The county Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office conducted autopsies on the two individuals who died 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 on Wednesday morning.
—Palo Alto Weekly staff
Woman dies in rollover crash on Highway 101
A woman who suddenly veered her car away from a collision on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto on Monday afternoon died at the scene after she was ejected from her vehicle when it rolled over, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office has identified the woman as Maria Lozano, who died of multiple blunt force injuries.
The first call reporting the collision near Highway 101 just south of Embarcadero Road came in at 4:24 p.m., according to CHP Officer Damian Cistaro. Dispatchers indicated the collision was near the Public Storage's East Palo Alto location.
CHP Officer Pablo Rios clarified that the initial collision between two people in a Toyota Prius and the driver of a Ford Mustang was minor and resulted in no injuries.
The Prius ended up blocking a lane on U.S. Highway 101 north of Embarcadero Road, Rios said.
Soon after, a 46-year-old Fresno woman behind the wheel of a tan Chevrolet Tahoe with her 14-year-old daughter as a passenger on northbound U.S. Highway 101 made an "evasive driving maneuver" to avoid crashing into the Prius, according to Rios. The move led the Chevrolet to roll over multiple times and land on the right-hand shoulder of the freeway.
The woman was ejected from the driver's seat and suffered major injuries, Rios said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
—Palo Alto Weekly staff
City starts relief fund for businesses
With local businesses struggling to survive the pandemic, Palo Alto is preparing to launch a relief fund to assist those that have been decimated by the economic shutdown.
The city is preparing to start the fund with $500,000 in public funds, though it is hoping that large companies and foundations will step up and help raise and distribute funds. The program would be modeled after the one Mountain View started last month but with one key difference: Council members made it clear on Monday that they are not in favor of the first-come, first-served approach adopted by Mountain View and would rather see a lottery system determine who receives the funds.
The city also is preparing to convene a series of roundtable meetings with dozens of local businesses to gather feedback on how it can assist them during this period of economic distress. City Manager Ed Shikada said he plans to hold three to four such events in the next two or three weeks, with up to 20 participants in each meeting.
While the details of the new business-relief program have yet to be sketched out, the council agreed Monday on some basic parameters: The program should start with $500,000 in public funds and apply to businesses that have up to 50 employees. Council members also agreed that the city should partner with a third party to administer the funding -- as seen in Mountain View and Oakland -- and that it should try, to the extent possible, to obtain matching funds from corporations, foundations and other institutions in the community.
While the federal government has created several programs for small businesses, most notably the $359 billion Paycheck Protection Plan, most local businesses were not able to access these funds before the program ran out of money last week.
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