives in areas with "substantial or high" transmission of the virus, driven primarily by the ultra-contagious delta variant and a wave of new cases that are almost exclusively among the unvaccinated.

"The delta variant has caused a sharp increase in hospitalizations and case rates across the state," CDPH Director and state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon. "We are recommending masking in indoor public places to slow the spread while we continue efforts to get more Californians vaccinated."

Public health officials in 10 of the 11 counties in the greater Bay Area, the exception being Solano County, issued similar guidance over the last two weeks, urging residents to wear face coverings inside public places like grocery and retail stores, theaters and family entertainment centers, especially those which are not requiring vaccination for entry. Some jurisdictions like San Mateo County have taken the step of requiring masks indoors at county facilities like offices and clinics.

The state has also announced that students will be required to wear masks in class regardless of their vaccination status when the fall term begins.

In Santa Clara, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties, public health officials have urged employers to go one step further and mandate that their employees get vaccinated or be subject to frequent COVID-19 testing, arguing that people are now faced with the choice of getting vaccinated or contracting the coronavirus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also announced this week that state employees and health care workers will be required to get vaccinated if they haven't already or get tested at least once a week.

State and local officials have so far shied away from committing to a full vaccination mandate, instead opting to work with community-based organizations to persuade eligible residents to get vaccinated and frequently reiterating the vaccines' safety and efficacy at preventing severe illness and death.

"We're mindful that there are a lot of people that are still anxious, a lot of people that still need to work with doctors and private settings to work through those anxieties," Newsom said Tuesday. Newsom has frequently argued that potential mask and vaccination mandates will be unnecessary provided that enough residents get vaccinated to quell new outbreaks of the virus.

State residents can visit myturn.ca.gov or myturn.ca.gov/clinic.html to find a vaccination clinic near them.

State to release updated school guidance, continue requiring masks indoors on campuses

State public health officials announced Friday that they will release updated guidance for the fall school semester on Monday, encouraging schools to return to full in-person classes.

The California Department of Public Health plans to issue its updated school guidance with an emphasis on COVID-19 testing support for schools and safety measures like wearing face coverings indoors.

The CDPH's announcement followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's announcement Friday that it will support full, in-person schooling for the fall semester and that it will not require face coverings for fully vaccinated students and staff or at least 3 feet of distance between students within classrooms.

The CDPH, however, will require students and staff to continue wearing face coverings indoors, regardless of vaccination status, to "ensure that all kids are treated the same."

"At the outset of the new year, students should be able to walk into school without worrying about whether they will feel different or singled out for being vaccinated or unvaccinated — treating all kids the same will support a calm and supportive school environment," state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a statement.

To help fund the state's school system, Gov. Gavin Newsom also signed a funding package Friday that will allocate nearly $124 billion to support expanded afterschool and summer learning programs, increase school staff sizes and make pre-kindergarten available for free for all of the state's 4-year-olds by 2025.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in California's future and expand opportunities for every child across the state," Newsom said in a statement.

Updated information on the state's school guidance and reopenings can be found at schools.covid19.ca.gov.

State case rate tops 3% for first time in two months, driven by cases among unvaccinated

California's average daily number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the last seven days eclipsed three for the first time in nearly two months Thursday, an uptick driven mostly by cases among unvaccinated people according to state testing data.

The state's case rate now sits at 3.1 cases per 100,000, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The case rate had been steadily declining between mid-January and the end of May, falling as low as two cases per 100,000 on May 30. It hasn't been three or higher since May 16.

That figure obscures a disparity, however, as the case rate for the state's fully vaccinated population is just 0.6 per 100,000 while the case rate for unvaccinated residents is 4.9 per 100,000 as of Thursday.

That trend has been observed at the local level as well, as the handful of breakthrough cases among vaccinated residents is far outpaced by the unvaccinated.

In Contra Costa County, the rate per 100,000 for vaccinated residents is just 0.8 but sits at 7.1 for unvaccinated residents.

"The most important thing we can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 is ensure everyone who is eligible gets vaccinated," CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said in a statement last week.

COVID-19 vaccines are available to all state residents age 12 and up.

Santa Clara County's COVID-19 death toll drops after data change

Santa Clara County's Department of Public Health has redefined the way it counts COVID-19 deaths in the county, which has brought the total death toll down by 22%.

The recent change is part of the county's effort to better understand the health impacts of COVID-19, officials said on Friday.

Initially, anyone who had COVID-19 at the time of their death was counted in the death toll, in accordance with state definitions.

Now the county is only counting those in which COVID-19 was listed as part of the cause of death on the death certificate, which focuses more on the determinations made by the medical examiner.

It brings the county's death toll down from 2,201 to 1,698 individuals, according to the county's Public Health Department.

"Throughout the pandemic, we have focused on bringing the best information to the public as soon as we have it," said Dr. Sarah Rudman, assistant public health officer. "As we see more vaccinations and fewer cases and deaths, we have had the opportunity to more deeply analyze the deaths that came in during the height of the pandemic."

Alameda County conducted a similar review of county deaths in early June and their death toll dropped by 411, to 1,223 total fatalities.

Rudman said by reevaluating the data, the county can better understand what happened in the last 15 months and inform future decisions.

"At the same time, our hearts go out to all families and loved ones of those we have lost during the pandemic, regardless of whether their deaths were ultimately attributed to COVID-19," she continued.

Despite definition changes, COVID-19 remains the third leading cause of death for Santa Clara County residents in 2020.

The Public Health Department said it will continue to review data to learn more about the pandemic impacts, "particularly on those communities hardest hit by the pandemic."

Leader of Santa Clara County's COVID-19 testing and vaccine task force to leave

In another sign that Santa Clara County is confident it has control over the spread of COVID-19, the county's COVID-19 testing and vaccine officer is stepping down on July 2.

Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, whose planned departure was announced during Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, said he will be making his "second attempt at retirement." Fenstersheib held the county's top public health position until retiring in 2013, having worked for the county for 29 years. He worked as San Benito County's health officer until May 2020 when he quit rather than bow to pressure from the San Benito County Board of Supervisors to reopen the economy in the early months of the pandemic. Weeks later, current Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody asked him to join the local effort against COVID-19.

He ramped up testing from 1,000 tests a day to the state's goal of more than 4,000 and beyond; oversaw efforts to procure more vaccines directly from the federal government; and set up a comprehensive vaccination network. Under his direction, the county is nearing its goal of vaccinating 85% of residents, thus reaching what it considers herd immunity to stop the spread of the disease. It reached the top spot among large counties in the U.S. in terms of vaccinating residents and has the 17th highest ranking among all 3,000 of the nation's counties, he reported.

County supervisors thanked him for his work. "Your dedication to our county is so much appreciated. I'm certainly very sad to see you going, but I guess that's also good news, showing our numbers of cases are dropping to the point that it is manageable," Supervisor Otto Lee said.

Supervisor Joe Simitian called Fenstersheib an exemplary model of public service. "When I look at Marty Fenstersheib, what I see is the face of public service, and I think for anyone who wonders whether the notion of public service has come and gone as an American value, I would just ask them to take a look at Marty," Simitian said. "He is the personification of public service in a way that I think should really give courage and strength to any who doubt that we still have it in us as a nation."

State launches digital COVID-19 vaccination records to be used in lieu of paper cards

Vaccinated state residents can now access their vaccine record digitally through a tool introduced Friday by California's Department of Public Health and Department of Technology.

The digital record can be accessed at myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov and requires residents to input their name, date of birth, phone number or email address and a four-digit PIN.

Users will then receive a link to their digital record, which has the same information as the physical Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination record card given out when people receive their shots, as well as a QR code that can be scanned to show the same information.

Officials with the two departments stressed that the digital record would not be used as a so-called vaccine passport and is an alternative way for vaccinated residents to confirm their status when entering a business or event.

"More than 22 million Californians are now at least partially vaccinated, with nearly 20 million fully vaccinated," state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said Friday in a briefing on the tool.

"The odds are someone is going to misplace their paper CDC card and the digital COVID-19 vaccine record provides a convenient backup," Pan said.

The state Department of Technology's Office of Enterprise Technology designed the tool in-house, according to the office's Deputy Director Rick Klau.

Klau also noted that QR code readers will only be able to see the information present on the digital vaccine card and will not be able to store that information.

"They will see as if they were looking at the CDC card but it does not permit the creation of a copy of that information for storage," Klau said.

The state also has no plans to launch its own mobile app that would verify vaccine record QR codes, Klau said, although state officials are in talks about the possibility of a trusted QR code verification system that is compliant with the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, which oversees the security of credit and debit cards.

Vaccinated people who need to correct or update their vaccination record can do so at cdph.ca.gov/covidvaccinerecord or contact the state's COVID-19 hotline at 833-422-4255.

To incentivize vaccination, leaders plan to raffle off concert tickets

Santa Clara County and the city of San Jose are raffling off more than 100 tickets to upcoming concerts, events and other prizes to anyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccine at select county-run vaccination sites in the next few weeks.

It is the county's latest incentive to encourage more vaccinations.

Residents can win tickets to Golden State Warriors games or concerts featuring Harry Styles, the Weeknd, Bad Bunny, Justin Bieber, Marc Anthony, Evanescence and many other artists.

Anyone can enter the raffle by getting vaccinated at county-run sites at Overfelt High School, the County Fairgrounds Expo Hall, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Valley Specialty Center, Mountain View Community Center, Levi's Stadium (through June 24) or Gilroy High School (through July 7). Pop-up clinics are not included in the raffle.

Different prizes will be raffled off every week and eight to 10 winners will be announced each Wednesday at 2 p.m. from June 23 to July 28 on the Santa Clara County Public Health Department's Instagram Live feed @scc_publichealth.

Those who have already been vaccinated also have a chance to win some of the raffles as well if they accompany an unvaccinated person to one of the aforementioned sites and bring proof of vaccination.

"People who aren't vaccinated are still very susceptible to severe illness from COVID-19," said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, COVID-19 Vaccine Officer for the County of Santa Clara. "It's important for everyone in the county who is eligible to get the vaccine. We hope this opportunity will encourage people to do the right thing and get vaccinated for their safety and for the safety of our entire community."

All event tickets are for the SAP Center in San Jose except the Golden State Warriors tickets and Trevor Noah tickets, which are for events held at Chase Center in San Francisco. A full list of the events can be found at covid19.sccgov.org.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations in Santa Clara County, including details on scheduling appointments, visit sccfreevax.org.

Four mass vaccination sites to close in Santa Clara County

Four out of Santa Clara's five mass vaccination sites are closing in the next few weeks, but it is not a bad thing, county health leaders said.

With nearly 80% of the eligible county residents vaccinated, temporary emergency sites are no longer needed.

Remaining vaccine appointments can be accommodated at pop-up and mobile sites, retail pharmacies and health care clinics.

On Friday, the Berger site is closing. Residents who had their second vaccine dose scheduled there will have appointments transferred to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.

The site at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara will close two weeks later on June 24 and those needing their second dose will also be transferred to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.

Gilroy High School will close on July 7, where appointments will be transferred to Valley Health Center Gilroy.

And the Mountain View Community Center still does not have a set closing date but when it does, residents will be directed to go to Valley Health Center in Sunnyvale.

Right now, COVID-19 case rates are at an all-time low with a rolling seven-day average of about 20 cases, county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said at a Board of Supervisors meeting this week.

"I anticipate that our case rate will vary, it may go up and down, but I don't expect it (to) surge back up because of our vaccination rates," Cody said.

The county's goal is to inoculate 85% of eligible residents vaccinated by Tuesday, the day the state forgoes its tier system, its current mask mandate and essentially opens back up with many less restrictions.

Vaccine and testing officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said vaccine supply is plentiful and urged remaining residents to book an appointment or go to a walk-up site soon.

To make a vaccine appointment or find a site, people can visit sccfreevax.org or call 211.

State health department warns of scams involving vaccine incentive program

The state Department of Public Health is asking Californians to be on the lookout — and to report — any incidents of potential fraud involving scammers trying to take advantage of the state's recently announced COVID-19 vaccination incentive programs.

The public notified the department of scammers impersonating state officials shortly after Friday's announcement of the first cash prize drawing of the Vax for the Win program, which is intended to motivate people to get vaccinated before the state's reopens on June 15.

People reported that scammers impersonating state officials contacted them by telephone, email, text messages and through social media, asking for fees and bank information.

State officials urge people who have been approached by such scams to email [email protected] or call the Vax for the Win incentives hotline at 833-993-3873.

Below are facts about the program and how to recognize legitimate contacts from fraudulent ones:

• There is no process for entry in the Vax for the Win program. All vaccinated individuals are automatically entered.

• Winners can decline the prize and/or remain anonymous. The privacy of winners is protected. Only the California Department of Public Health knows the identity of the person associated with the random number drawn.

• Winners will be notified by CDPH officials through an official "State of CA CDPH" caller and text ID, a CDPH email address or in person by CDPH staff.

• Winners will not be asked to pay any fees associated with verifying eligibility for the cash prize.

• Winners will not be asked to provide their bank information.

• CDPH will email winners an official state government form to be awarded their winnings. A check will be mailed to the winner by the State Controller's Office.

For reliable information and details of the Vax for the Win program, visit covid19.ca.gov/vax-for-the-win.

Most vaccinated workers must continue masking under revised Cal/OSHA workplace guidance

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health approved revised workplace guidelines that would require workers to continue wearing a mask in some situations even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a marathon hearing that lasted more than six hours Thursday, Cal/OSHA's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to adopt the revised guidance, which mandates that fully vaccinated workers need to wear a mask if a co-worker in the same room is unvaccinated.

In addition, masks are not required in rooms in which all workers are vaccinated. Outdoors, vaccinated and unvaccinated workers without symptoms only need to wear a mask when working at an event with more than 10,000 attendees.

Employers will also be able to get rid of distancing requirements and protective partitions if they provide N95 respirators to unvaccinated employees.

The board took a circuitous route to approve the revised guidance, voting first against the rules after some business groups argued they're too strict and then voting again to adopt them roughly an hour later.

Those against the revised guidance noted that it is more strict than the guidance for fully vaccinated people issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which allows them to forego a mask in most indoor and outdoor settings if they are more than two weeks past receiving their last vaccine dose.

Board members and business and labor advocates backing the revised rules stressed that they are temporary, only codified until Oct. 2.

The board also said it would work to develop a replacement set of rules. Since last year, all workers have been required to wear a mask at all times, regardless of vaccination status, a rule that would have remained in place had the board voted down the revised rules.

The board also voted to establish a three-member subcommittee to advise Cal/OSHA officials about developing a new set of workplace rules that would likely take effect in August at the earliest.

Most of the rules approved Thursday will take effect June 15 — the same day the state is expected to remove all capacity restrictions and reopening tiers — if the state's Office of Administrative Law finds them legally sound in the next 10 days.

Some additional portions of the revised guidance, like the removal of protective partitions and barriers between employees, will take effect July 31.

On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom was cagey when asked whether he would issue an executive order by June 15 to override the revised rules, saying only that he felt the board was "moving in the right direction" and that he looked forward to working with business and labor groups to develop future workplace safety guidance.

"We're processing this ... what happened last night just happened last night," Newsom said. "We look forward to updating you more as we make progress towards eventually getting (the pandemic) 100% behind us."

Bay Area health officers urge schools to commit to full-time in-person learning in fall

Health officers from all over the Bay Area gathered in San Francisco on Thursday to voice their support for the return of in-person learning for all students in the fall.

With most COVID-19 restrictions being lifted across the state as California prepares to fully reopen on June 15, the gathering marked the first time all 10 Bay Area health officers met in person since the onset of the pandemic over a year ago.

The health officers are pushing for the reopening of all schools and all grade levels for this fall, citing a significant drop in COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations as well as higher vaccination rates among people at increased risk and children 12 and over.

"We're seeing a significant rise in all sorts of issues; anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicidality, alcohol and drug use and a host of other chronic mental health conditions. The data is clear. Kids must return to school. School must begin full time, in-person, full classrooms, this fall, if not, sooner," San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow said.

"We've chartered slightly different paths over the course of the pandemic, it was enormously difficult. On this we are 100% united," said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody. "We have learned more about the science of COVID, how it's spread, and how it impacts our schools and communities and we have pivoted, as necessary. And this is why at this moment and time we feel that schools should be open to all."

"We've seen first hand that the rate of transmission within schools is low," said Marin County Health Officer Dr. Matthew Willis. "We've found children are far more likely to be infected outside the school in the general community than within the school."

"This is an immense priority for all of us," San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip said. "It's time to move past the remote learning model and back to the full range of learning and support that our educational communities provide. Bay Area health officers urge school administrators, teachers and parents to work together now to plan for full classrooms for all grades in the fall."

"The classroom environment is a very safe environment and it's getting more and more safe as most of our older students and staff are vaccinated," said Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano.

The officers said if schools reopen fully, they'll still have to follow guidelines set forth by the California Department of Public Health and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which requires masks for all students K-12.

While most of the state's public elementary schools reopened over the last few months, most middle schools and high schools remain closed for full-time in-person learning.

Health officials from 10 Bay Area counties back full-time, in-person school this fall

Health officers from 10 Bay Area counties and one city Friday called for California schools to open for full-time, in-person learning this fall.

Officers from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sonoma and the city of Berkeley issued a statement supporting opening schools for all grades.

"The lack of in-person learning has disrupted education, weakened the social supports provided by school communities, negatively impacted mental health, and prevented participation in the rituals and shared milestones that tie our communities together," according to the group statement.

"The science is now clear that the risk of transmission among children wearing masks is very low, even with reduced spacing between desks," the group asserted.

Factors supporting this conclusion include that in the Bay Area and throughout the state, there are high rates of vaccination among people at increased risk of severe disease, including older adults and those with a high risk of medical complications, according to the group.

Also, children ages 12 and older are now eligible for vaccinations and there is low overall community prevalence.

The group noted that "many schools" in California have brought students and teachers back to campus under the guidelines of the California Department of Public Health including requirements for face covering, basic cleaning, enhanced ventilation and other measures to facilitate a safe return to in-person instruction.

Schools are not legally mandated to reopen in the fall, nor has Gov. Gavin Newsom called for them to do so.

California will reopen on June 15 without any capacity limits or physical distancing requirements for businesses or events, the state's Health and Human Services secretary said May 21.

Newsom in April had announced the expected June 15 reopening date, which state officials confirmed as COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations continue to drop and the number of people vaccinated continues to increase.

Nine Bay Area health officers support new CDC guidance for multiple vaccinations

Health officers in nine Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley announced Friday that they support recent federal guidance approving people to get vaccines for other illnesses at the same time they get a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had previously recommended that people wait at least 14 days after getting the COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated against other preventable illnesses.

With more and more real-world evidence of the vaccines' safety and efficacy, the CDC updated that guidance on May 14.

The Association of Bay Area Health Officials — which includes officials from the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Solano and the city of Berkeley — said Friday that it will support that guidance going forward.

"We know a lot of people have delayed getting care and regular immunizations during the pandemic. This new guidance will make it easier for people to catch up on any immunizations they're due for when they get a COVID-19 vaccine at their provider's office," Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said.

COVID-19 vaccines are available statewide for anyone age 12 and up. Residents who get vaccinated in the next two weeks and those who have already been vaccinated will also be eligible for the state's drawings to win part of $116.5 million in gift cards and cash prizes.

Needed: Nearly 181K vaccinations towards herd immunity

Santa Clara County public health leaders have asked residents and workers to make one more big push to help the county reach herd immunity levels against COVID-19 among those ages 12 and older.

On Tuesday, Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the county's COVID-19 testing and vaccine officer, told the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors that the county needs another 180,925 people ages 12 and older to reach the desired 85% mark of those who have at least one vaccine dose in their arm. The percentage is believed to confer "herd immunity" on a population to stop the spread of a disease.

The county and the nation would still need to vaccinate 85% of the total population to reach true herd immunity levels. Vaccines have not yet been approved for children under age 12 and infants. Fenstersheib said demand has slowed down for the vaccines, but the number of doses remains plentiful.

The county continues to see infection rates and deaths fall. From Jan. 27 through May 23, the county has averaged 45 new cases per day, county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said. The county continues to stay firm in the state's least-restrictive "yellow" tier under the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, with a 0.5% infection positivity rate overall and a 1.0% rate among the county's 25% most disadvantaged residents under the state's Healthy Places Index.

State confirms June 15 reopening with no capacity, physical distancing requirements

California will reopen on June 15 without any capacity limits or physical distancing requirements for businesses or events, the state's Health and Human Services secretary said Friday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom last month announced the expected June 15 reopening date, which state officials on Friday confirmed as COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations continue to drop and the number of people vaccinated continues to increase.

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly on a call with reporters Friday said COVID-19-related hospitalizations are down to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic, while vaccines are available with no wait throughout the state for everyone ages 12 and up.

As a result, California will end its tiered system of restrictions for counties as it lifts the capacity and distancing limits on June 15.

"Those requirements of the past are no longer needed for the foreseeable future," Ghaly said.

He said the state will be laying out recommendations and guidelines for vaccine verifications for businesses but will not be creating any sort of vaccine passport system.

Dee Dee Myers, a senior adviser to Newsom, said confirming the June 15 reopening date is "a really important milestone as we move forward" and "will allow people to really plan in detail" for their businesses or events in the coming weeks and months.

"We're still in the middle of that transition, and not sure what the next normal is going to look like," Myers said.

Ghaly said a priority will be working with local school districts to make sure K-12 schools are fully reopening for the new school year, and said while vaccines were recently made available for people as young as 12 years old, vaccine eligibility for children ages 2-11 might not happen until the late summer or early fall.

As California reopens fully, public health officials anticipate that COVID-19 cases will rise, but Ghaly said he doesn't think it will have a significant impact on the state's hospital systems given current levels of vaccination, and there won't be any new metrics counties will need to reach to stay out of further capacity or social distancing restrictions.

Bay Area health officers formally support state keeping mask mandate through June 15

Public health officers in 11 Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley formally voiced their support Wednesday for the state keeping its mask mandate in place through June 15.

State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced Monday that the state would keep its mask mandate in place despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updating its mask guidance last week to permit fully vaccinated people to forego wearing a mask both indoors and outdoors in most situations.

June 15 is also when the state plans to lift its tiered reopening system, formally called the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, allowing businesses to expand back to their full indoor capacities.

In a joint statement, health officers in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties and the city of Berkeley said that while the CDC's update was supported by the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines available to the public, just 47% of state residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated.

"This next month is critical to ensuring more of our residents can access vaccinations, and that businesses and other entities are able to prepare for implementation of the CDC's updated masking guidance," the health officers said in their statement.

Several Bay Area counties are well ahead of the state's vaccination percentage, having fully vaccinated more than 60% of people 16 and up. Santa Clara and San Mateo counties reported 57.3% and 77.6% of residents ages 12 and up, respectively, were vaccinated as of Wednesday.

In addition to the continued vaccination of adults, the 12 jurisdictions are also just starting to administer vaccines to children ages 12-15, who became eligible for the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week.

"Because the vaccine supply had previously been so low, many people did not have the opportunity to be vaccinated," San Mateo County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Curtis Chan said in a statement. "Now there is enough vaccine for everyone — at county-sponsored clinics, health care providers, national chain pharmacies, and other community organizations. Let's help more people and communities get immunized by June 15th."

State's mask mandate to continue until June 15

California will wait until next month to implement recent masking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for fully vaccinated people, state officials said Monday.

State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the state will begin enforcing the new CDC guidance, which permits fully vaccinated people to forego wearing a mask both indoors and outdoors in most situations, on June 15.

June 15 is also when the state plans to lift its arcane tiered reopening system, formally called the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, allowing businesses to expand back to their full indoor capacities.

"This four-week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change while we continue the relentless focus on delivering vaccines, particularly to underserved communities and those that were hard hit throughout the pandemic," Ghaly said Monday during a media teleconference briefing.

The CDC issued its updated guidance Thursday, stating that it was safe for people who are at least two weeks past their last vaccination date to not wear a mask or practice social distancing.

California's mask mandate requires people to wear a face covering at all times indoors or on public transit, regardless of vaccination status, unless actively eating or drinking.

Outside, state residents are not required to wear a mask or other face covering as long as they can maintain proper distance between themselves and others, regardless of vaccination status.

Ghaly argued that the state was not questioning the safety or timing of the CDC's guidance by waiting until June 15 to lift California's mask mandate.

Rather, state health officials plan to use the next month to determine to what extent the state will enforce some masking rules and how it will do so.

"It's in no way saying the science or the direction by the CDC is wrong or there's a challenge to it," Ghaly said. "It's really just giving ourselves across the state some additional time to have it implemented with a high degree of integrity with a continued focus on protecting the public health in mind."

The state keeping its masking guidance in place for the next month will also apply to businesses, even if some have already announced they will adhere to the CDC's guidance.

Between the CDC's announcement on Thursday and Monday's announcement by state officials, Walmart, Trader Joe's and Costco announced they would not require fully vaccinated customers to wear a mask indoors.

"The CDC has given states a chance to guide how (the new guidelines) get implemented," Ghaly said. "So we expect businesses in California to adhere to where the state is, and move to implement these standards and prepare for them on June 15 as opposed to now."

After June 15, Ghaly said the state may still deem it necessary to restart the mask mandate if coronavirus cases flare up.

Local jurisdictions and businesses will also have carte blanche, more or less, to require face masks indoors or in certain situations.

More than 34.5 million vaccine doses have been administered across the state since the coronavirus vaccines first became available in mid-December.

Roughly 15.6 million state residents - 49% of the state's population — are fully vaccinated, according to state vaccination data. Another 4.7 million — 15% of the population — have received the first dose of either of the two-dose vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.

"We continue to urge from the mountaintops, if you will, all Californians to get vaccinated to ensure that infections and hospitalization rates remain low across the state and that we can all return to those activities we love and have been missing for so long," Ghaly said.

Vaccine clinics scheduled at local schools

Vaccinations for San Mateo County residents ages 12 and older will be offered Saturday, May 15, at San Mateo High School and Cesar Chavez Ravenswood Middle School in East Palo Alto, then next week Tuesday and Wednesday at the San Mateo County Event Center. Other appointments and clinics are available beyond Wednesday.

There are about 40,000 county residents 12 to 15 years old, according to the county. Read more here.

The Palo Alto Unified School District is opening up its first vaccine site for eligible students this Sunday at Palo Alto High School. It will be at Palo Alto High School's Peery Family Center gym, said Lana Conaway, assistant superintendent of equity and student affairs.

Through a partnership with Safeway Pharmacy, the district will host daylong clinics on campus to administer shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Parents will be able to schedule a time slot for their children online ahead of time, with up to 1,000 shots of the vaccine available during each clinic (all 1,000 slots have been taken for the May 16 event). Read more here.

The Menlo Park City School District, through Safeway Pharmacy, will be hosting drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinics on Friday, May 21, and Monday, May 24, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Hillview Middle School, 1100 Elder Ave. in Menlo Park for anyone over 12 years old.

Advanced registration and a signed parent consent form are required. The form is here in English and here in Spanish.

In partnership with Walgreens, Menlo-Atherton High School will receive 500 doses of Pfizer's vaccine to administer the first round of shots to members of the school community ages 12 and older on Wednesday, May 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those who get inoculated on that day will receive their second dose three weeks later on June 19. To register, visit wagsoutreach.com.

Ravenswood City School District students ages 12 and older can receive a dose of the Pfizer vaccine when their parents drop them off to campus on dedicated days through early June, according to the Ravenswood Family Health Network.

Vaccination opportunities have been lined up at Costaño Elementary on Thursday, May 27, from 8-9 a.m.; Los Robles Elementary on June 1, 3 and 4 from 8-9 a.m.; and Belle Haven Elementary on June 8, 10 and 11, from 8:15-9:15 a.m.

COVID-19 vaccine now available for Santa Clara County residents ages 12 and older

Santa Clara County officials announced Wednesday that all residents ages 12 and older can get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Appointments to get the Pfizer vaccine are available on the county's website at sccfreevax.org, which includes information about numerous drop-in vaccination sites throughout the county.

The Pfizer vaccine was endorsed for people ages 12-15 Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This is fantastic news," Dr. Sara Cody, the county's health officer and director of public health, said in a statement. "The Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective, and I'm thrilled that more of our young people can now get vaccinated to protect themselves, protect their community, and safely return to more activities."

Residents between ages 12-17 need to provide a signed consent form from a parent or legal guardian. The consent form is available online during the appointment-making process and directly at vax.sccgov.org.

San Mateo County launches COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 12-15

San Mateo County began offering COVID-19 vaccinations to 12 to 15 year-olds at its Pfizer vaccine clinics on Thursday.

The Pfizer vaccine got final approval from the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup on Wednesday evening, giving clearance for California to begin vaccinating 12 to 15 year-olds after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its authorization on Monday.

Clinics are available throughout San Mateo County without an appointment, though people can still schedule an appointment at the state's MyTurn.ca.gov website. San Mateo County residents 12 to 17 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at the vaccination clinic. They can also bring a signed copy of the vaccination consent form, available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Samoan and Tongan.

Read more here.

FDA authorizes Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 12-15

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday amended an emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 12 to 15 years old, the federal agency said.

The FDA expanded the emergency use authorization, which since Dec. 11 allowed the vaccine to be administered to people ages 16 and older.

Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said allowing the vaccine in younger teens is a significant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency undertook "a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations," she said in a statement.

Approximately 1.5 million COVID-19 cases in people ages 11-17 have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from March 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021, although children and adolescents generally have a milder reaction to COVID-19 as compared to adults, the FDA said.

The vaccine would be administered at the same dosage and regimen as for people ages 16 and older — in two doses given three weeks apart.

"Having a vaccine authorized for a younger population is a critical step in continuing to lessen the immense public health burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

A safety study of 2,260 participants in the 12 to 15 age group found they reported the same sets of side effects from the vaccine as adults. They were followed for more than two months after receiving the doses.

The most commonly reported side effects in the adolescent clinical trial were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever and joint pain. With the exception of pain at the injection site, more adolescents reported these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose.

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet on Wednesday to discuss whether to recommend the use of the vaccine to the adolescent group. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to make the decision about whether to recommend its use. California's Public Health Department will make its own decision after a review of the data on whether the vaccine can be used for this age group in the state.

Santa Clara County further expands vaccination hours

Santa Clara County continues to encourage teens and other eligible community members to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by further expanding its evening and weekend hours and various pop-up sites that don't require an appointment.

Teens and young adults currently have lower rates of vaccination. Younger people ages 16 to 29 comprise the highest number of unvaccinated individuals in the county. Eighteen- to 34-year-olds have the highest rate of COVID-19 infection of any age group, county officials noted in a press release Saturday.

"As we approach school graduation events and the summer holiday season, it is vital for those who intend to attend gatherings and celebrations to do so in the safest manner possible for themselves and the community — fully vaccinated," the county said in a May 8 statement.

"We have prioritized the lowest vaccinated census tracts for our mobile pop up clinics and door to door canvassing," Deputy County Executive Dr. Rocio Luna said. "Our mobile clinics have delivered more than 45,000 doses of vaccine at over 100 sites, and we're also locating clinics at schools and offering incentives for youth to get vaccinated."

Read more here.

Clinics boost vaccination rates in underserved communities

Community clinics have helped boost COVID-19 vaccination rates in hard-hit San Mateo County neighborhoods, but there are still pockets of people the effort has not yet reached.

In the county's most vulnerable communities, the vaccination rate was 59% as of April 29, while the countywide average is over 70%.

At the Ravenswood Family Health Network, vaccine clinics serve residents of East Palo Alto, where vaccination rates have been the lowest of all cities in San Mateo County. As of April 29, 46% of East Palo Alto residents had received the vaccine.

Ravenswood has administered over 15,000 vaccine doses so far, according to Chief Executive Officer Luisa Buada. There are clinics in East Palo Alto, Mountain View and Sunnyvale.

Read more here.

Most vaccination sites will accept drop-ins this week in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County health officials announced Monday that COVID-19 vaccines will be available to residents age 16 and older on a drop-in basis at most of its vaccination sites through Sunday.

Same-day appointments are also available at vaccination sites throughout the county, including at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara and Eastridge Mall in San Jose.

The Mountain View Community Center is among the locations with multiple drop-in days. The center, located at 201 S. Rengstorff Ave., is open for drop-ins on Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

County health officials say 65% of residents age 16 and older have received a first dose and that 37% are fully vaccinated. The county figures are available online at sccfreevax.org.

A full list of locations is available at covid19.sccgov.org.

Officials fix undercount of Latinos vaccinated by Kaiser in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County officials have corrected its count of Latinos who have received the COVID-19 vaccine from Kaiser Permanente.

Officials recently determined that when data counting Latinos was transferred into the state's immunization registry, most had their ethnicity replaced with "other" or "non-Hispanic."

Working with Kaiser, county officials fixed the error and added more than 22,000 to the count of Hispanic/Latino community members who have received at least one dose.

The county's vaccination dashboard is available here.

Health officials reassure safety of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Nine health officers from the greater Bay Area on Sunday released a statement supporting recent federal guidance to lift the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for adults.

The health officers, from the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Solano, and the city of Berkeley, said they agree with findings that the vaccine is safe and the risk of developing the rare clotting disorder is extremely low.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration announced they would accept the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' recommendations to lift pausing on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for all adults.

Sunday's statement from the health officers recommends Bay Area health providers resume administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in an effort to prevent community spread and severe illness and death from COVID-19.

The region's health officers also support adding a warning label and the Western States Scientific Safety Review's recommendation that culturally and linguistically appropriate informational materials in an accessible reading level be made available.

The San Mateo County Health Department wasn't included in the statement, but a representative said Sunday the health officer for the county agreed with lifting the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should contact their primary healthcare provider if they have concerns or if they develop severe symptoms of headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination, the health officers said.

State opens COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone ages 16 and older

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opened statewide Thursday to everyone age 16 and older, including in seven of the 11 counties in the greater Bay Area.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced March 25 that the state planned to open vaccine access to everyone 16 and older Thursday in anticipation of increasing dose allocations from the federal government.

Newsom has said several times in recent weeks that the state's only constraint preventing it from administering up to 6 million doses per day has been supply.

On Thursday, he said the state expects to receive roughly 2 million doses this week, with weekly allocations from the federal government increasing in the weeks ahead.

"April 15, 2021, in the state of California is not Tax Day, it's 'vax' day," Newsom said during a briefing at Our Lady of Rosary Church in Union City.

The eligibility change comes roughly four months after vaccine doses began arriving in California amid the winter surge of coronavirus cases.

Doses continued to trickle into the state in the early part of the year, but state and local officials repeatedly complained that a lack of supply hampered the ability to open eligibility beyond essential sectors like health care and food service workers.

That began to change over the last two weeks as millions of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses flooded into the state.

Since March 30, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties have opened vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older ahead of the state's Thursday deadline.

Roughly half of the state's eligible residents have received at least one vaccine dose, according to Newsom. Last week alone, the state administered some 2.7 million vaccine doses, he said.

Newsom noted that the temporary pause in use of the vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen is not likely to significantly hurt the state's vaccination effort as it represents only 4% of the state's weekly vaccine administrations.

The state issued a pause in the use of the one-dose Janssen vaccine Monday after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed severe blood clots within two weeks of receiving the shot.

Roughly 7 million Janssen vaccines have been administered nationwide, and a causal link between the vaccine and the clots has not yet been established, according to federal officials.

Newsom said the state is "more than able" to make up for the unused Janssen vaccines with the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Newsom and other state officials have pointed to widespread vaccine supply as critical to the state's plan to lift reopening restrictions on businesses on June 15 and to prevent a surge like the one during the winter that forced the state to issue a stay-at-home order from mid-December to Jan. 25.

New coronavirus cases have plummeted since then, however. Newsom said Thursday that the state's COVID-19 test positivity rate of 1.7% is the lowest among all 50 states.

"Roughly 2,300 people are hospitalized, proving still how deadly this disease is," Newsom said. "But consider, in January, we had close to 23,000 people hospitalized."

Eligible state residents can contact their local health department for information about how to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Residents can also use the state's My Turn vaccine scheduling tool, revamped for Thursday's eligibility change, here.

"We are making progress," Newsom said. "We're going to defeat this disease; we're going to end this pandemic. There's a bright light at the end of the tunnel, but we still have more work to do."

Starting April 8, Santa Clara County residents and workers who are 16 years and older can sign up on the county’s website for COVID-19 vaccine appointments, according to a county public-information officer. Those who are 16 and older become eligible to receive a shot on April 15, and the county is allowing people to sign up a week in advance of the date their group becomes eligible.

Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, director of COVID-19 testing and vaccines, said on Tuesday that there continues to be a shortage of vaccines, and on Thursday, the county sign-up page at sccfreevax.org noted no appointments were available. A spokesperson on Thursday afternoon confirmed the reason is the shortage. However, people should keep trying to get an appointment, as more will open up as more vaccines are available. The state expects the supply to increase later in April and May.

Those having difficulty making appointments can opt to subscribe to the Bay Area Vaccine Hunters Facebook page, which provides additional information on when appointments slots at health care centers and pharmacies become available. (Read more about it in "Bay Area vaccine hunters are here to help.")

State updates event guidance to allow limited crowds for live performances, private events

Counties outside of the state's purple COVID-19 reopening tier will be allowed to resume indoor events like conferences and concerts as soon as April 15, according to new guidance announced Friday by state public health officials.

Counties that are in the red, orange and yellow tiers will be allowed to resume indoor live events and performances with capacity caps ranging from 10% to 50%, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Capacity caps will change depending on the tier in which a county sits as well as whether a venue requires all attendees to be tested or show proof of full vaccination before entering.

Indoor event spaces will also be required to sell tickets in advance, designate areas for eating and drinking, ensure attendees can remain physically distant from each other and limit attendance to California residents.

"We will continue to work with businesses, arts organizations, community groups and others to open carefully, with health and safety top of mind, so that we never have to go backwards," said Dee Dee Myers, a senior adviser to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The CDPH also issued updated guidance allowing private events like receptions and conferences to resume both outdoors and indoors.

Such activities must be held outside and can have capacities up to 25 people in the purple tier, 50 in the red tier, 100 in the orange tier and 200 in the yellow tier.

Attendees will also have to purchase tickets in advance and events must have a defined guest list and assigned seating. Private events can move indoors and expand capacity if all guests have tested negative or shown full proof of vaccination.

Smaller outdoor gatherings are also allowed under the new guidance, which previously limited gatherings to three households.

As of April 15, outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are allowed in the red tier, up to 50 people in the orange tier and up to 100 people in the yellow tier.

Outdoor gatherings in the purple tier remain limited to three households and must be held outdoors while gatherings in the other three tiers can be held indoors with modifications and capacity limits, although they remain discouraged by state officials.

State public health officials said the changes to the tier system, formally known as the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, are the result of continuing vaccination progress and lowering COVID-19 case rates across the state.

"By following public health guidelines such as wearing masks and getting vaccinated when eligible, we can resume additional activities as we take steps to reduce risk," said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the secretary of the state's Health and Human Services Agency.

An updated chart of what activities are allowed in each tier of the Blueprint can be found here.

Santa Clara County to receive $15.5M for vaccination efforts in underserved communities

Community health centers in Santa Clara County will receive $15.5 million in federal funds to broaden access to the COVID-19 vaccines in underserved communities, according to a March 25 announcement from the office of Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose.

The funding will be split across five community health centers with the following allocations: The Gardner Family Health Network, $7,890,875; The Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley, $3,630,375; School Health Clinics of Santa Clara County, $1,595,125; Santa Clara County, $1,585,500; and Asian Americans for Community Involvement of Santa Clara County, $823,375.

The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, which was passed at the end of February and signed into law earlier this month.

Throughout California, the community health centers are set to receive a total of $175 million in federal funding from the legislation.

"This funding will help ensure that the vital Community Health Centers in Santa Clara County and across the state can accelerate the pace of vaccinations and continue to provide quality treatment for patients in some of the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities," Lofgren said.

The federal funds may also be used for preventive and primary care for people who are vulnerable to COVID-19 or to expand the community health center's operational capacity, according to the statement.

The county will also be reimbursed just over $25 million from the federal government for expenses related to distributing and administering COVID-19 vaccines, Lofgren said in a separate statement issued March 23.

The funds will come from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"Our County has been a leader in its COVID-19 response and this federal funding will ensure our county government can continue vaccine operations without taking funding away from other essential services," Lofgren said in the statement.

Bay Area health officers emphasize safety of all 3 available COVID-19 vaccines

Health officers in 10 counties in the greater Bay Area on Monday emphasized the safety of the three available COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to curb skepticism and encourage residents to get vaccinated.

The health officers in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma counties as well as the city of Berkeley issued the joint statement as vaccine hesitancy has ticked up following the federal approval of the vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, which requires just one dose.

"What we can say with certainty is that all three vaccines provide levels of protection that are comparable to some of the best vaccines we have for other serious infectious diseases for which we routinely vaccinate people," the health officers said.

Concerns about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine stem from its perceived lack of effectiveness in clinical trials.

In phase three clinical trials, which included some 40,000 participants, the J&J vaccine was roughly 66.1 percent effective at preventing symptoms after four weeks, 85.4 percent effective at blocking severe cases and 100 percent effective at preventing deaths and hospitalizations, according to the company.

The two-dose vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech showed slightly higher effectiveness at 95 percent, leading to some concern that the J&J vaccine is undesirable.

The health officers argued, however, that the clinical trial results are not perfect comparisons due to their different trial populations and the different phases of the pandemic in which trials were completed.

The three vaccines have also not been studied head-to-head, the health officials said.

"If this had occurred in the absence of a prior announcement and implementation of 94 and 95 percent efficacy (vaccines), one would have said this was an absolutely spectacular result," National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said about the J&J vaccine during a media briefing in January.

In addition, the J&J vaccine has several benefits that those from Pfizer and Moderna do not, including much less cumbersome storage requirements and the need for only one dose, eliminating the need to return for a second dose three weeks after the first.

"With COVID-19 continuing to circulate as we work toward community immunity, our collective medical advice is this: the best vaccine is the one you can get the soonest," the health officers said.

Residents in each of the 10 counties are encouraged to contact their medical provider or public health department if they have questions about the vaccines.

Residents can visit myturn.ca.gov or call 833-422-4255 to find out if they are eligible for a vaccine or sign up to be notified once it is their turn.

State allows breweries, wineries, distilleries to serve alcohol without a meal regardless of tier

State public health officials released updated reopening guidelines Thursday, allowing breweries, wineries and distilleries to operate without serving meals regardless of their county's tier.

Breweries, wineries and distilleries have been allowed to operate under restaurant guidance since last year, provided that they provide meals with alcoholic beverages. Alcohol vendors that did not provide meals, either from their own kitchens or a partnered vendor such as a food truck, had to remain closed in the purple and red tiers.

Starting Saturday, that will change, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Breweries, wineries and distilleries in red and purple tier counties will be allowed to serve alcohol to customers outdoors, provided that those customers have reservations and do not stay for more than 90 minutes. On-site consumption without a meal must also end by 8 p.m.

In the orange tier, the affected businesses may also resume indoor operations at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. Yellow tier restrictions increase those caps to 50% and 200 people, according to the CDPH.

Bars that do not serve meals in purple and red tier counties must remain closed while bars in orange tier counties will be allowed to operate outdoors with modifications and those in yellow tier counties will be allowed to operate indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

State officials also announced that, beginning June 1, overnight sleepaway camps can resume with restrictions in red, orange and yellow tier counties.

Up-to-date information on tiers and which businesses can operate in each county can be found at covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.

Santa Clara County transfers thousands of vaccine appointments because of lower vaccine supply

Because of low and unpredictable vaccine supply from the state, Santa Clara County has transferred thousands of appointments, county officials said Wednesday.

About 8,500 appointments for Kaiser Permanente patients scheduled through the county between Thursday and March 21 will be transferred to Kaiser to reschedule.

The reason for the transfer is because the state has "assured" Kaiser that it will have sufficient vaccine doses for its members, whereas the county received "no such commitment" for residents uninsured and vulnerable, county officials said.

Despite getting an additional allocation of 7,500 Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the county only received 3,000 more doses than it did last week. That is because the county received 1,400 fewer Moderna shots and 3,510 fewer Pfizer vaccines than it had the week before, according to county data.

But this is not because the state has gotten less Moderna and Pfizer vaccine doses. On the contrary, the state received 29,900 more Moderna doses and 40,950 more Pfizer doses.

The state has allocated 40% of vaccine doses to be targeted to 400 lower-income ZIP codes in the state, but no ZIP codes have been identified in Santa Clara County — which may explain why its allocations were lower this week, county Testing and Vaccine Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said at Tuesday's county Board of Supervisors meeting.

"We are not included in that (400 ZIP codes) so again our equity efforts are jeopardized with the insufficient vaccines and the focus that the state has on everywhere else but us," Fenstersheib said.

At a news conference last week, Supervisor Cindy Chavez said the state needed to "treat all (counties) fairly," noting the high and disproportionate COVID-19 positivity rates in east San Jose and south county.

The county has the capacity to inoculate 12,000 to 15,000 people a day, but supply constraints allow the county to give 8,000 shots daily, Fenstersheib said.

All the people transferred are Kaiser members under the age of 75, according to the county's Public Health Department.

The department also noted that Kaiser will prioritize scheduling vaccine appointments through its system for those patients being transferred.

"The decision to transfer these patients back to Kaiser for their vaccine appointments was made after careful consideration of the available options," the department said in a statement. "This transfer of appointments will prevent additional cancellations of vaccination clinics and appointments."

As of Wednesday, the county has not canceled any appointments because of vaccine supply, it has only transferred those 8,500 Kaiser patients, according to the county's Emergency Operations Center.

The county maintains that its main priority in terms of inoculation is to ensure vaccine access for communities most impacted by COVID-19.

More than 200K educators, child care workers receive COVID-19 vaccine

More than 200,000 educators and child care workers received a coronavirus dose over the last week, more than double the goal set by the state of California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

Last week, the state began reserving 10% of the vaccine shipments sent to local health departments and multi-house health care entities for educators and child care workers in an effort to hasten the reopening of schools across the state.

That 10% allocation will total at least 75,000 vaccine doses per week, Newsom said.

"This is welcome news for teachers, students and parents as more and more schools reopen safely across the state," Newsom said in a statement. "We will continue working with our local partners to accelerate this effort in communities across the state so that all school staff have access to a vaccine within weeks."

Newsom touted the effort, saying that the increase in vaccinations for workers like teachers and school staff allowed all 58 of the state's counties to vaccinate educators throughout the week. Prior to that, 35 counties had opened vaccine eligibility to teachers and child care workers.

To date, 10.5 million vaccine doses have been administered across California, according to state officials.

Santa Clara County could return to 'red tier' COVID-19 restrictions next week

Santa Clara County health officials announced Thursday that indoor dining and other currently prohibited activities could resume as soon as this Wednesday, March 3, following a decline in new COVID-19 cases and rising vaccination rates.

The rollback of public health restrictions would allow numerous activities — ranging from gyms and fitness centers to indoor dining at restaurants — to return under the state's "red tier." The county has been stuck in the more restrictive purple tier since mid-November, following a staggering increase in cases that lasted through the holidays.

The number of newly reported COVID-19 cases in the county has dropped significantly in the last month, with a seven-day rolling average ending Feb. 17 of 231 new cases reported daily. Coupled with high vaccination rates, and the county is now poised to return to the red tier on Wednesday, county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said.

"With vaccinations now reaching more broadly into the community, including over half of those age 65 and older, we are making significant progress in protecting our most vulnerable community members," Cody said in a statement.

County health officials are also relaxing public health restrictions related to youth sports and other outdoor activities, with new rules set to go into effect on Friday, Feb. 26. The new rules, based on state guidelines, allow for outdoor, low-contact sports including biking, badminton, golf and tennis.

Indoor sports will remain prohibited as of Friday, and will likely stay off-limits even after the state switches the county from the purple tier to the red tier. Sports allowed in the red tier include baseball, cheerleading, dodgeball, softball and volleyball.

Rules related to outdoor gatherings have also been relaxed, though Cody is still advising that anyone participating in an outdoor gathering should wear a mask when coming within 6 feet of others. Indoor gatherings remain prohibited.

COVID-19 case totals decline among minorities

The number of people in the most vulnerable communities across Santa Clara and San Mateo counties who are testing positive for COVID-19 are finally coming down, health leaders in both counties told their respective board of supervisors on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Both counties have made concerted equity efforts toward giving residents in the most underserved communities access to care, testing and vaccines, the leaders said. Residents of those communities, including east San Jose, parts of Mountain View, Gilroy, East Palo Alto, east Menlo Park, North Fair Oaks, Burlingame, Daly City and Pacifica, have been disproportionately impacted by the deadly and debilitating virus.

One month ago, the seven-day average of cases per 100,000 of population was about 85 for Latinos, but it plummeted to about 35 by Feb. 15; cases for Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders dropped from 80 to about 25. African Americans dropped from 31 to about 11; Asian populations in general dropped from 25 to a little more than 10; and whites dropped from less than 20 to fewer than 10, according to Santa Clara County data.

While county officials were pleased with the over 60% drop in cases among Latinos, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders and African Americans, the equity gap still needs to be further reduced so that the difference in case percentages will be equal, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said.

San Mateo County also saw a similar trend. Cases have dropped by more than 60% among Latinos, the hardest-hit group, according to county data.

San Mateo County improves to red tier for COVID-19, allowing for indoor dining and worship services

California public health officials approved San Mateo County's move from the most restrictive purple tier COVID-19 designation to the less-restrictive red tier on Feb. 23. It means that more businesses and activities in the county will be allowed. The new tier will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Five counties moved to a less restrictive tier on Tuesday: Humboldt, Marin, San Mateo, Shasta, and Yolo moved from purple to red. Trinity County worsened, going from orange to red. Forty-seven counties remain in the purple tier, nine in the red tier and two stayed in the orange tier, according to state data.

San Mateo County officials said the movement to the red tier and downward trend in infections are encouraging.

"This is great news for our small businesses and our entire community," said San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President David J. Canepa. "And this move is a direct result of all of us taking personal responsibility for our actions. If we wear our damn masks, keep our distance and follow common-sense health and safety protocols, we can get back to doing what we all love to do."

Read more here.

Updated health order allows outdoor activities to resume in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County health officials announced an update to the county's COVID-19 health order Monday, allowing for multiple outdoor activities including youth sports and performing arts to resume.

The health order revision will take effect Friday, according to county officials. The county also plans to relax restrictions on multi-household outdoor gatherings to discourage residents from gathering indoors, where the risk of coronavirus transmission is higher.

The update follows the state's announcement last Friday that it would allow outdoor youth sports to resume with a handful of caveats, requiring regular testing for contact sports like football and rugby and linking the resumption of some sports like baseball to the reopening tier in which a county is placed.

Santa Clara County Health Officer and Director of Public Health Dr. Sara Cody acknowledged the need to maintain mental and physical health as the region nears the anniversary of the first coronavirus-related stay-at-home order.

"Children and adults alike need to participate in the many activities that support their mental, physical, and social wellbeing," Cody said in a statement. "We know that the state has made rapid changes to its rules on athletic activities. It is important that changes are consistent across the board."

The updated guidance on outdoor activities is expected to be posted to the county's coronavirus website in the coming days.

Santa Clara County as of Saturday had 108,873 cumulative COVID-19 cases and as of Sunday had 109,054 cases. The death toll rose to 1,729 over the weekend. The rolling seven-day average of new cases ending Feb. 12 was 311 and ending Feb. 13 was 296. On Saturday, there were 257 people hospitalized, 26 of which were new. On Sunday, 225 people were hospitalized, 30 of which were new.

San Mateo County as of Saturday had 38,349 total cases and as of Sunday had 38,353 total cases. There was no change to the death toll, which stands at 497. There were 51 patients hospitalized with confirmed cases on Saturday, which slightly dropped on Sunday to 48 patients and an additional patient who had a suspected case.

Outdoor youth sports will soon be allowed to resume in California counties that meet a threshold for coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday.

Outdoor sports like football and baseball will be allowed to resume as early as Feb. 26, Newsom said during a briefing in Alameda County.

While indoor sports competitions are still prohibited, outdoor youth sports will be allowed in counties that have case rates of fewer than 14 new cases per day per 100,000 residents.

As of Friday, 27 counties across the state met that threshold, including Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa