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Total coronavirus cases:
• 27,105 in California, including 886 deaths.
• 5,682 in the Bay Area, including 176 deaths.
• 641,166 in the U.S., including 31,590 deaths. The five states with the highest death tolls are New York with 14,636; New Jersey with 3,156; Michigan with 1,921; Massachusetts with 1,108; and Louisiana with 1,103. Click here to see a U.S. map with state-by-state death tolls and coronavirus case counts.
• More than 2.1 million in the world, with more than 140,000 deaths. More than 532,000 people have recovered.
Coronavirus cases by city: For detailed maps and new city-by-city Bay Area data, check out The Chronicle’s Coronavirus Tracker. To get regular updates on our coverage, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.
Latest developments from today:
11:14 a.m. A’s minor-league coach off ventilator: Webster Garrison, who was placed on a ventilator in Louisiana after contracting COVID-19, is breathing on his own after being intubated for more than three weeks.
11:09 a.m. Reduced-fare taxi rides for San Franciscans in need: The city’s Municipal Transportation Agency has launched a program to provide subsidized taxi rides for people who need to run errands but have disabilities or are 65 and older, Mayor London Breed and agency director Jeff Tumlin announced Thursday. The “Essential Trip Card” will cover 80% of the cost for such excursions as a doctor’s visit or a journey to the grocery store. People who qualify can apply by calling 311 during the day and mentioning the program. More information is at SFMTA.com/ETC.
11:06 a.m. Instacart to deliver from Costco pharmacies: Grocery-delivery service Instacart said it will now deliver prescription medicines from almost 200 Costco pharmacies in California and several other states. San Francisco-based Instacart said its customer order volume was up 400% last week compared to a year earlier.
11 a.m. Judge orders release of two more ICE detainees: A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the release of two more immigrants detained by ICE in California whose ages and medical conditions make them vulnerable to COVID-19, the ACLU of Northern California said Wednesday. Olvin Torres Murillo, of Honduras, and Mauricio Quinteros Lopez, of El Salvador, suffer from hypertension, a condition that puts them at high risk of contracting a severe case of COVID-19, according to the CDC. The decision by U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney followed a lawsuit by the ACLU, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the Bay Area, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, and Lakin & Wille LLP.
10:59 a.m. Facebook cancels large gatherings until July of next year: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media giant is canceling all events planned with 50 or more people through June 2021. Yes, 2021. Some will be held as virtual events instead. Facebook also extended its ban of business travel through at least June of this year.
10:49 a.m. Coronavirus life is not sweet, especially for minorities: When times get tough, black people can feel this country’s history of marginalization and oppression in our bones, writes columnist Otis R. Taylor Jr.
10:42 a.m. Fremont requires face masks: The city of Fremont ordered residents on Thursday to wear face masks in specific locations including at grocery stores and in taxis to protect essential workers and the public by trying to stop further spread of the coronavirus. City officials said the executive order is expected to be in effect for the duration of a local emergency proclamation.
10:24 a.m. 93rd case at San Francisco homeless shelter: A 93rd resident of San Francisco’s largest homeless shelter has tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said. Additionally, 10 staffers at MSC South have tested positive. City officials say all residents have been moved to hotels, isolation, quarantine or shelter-in-place sites, and staffers who’ve tested positive have been offered isolation hotel rooms.
10:18 a.m. Additional Laguna Honda staffer tests positive: One more staffer at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco has tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said. The hospital has 19 confirmed cases — 15 staffers, including 11 who were in patient-care positions, and four residents.
10:17 a.m. Santa Clara County announces four new deaths: Four more people in Santa Clara County have died of COVID-19 and 40 additional cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed, officials said. The county has recorded 1,833 positive cases and 69 deaths.
10:16 a.m. Can’t find your stimulus payment? Many people using “Get my payment,” the new IRS web portal where people who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return can enter bank account information to get a direct deposit of their stimulus payment and track it, are getting a notice that says “Payment Status Not Available.” The IRS said this can happen for one of these reasons: 1. You are not eligible for a payment; 2. You are required to file a tax return and have not filed in tax year 2018 or 2019; 3. You recently filed your return or provided information through a different IRS.gov web portal. In these cases, your payment status will be updated when processing is completed. 4. If you receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits on form SSA or RRB Form 1099. In these cases, the IRS is working with your agency to issue your payment; your information is not available in the app yet.
10:04 a.m. Have you lost your job because of the coronavirus pandemic? Here is a list of companies that are hiring.
9:52 a.m. U.K. extends stay-home order: The British government announced that a nationwide lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus will remain for at least three more weeks, as health officials said the U.K.’s coronavirus outbreak — one of Europe’s worst — was nearing its peak. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said “any change to our social distancing measures now would risk a significant increase in the spread of the virus.” The lockdown has been in place since March 23.
9:39 a.m. UCSF nurses plan protest: Health care workers at UCSF will protest during their break at noon Friday “to speak out against the lack of personal protective equipment and other protections” for frontline workers, according to a release from the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United.
9:21 a.m. San Mateo announces seven new deaths: Seven more people in San Mateo County have died of COVID-19 and the number of confirmed cases increased to 767, officials said. The county has recorded 28 deaths.
9:14 a.m. TSA will accept recently expired driver’s licenses: State-issued driver’s licenses or IDs that expired on or after March 31 will be accepted at TSA checkpoints, the agency said. The Transportation Security Administration will accept the expired licenses and IDs for a year after expiration or 60 days after the end of COVID-19 restrictions.
9:09 a.m. New York state extends “pause” order until May 15: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday the state’s order to pause life in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus will be extended until May 15. Cuomo said he did not want to predict what will happen then but that data will likely guide officials’ decisions.
New York on PAUSE will be extended in coordination with other states to May 15.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 16, 2020
9:06 a.m. Coronavirus cases climb on Navy aircraft carrier: Forty more Theodore Roosevelt sailors tested positive for the coronavirus, and another sailor was hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms, the Navy announced Thursday. The number of crew tested aboard the aircraft carrier remained at 94%. More than 4,000 sailors have moved off the ship docked in Guam. A skeleton crew remains onboard to maintain the nuclear reactors and protect the weaponry. One sailor has died from COVID-19 complications and another has been moved to the intensive care unit.
9 a.m. Six new COVID-19 cases in San Francisco: Six more people in San Francisco have tested positive for COVID-19, increasing the number of confirmed cases to 1,019, according to the Department of Public Health.
8:52 a.m. U.S. death toll tops 30,000: More than 30,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, according to the latest numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 650,000 cases have been confirmed, with 31,001 deaths. Nearly 530,000 people have recovered.
8:49 a.m. Coronavirus makes for explosive politics: Campaigns across the country, from the presidential race on down, are using the coronavirus to batter their opponents for what they have or haven’t done to fight the pandemic. With most Americans virtually confined to their homes and the virus death toll rising daily, politicians are betting that worried voters will reward those who are taking their concerns seriously and, equally important, punish those who they don’t believe are doing enough. Read more of John Wildermuth’s story here.
8:44 a.m. New York sees decrease in coronavirus hospitalizations, ICU patients: The number of people in New York state who are hospitalized and in intensive care unit beds for COVID-19 treatment decreased, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, but he cautioned the virus is still a threat as 1,996 new cases were confirmed while 606 people died on Wednesday. “Two thousand is still a lot of people,” Cuomo said.
8:39 a.m. Reopening could require thousands more health workers: Before stay-at-home orders are lifted, the nation’s public health agencies want to be ready to douse any new sparks of coronavirus infection — a task they say could require tens of thousands more investigators to call people who test positive, track down their contacts and get them into quarantine. Read more from the Associated Press here.
8:35 a.m. Travelers screened by TSA reach six-week low: Transportation Security Administration agents screened 87,534 travelers across the United States on Tuesday, a six-week low since air travel plummeted amid stay-at-home orders and travel discouragement prompted by the coronavirus outbreak. On March 1, TSA agents screened nearly 2.3 million travelers.
8:25 a.m. Khanna accepts White House advisory council appointment: Congressman Ro Khanna, D-Fremont, said he has accepted President Trump’s appointment to the White House Coronavirus Advisory Council despite their political differences. Khanna, whose district has been hit hard by the outbreak, said he will fight to make sure Americans get support from the federal government. “I will call for massive investment in advanced manufacturing, in innovative scientific advancement, and in smart technology,” he said. “Already, we have seen that America was too dependent for crucial medical equipment and electronics on China, Germany and other nations. Like Eisenhower did during the Cold War, we can reshape the future of American industry to rebuild our economy if we harness the power of American innovation.”
8:24 a.m. San Francisco supervisors tire of bowing to mayor on coronavirus issues: Less than pleased by the city’s response to the pandemic, members of the Board of Supervisors are taking actions themselves.
8:18 a.m. Nurses suspended after refusing to work without N95 masks: Ten health care workers at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica have been put on paid leave, the union that represents them told the Asssociated Press, after refusing to enter the rooms of COVID-19 patients without the masks that administrators at the hospital said weren’t necessary and wouldn’t provide.
7:53 a.m. Small-business loan fund runs out of money: The Small Business Administration said Thursday that it has reached the $349 billion lending limit for the paycheck protection program, after approving nearly 1.7 million loans. Thousands of business owners whose loans have not been processed must wait for Congress to approve a Trump administration request for another $250 billion for the program. Lawmakers have been haggling over whether to extend the program as it stands now, or whether to add provisions that, among other things, would help minority businesses.
7:32 a.m. Charting Bay Area’s progress in flattening the curve: The Chronicle took a deeper look at local case counts to examine what the “coronavirus curve” looks like for the five largest Bay Area counties and found that cases seem to have peaked in early April and have either leveled off or declined since. Four of the five largest counties show similar paths. The only county that has seen an increase since the start of April is San Francisco, where the chart shows that the outbreak may not yet have peaked.
7:26 a.m. Spike in use of anxiety medicines: Prescriptions began to go up in the middle of February and spiked 34% by March 15, according to a report from Express Scripts, a Cigna-owned pharmacy benefit manager.
7:10 a.m. Stocks continue to fall: The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1% in early trading as the latest jobs report showed millions more out of work. The unemployment rate is estimated at around 15%, a level not seen in decades.
7:09 a.m. Facebook takes steps to combat false info: Facebook is going to let users know if they liked, reacted or commented on posts with harmful misinformation about the virus that moderators later removed. Facebook says it will also direct people who engaged with those posts to information about virus myths debunked by the World Health Organization. The company is also starting a “Get the Facts” feature on the COVID-19 information center of its news feed that will include fact-checked articles from partner organizations that debunk misinformation about the coronavirus.
7:05 a.m. Trains to blow their horns at noon in appreciation of transit workers: Thirty-six BART trains are expected to blow their horns at noon on Thursday, joining a chorus of horn-sounders across the nation in an act of appreciation for transit workers, officials said. “The horns will be blown to honor the hard-working and essential public transit employees who continue to work moving people to their destinations during the current COVID-19 pandemic,” BART officials said in a statement. Other participants in the recognition dubbed #SoundTheHorn include AC Transit, New York City Subway, Amtrak and VTA.
7:03 a.m. How coronavirus spread from patient to health care workers in Solano County: A woman with COVID-19 at a Solano County hospital — the nation’s first case from an unknown source — exposed 121 health workers to the coronavirus, yet only three got the disease, a new study of the February case reveals.
6:43 a.m. Coronavirus makes census counting harder in Bay Area: This week, the Trump administration conceded that America’s once-in-a-decade population count has been thrown for a loop by the coronavirus and asked Congress for a 120-day extension to complete the tally. Population groups that don’t have deep local roots, like the thousands of Guatemalan highlanders who have moved to the Bay Area in recent years, have become especially tough to track now that most face-to-face contact is impossible. Read more here.
6:40 a.m. U.S. home-building activity collapsed in March as coronavirus spread: The Commerce Department said Thursday that ground breakings occurred last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.2 million units, down from a 1.56 million pace in February. That’s a tumble of 22.3%, the Associated Press reports. Construction of single-family houses fell 17.5%, while apartment and condo starts were off 32.1% from a month ago.
6:37 a.m. Coronavirus deals record blow to retail sales in March: In the worst monthly decline on record, U.S. retail sales fell 8.7% in March, giving a view of how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the sector.
6:33 a.m. Santa Cruz parks and beaches to reopen, but social distancing to continue, officials say: Parks, beaches, open spaces and multi-use trails in Santa Cruz County, including the Santa Cruz Wharf, are expected to reopen Thursday after a temporarily closure, city officials said, urging people to stay closer to home. Basketball courts, skate parks, playgrounds, swimming pools and several parking lots will remain closed. “While outdoor exercise is considered an essential activity, it should be done close to home. Residents are advised to use outdoor City facilities within their neighborhoods,” officials said in a statement.
5:59 a.m. UC Berkeley lab making home-brewed hand sanitizer: With classes canceled and the teaching labs eerily empty, two Cal students decided to do what a handful of whiskey distillers and beer brewers have already done — use idled facilities to produce badly needed hand sanitizer. Read more here.
5:41 a.m. 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment last week: Another 5.2 million people in the United States filed for unemployment last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. The unemployment claims have swelled past 22 million in the past four weeks.
5:34 a.m. Five more state prison inmates test positive: The California Institution for Men in Chino reported two new cases of the coronavirus and the state prison in Los Angeles County reported three new cases Wednesday, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. There are now 46 confirmed cases among inmates in Chino and 18 at the Los Angeles County facility. The state prison system has confirmed 69 total inmate cases. The Chino facility also has 21 staff cases and the Los Angeles County facility has reported 12. Inmates feel like sitting ducks.
Developments from April 15:
11:35 p.m. United cuts flights drastically for May: United Airlines will reduce its flight schedule by about 90 percent in May and likely have similar reductions in June, according to a memo from CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby to employees Wednesday. As the coronavirus pandemic throttles air travel, United flew fewer than 200,000 passengers in the first two weeks of April, compared to more than 6 million in the same time frame in 2019, the memo stated. United expects to receive $5 billion from the federal government through the Payroll Support Program under the CARES Act but said in the memo it expects to have a smaller workforce starting as early as Oct. 1. “Travel demand is essentially zero and shows no sign of improving in the near-term,” the memo said.
10:55 p.m. Los Angeles mayor outlines pillars for reopening city: Mayor Eric Garcetti listed five factors that Los Angeles will consider in deciding how to reopen from the coronavirus pandemic at his news conference Wednesday. Garcetti listed a widespread testing system of both virology and antibody tests, real-time surveillance of local outbreaks, an ability to respond immediately to new cases, hospital capacity to deal with potential outbreaks and ongoing research into ways to combat the virus. They were similar points to those outlined by Gov. Gavin Newsom for the state Tuesday. Garcetti reported 245 new cases of the virus in Los Angeles city on Wednesday, a one-day increase of 5.5%.
10:15 p.m. NFL player says he tested positive for the coronavirus: Brian Allen, a center for the Los Angeles Rams, told FOX Sports he tested positive for the coronavirus. Allen is the first active NFL player known to have tested positive for the virus. Allen told Fox Sports that he first tested positive for the virus three weeks ago and is now symptom-free. A spokesperson for the Rams told ESPN the team’s training facility had been closed for the past two weeks while it was thoroughly cleaned.
10:10 p.m. U.S. Soccer shuts down youth academy amid pandemic: U.S. Soccer announced it closed its Development Academy, a youth league for boys and girls. In a statement, U.S. Soccer officials cited financial issues caused by “extraordinary and unanticipated circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic … We know that suddenly discontinuing a program that has been with U.S. Soccer for many years is shocking, but these unprecedented times required acting now.”
9:29 p.m. Resident, staff member at San Francisco Towers test positive: A resident of San Francisco Towers senior living community is hospitalized with a confirmed case of COVID-19, and a staff member tested positive Wednesday, said spokeswoman Mary McMullin. Weeks ago, the resident of the community tested negative for COVID-19 when she went to the hospital for reasons unrelated to the virus, McMullin said. She returned to the facility and quarantined for 14 days in a private room in the skilled nursing area of the Towers. The quarantine ended Saturday, but the woman began experiencing shortness of breath on Tuesday. She returned to the hospital, where she remains in an unknown condition, and tested positive. The staff member who tested positive last worked on April 10. Any resident or staff member who came into contact with the two cases will be tested, McMullin said. “We are gravely concerned,” McMullin said, adding that the facility has been preparing for additional cases. “We’ve been fortunate to have the time to redouble our infection control efforts.”
7:35 p.m. No graduation ceremonies, prom in Marin County: As expected, families and high school students will not be able to gather for traditional events like graduation ceremonies or prom this spring, said Mary Jane Burke, Marin County superintendent of schools. Dr. Matt Willis, the county’s health officer, said the risk of transmission at large events is too great to consider holding these events. Large events were the first to be banned, and will be the last thing to be restored, he said. Burke said schools and students are working to come up with creative strategies, such as virtual gatherings, to honor and recognize these “right of passage” activities. Willis said another option could be to delay the celebrations until the fall or beyond.
7:33 p.m. Bay Area health officials considering mandatory masks, official says: Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County health officer, said during a town hall Wednesday that Bay Area health officers are discussing issuing a potential order requiring people to wear masks in public. Face coverings are required in Sonoma County, but only recommended in other Bay Area counties. Willis said one option under consideration is to apply the order to certain sectors, such as people whose work brings them into face-to-face contact with others like grocery store workers. Concerns surrounding a possible order include issues of equity and enforcement, Willis said. “It is likely to be forthcoming that we will be at least issuing an order for certain sectors,” he said. He did not provide a potential timeline.
6:59 p.m. Marin County reports new cases: Two patients are hospitalized for COVID-19 in Marin County — the lowest number in about a month, said county health officer Dr. Matt Willis. The county reported 13 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total for the county to 184. Ten people have died and 128 have recovered. Willis said the county will consider several prerequisites before lifting or changing the shelter-in-place order, including hospital capacity to meet a surge, widespread testing and contact tracing, continued monitoring of cases and social distancing. The curve has flattened, Willis said, but new cases could hit congregate living facilities or surge if mitigation efforts end too early. “It will be a slow and sequential and thoughtful process,” Willis said. “It is not an on-off switch.”
6:46 p.m. Trump inaccurately says Pelosi called for parties in SF’s Chinatown as coronavirus loomed: President Trump says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “was trying to have … parties in Chinatown” as the coronavirus threat spread in the U.S. in late February. That’s not quite right. Chronicle politics writer John Wildermuth explains what Pelosi really did.
6:40 p.m. 13 Bay Area health officers discussing which activities to reopen May 4: Bay Area health officials are working on plans to relax shelter-in-place orders next month for 7 million people stretching from Napa to Monterey, but the new order would probably apply only to outdoor activities, officials said Wednesday. The plan, being hashed out by the Association of Bay Area Health Officers, an organization of county and city health directors, is to loosen restrictions on May 4 on lower risk activities in 13 jurisdictions, including San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. Read the story here.
6:24 p.m. Second employee at Sonoma County care facility tests positive: County health officer Dr. Sundari Mase said a second employee at a care facility has tested positive for the coronavirus. Both employees are asymptomatic. Mase did not name the facility, but said it was a skilled nursing or residential care facility for the elderly in Sonoma County. Officials performed contact tracing at the home, but have not found any evidence of spread beyond the two cases, Mase said. Sonoma County officials reported eight new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total for the county to 160 cases. Of those, 88 are active and 70 have recovered. Two people have died.
6:10 p.m. Golden Gate Transit, Ferry to limit passenger numbers: The number of passengers on Golden Gate Transit buses and Golden Gate Ferry services will be limited to adhere to social distancing guidelines. The limits are eight passengers on 40-foot buses and 10 passengers on 45-foot buses, according to a Golden Gate Bridge District statement. Limits on ferry ridership will be based on vessel size. Once the limits are reached, ferries will stop boarding and buses will only perform drop-off services, officials said.
6 p.m. Google to slow most hiring: CEO Sundar Pinchai wrote in an internal memo that the company will scale back hiring except in a “small number of strategic areas where users and businesses rely on Google for ongoing support, and where our growth is critical to their success,” Bloomberg reported. The company had nearly 120,000 employees at the end of last year after hiring 20,000 people. Google will be “recalibrating the focus and pace of our investments in areas like data centers and machines, and non business essential marketing and travel,” according to the memo. “The entire global economy is hurting, and Google and Alphabet are not immune to the effects of this global pandemic,” Pichai wrote, referring to Google’s parent company.
5:18 p.m. Disproportionate number of deaths among black California residents, state report says: Black residents represent 12% of California’s reported COVID-19 deaths, but only 6% of the state’s population, health officials reported on Wednesday. The state has gathered partial race and ethnicity data for 65% of COVID-19 cases and 87% of deaths. As they gather more information, public health officials said disparities are emerging. Native American and Pacific Islander residents represent 1% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths but just 0.3% of the population. “As information on race and ethnicity is becoming more complete on reported deaths, our data shows that African Americans/Blacks represent a disproportionately higher number of deaths compared to their representation in California’s population. Another group of heightened concern are Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders, although the number of deaths in this population are small and therefore limits statistical comparison,” officials wrote in a statement.
5:15 Bleak outlook for clean energy workers: A report released Wednesday from Environmental Entrepreneurs, a clean energy advocacy group, finds that more than 106,000 clean energy workers filed for unemployment in March, a number that has likely grown over the last few weeks. The Los Angeles Times reported that consultants at BW Research who analyzed the numbers also project that the clean energy sector will shed more than 500,000 jobs, 15% of its workforce, in the months ahead “if no additional actions are taken to support the industries.”
5:06 p.m. CalSavers extends enrollment deadline: The CalSavers oversight board voted unanimously Wednesday to extend the registration deadline for employers with more than 100 employees from June 30 to September 30, 2020 because of the challenges facing business owners amid the coronavirus pandemic. CalSavers is a state-run retirement program for private-sector employees who don’t have access to one at work. California employers that do not offer a plan are required to register for CalSavers and upload their payroll information so their employees can be automatically enrolled in the plan unless they opt out. Only the deadline for larger employers has changed. Employers with more than 50 employees have until June 30, 2021, and employers with at least five employees have until June 30, 2022 to register.
5:01 p.m. Tour de France postponed: This year’s Tour de France has been rescheduled for Aug. 29 to Sept. 20, the International Cycling Union announced Wednesday. The race was originally set to start June 27 and was postponed after French President Emmanuel Macron banned large public events in the country until July 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. A cycling union statement read: “Holding this event in the best conditions possible is judged essential given its central place in cycling’s economy and its exposure, in particular for the teams that benefit on this occasion from unparalleled visibility.”
4:59 p.m. Two more deaths at Gateway nursing home: Alameda County health officials reported that two more residents of Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center have died of COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths for the facility to 13. Officials said 41 residents and 26 staff members are infected. “We are deeply concerned about the situation at Gateway. We are working with the state and hospital provider partners to target interventions,” a county spokesperson said. In addition, the East Bay Post-Acute Healthcare Center in Castro Valley has 22 residents and 23 staff infected. One person has died.
4:43 p.m. Nearly 200 new cases among California health care workers: There were 2,789 confirmed cases of the coronavirus among state health care workers as of Tuesday, public health officials reported. It marked a one-day increase of 190 cases, or a 7.3 percent jump. The numbers include workers exposed to the virus on the job or otherwise such as through travel or family contacts, per the state’s public health department.
4:41 p.m. Bay Area restaurateur to serve on Trump’s economic revival group: Yountville chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller has been tapped to serve on the Food & Beverage arm of President Trump’s newly announced Great American Economic Revival Industry Group. The chef/owner of Michelin-starred The French Laundry, Ad Hoc, Bouchon Bakery and other restaurants around the country will work alongside fellow restaurateurs Daniel Boulud, Wolfgang Puck, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and a slew of major fast food corporations. In his announcement of the appointment via Twitter, Keller wrote, “Proud to work together towards a strategy where the safety of Americans is top of mind in conjunction towards economic revitalization.”
4:40 p.m. 4/20 holiday goes virtual: Mayor London Breed has made it clear that 4/20 cannot be celebrated on Hippie Hill this year. But that doesn’t mean people won’t be lighting up. Instead, for the cannabis holiday on April 20, major events will be streamed live online, many raising money for first responders and event industry gig workers. Read the story here.
4:38 p.m. CalFresh to add online ordering, delivery April 28. People who buy groceries with CalFresh, the state’s version of food stamps, will be able to order them online from Amazon and Walmart for home delivery starting April 28, according to a memo from the California Department of Social Services. CalFresh recipients who want to avoid crowds at supermarkets had pushed for the change. CalFresh will not cover any delivery fees, but both merchants offer free delivery on purchases over $35. Read the story here.
4:33 p.m. SAT could be digital this fall if schools remain closed: The College Board announced Wednesday it is preparing a digital version of the SAT for home use “in the unlikely event” that schools remain closed this fall due to the coronavirus. A digital SAT would be similar to at-home AP tests being delivered this spring and “simple; secure and fair; accessible to all; and valid for use in college admissions,” the College Board said in a statement. If schools can reopen, the College Board plans to hold weekend SAT administrations every month through the end of the year starting in August and to offer the SAT in schools this fall to replace canceled spring dates. “We know students and educators are worried about how the coronavirus may disrupt the college admissions process, and we want to do all we can to help alleviate that anxiety during this very demanding time,” College Board CEO David Coleman said in a statement.
4:27 p.m. GoPro lays off over 200 workers: The San Mateo camera maker is cutting more than 20% of its staff as it seeks to reduce operating expenses by $100 million in 2020 and $250 million in 2021. The company is moving to sell more products directly to consumers rather than focusing on retailers, many of which are closed under shelter in place orders. “GoPro’s global distribution network has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, driving us to transition into a more efficient and profitable direct-to-consumer-centric business over the course of this year,” said CEO Nicholas Woodman in a statement. “We are crushed that this forces us to let go of many talented members of our team, and we are forever grateful for their contributions.”
4:15 p.m. WHO leader states ‘regret’ over halting of U.S. funding: World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing Wednesday that agency officials “regret the decision” by President Trump to halt U.S. funding to the WHO amid the coronavirus pandemic. “The United States of America has been a longstanding and generous friend to WHO, and we hope it will continue to be so,” Ghebreyesus said. Trump said Tuesday the U.S. will suspend funding to the agency while reviewing what he termed mismanagement of the pandemic. Ghebreyesus said the agency “is reviewing the impact on our work of any withdrawing of U.S. funding and will work with our partners to fill any financial gaps we face and to ensure our work continues uninterrupted.”
3:53 p.m. Alameda County Fire Department cancels community training: The Alameda County Fire Department is canceling emergency preparedness trainings through the end of May due to coronavirus restrictions, the department wrote on Twitter. The trainings help prepare community members for large-scale disasters. The department said it will resume trainings “as soon as possible.”
3:45 p.m. Bay Area ICU cases reach two-week low: The number of COVID-19 patients at intensive care units in the nine Bay Area counties declined to 171 on Tuesday, the area’s lowest one-day total in April, according to state data reviewed by The Chronicle. That number was down from a peak of 212 ICU cases a week earlier, a drop of 19.3%. The overall number of hospitalized patients dropped to 432 from 444 on Monday. That total has decreased 8.3% from a peak of 471 hospitalized patients on April 7. Statewide, ICUs saw a 0.2% drop in COVID-19 patients to 1,175 on Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said at his daily news conference Wednesday.
3:35 p.m. San Francisco schools’ proposal for grading during coronavirus? Give everyone an ‘A’: The San Francisco school board mulled over several options during a nearly eight-hour meeting Tuesday, but settled on the preliminary idea of an automatic “A” for all high school and middle school students. Read the story here.
3:24 p.m. Newsom, nonprofits pledge $125 million for undocumented immigrants: California will partner with philanthropists to provide $125 million to undocumented immigrants facing financial hardships during the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday. The state will contribute $75 million in disaster-relief assistance, Newsom said, while several nonprofit foundations committed to raising $50 million through the new California Immigrant Resilience Fund. An estimated 150,000 undocumented adults in California will receive a one-time cash payment of $500 with a cap of $1,000 per household to deal with the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full story by Tatiana Sanchez and Alexei Koseff.
3:22 p.m. Trump plans to speak with governors, announce reopening plans Thursday: President Trump said during a White House briefing that he plans to speak with all 50 governors tomorrow to discuss the country’s reopening. Dr. Deborah Birx said the administration is reviewing each state and metropolitan area individually. There are nine states with fewer than 1,000 cases and fewer than 30 new cases each day. Meanwhile, people continue to die from the virus, specifically in hard-hit metro areas like New York City. Overall, new cases have declined in the U.S. over the past five to six days, Birx said. Trump said he plans to announce guidance and plans for reopening the country, although individual governors will be able to make individual decisions. Some states may open before May 1, he said. “We want to get our country back, and we’re going to do it, and we’re going to do it soon,” Trump said.
3:12 p.m. Nurse who wore trash bag as protection fired: A nurse at Oakland’s Highland Hospital has been fired. He claims it was retaliation for appearing in a photo spread on social media wearing a trash bag as protective gear, a charge the hospital disputes. Read the story here.
2:55 p.m. Lawsuit accuses Princess Cruise Lines of causing passenger’s coronavirus death in Oakland: A Texas woman is suing Princess Cruise Lines and accusing them of knowingly exposing her and her husband to the coronavirus, saying he was kept on the ship at the Oakland harbor without care for days while his health deteriorated. The husband, 68, was eventually sent to an Oakland hospital, where he died alone days later. Read the story here.
2:47 p.m. Caltrans to take advantage of light traffic, start 101 deck replacement: Shelter in place is driving traffic to unusually low volumes, prompting Caltrans to start work on the deck replacement for Highway 101 in San Francisco at Alemany Circle on April 25 instead of in July. When Caltrans announced the project last October, officials predicted “Carmageddon” at the tangled interchange sometimes known as the “Alemany Maze,”where ramps connect Highway 101 and Interstate 280. The busy interchange typically carries 240,000 cars a day but traffic in the past month has fallen to 40% to 60% of normal, Caltrans officials say.
2:45 p.m. Concerts, sporting events in Los Angeles may not be held until 2021, Garcetti says: Mayor Eric Garcetti told CNN that Los Angeles may hold off on permitting large gatherings — including concerts and sporting events — until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I think we should be prepared for that,” Garcetti said. “Probably not for the rest of this year.”
2:37 p.m. Alameda County law enforcement get thousands of shelter in place noncompliance complaints: The Sheriff’s Office reported it has received 1,828 complaints and inquiries about compliance with the Alameda County COVID-19 shelter-in-place order. Nearly 800 complaints were about non-essential businesses and more than 300 were regarding non-essential activity. Officials have closed most of the cases and are currently processing 70. People can send an email to [email protected] if they wish to register a complaint.
2:30 p.m. DA’s office investigating nursing home where 11 died: The Alameda County district attorney’s office is investigating a Hayward skilled nursing facility that has already been the site of 65 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths. Civil rights attorneys representing the family of one of the victims this week called for a criminal investigation into the facility, alleging that nurses were understaffed and forced to come into work even if they were symptomatic. A spokesperson with the District Attorney’s Office said she could not comment on the details of the investigation but said it initiated prior to attorneys John Burris and Adante Pointer’s press conference on the issue Monday.
2:29 p.m. Twelve inmates recovered at Santa Rita Jail, others still ill: Six more inmates at Santa Rita Jail have recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of people recovered to 12, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. Still, there are 14 inmates and two staff with positive cases. One inmate who tested positive was released from custody, officials said. The inmate population has dropped from 2,597 on March 1 to 1,801 on Wednesday.
2:19 p.m. Two dozen long-term care facilities in Santa Clara County report infections, 300 cases and 15 deaths total: County health officials reported there are 300 cases of COVID-19 and 15 deaths linked to 24 long-term care facilities in the county. These include skilled nursing, independent living, assisted living and board-and-care facilities. The majority of the cases, 275, are linked to 16 skilled nursing facilities. The cases include residents and staff of the facilities. Forty patients were hospitalized when reported to the county. On Monday, there were just 209 reported cases at long-term care facilities.
2:07 p.m. Santa Clara County reports one more death, 71 new cases: Health officials in Santa Clara County reported one additional death and 71 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total to 65 deaths and 1,793 cases. There are 195 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and more than 16,500 people have been tested, officials said.
2:05 p.m. SFPD have cited nine individuals: San Francisco police Chief Bill Scott said five businesses and four people have been cited after being warned by authorities for not practicing social distancing or not closing after being deemed nonessential. Authorities have also ramped up staffing at parks as temperatures warm. Scott said authorities have maintained an education-first approach with violators.
2 p.m. San Francisco’s Newfront Insurance reportedly lays off 94 workers: The insurance brokerage, backed by prominent incubator Y Combinator, sought to modernize the industry with technology. The New York Times reported the layoffs.
1:48 p.m. Finance leaders reportedly tell Trump more testing needed before country can effectively reopen: Banking and financial services executives told President Trump that the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity needs to dramatically increase before people will feel comfortable returning to normal and the economy should reopen, the Wall Street Journal reported. Trump has gathered 200 business and political leaders to serve on a task force about reopening the economy, and the reported discussion was by some involved in a first phone meeting. Experts have repeatedly said that testing is insufficient so far to determine the extent of the coronavirus potential impact.
1:36 p.m. San Francisco opening free drive-thru testing site: San Francisco announced Wednesday it will open a drive-thru coronavirus testing site that will offer free testing to residents experiencing symptoms. The site at 600 7th St. will open Friday by appointment with an initial capacity of up to 200 tests, city officials said, adding they hope to eventually offer walk-up access. Expanded testing capacity “is essential to not only slowing the spread of the virus, but also helping us to have the tools we need to manage this virus through the coming months,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement.
1:29 p.m.: Chinese Hospital adds 23 beds: San Francisco’s Chinese Hospital announced it will open 23 new acute-care beds to help with the fight against COVID-19. The hospital, in partnership with the Department of Public Health, has accepted 16 transfer patients so far from San Francisco General Hospital. “That contributes to our city-wide capacity to handle a surge,” department spokesman Greg Wagner said in a virtual news conference Wednesday.
1:20 p.m. Stocks fall on dismal economic news: Stocks swung back down Wednesday after more signs piled up of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 445 points to close at 23,504, a loss of 1.8%. The markets reacted to a record drop in retail sales and the news that more banks made moves in anticipation that households and companies will default on billions of dollars in credit card debt and other loans.
1:15 p.m. Cheaper iPhone: Apple unveiled its latest iPhone in a live-streamed presentation Wednesday, seizing on a time when people are sheltering indoors and glued to their devices. The new iPhone SE costs $399, about 40% less than the regular $699 iPhone. The device has the design of an older generation of iPhones, with the same computing power as newer ones. That means the SE looks like an iPhone from 2014, with a smaller screen and a home button instead of a face scanner, but is as fast as the fancier iPhone 11 released last year. It will be available April 24.
1:10 p.m. State cases number 26,000, deaths over 800: The number of people infected with the coronavirus hit 26,000 in California on Wednesday, and COVID-19 deaths stood at 803. The Bay Area’s case numbers stood at 5,512, with deaths climbing to 164.
1:04 p.m. Los Angeles may halt large events until 2021: Los Angeles officials may not allow big gatherings like sporting events and concerts until 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Los Angeles Times reports.
12:58 p.m. State aims to conduct 25,000 daily coronavirus tests by end of month: The state’s health and human services director said California has the capacity for 94,000 coronavirus tests per day, but only has been conducting a fraction of those. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he hopes to achieve 25,000 tests every day by the end of the month.
12:53 p.m. Number of coronavirus ICU patients declines: Intensive care units statewide saw their COVID-19 patient numbers drop by 0.2% Wednesday to 1,175, Gov. Gavin Newsom said, adding, “That is a very good sign.” ICU and hospital patient numbers will help guide the state’s response to the outbreak, he reiterated. As of Wednesday, 24,424 individuals across the state had tested positive for the coronavirus and 821 had died of COVID-19. “By no stretch of the imagination are we out of the woods,” Newsom said at his daily briefing.
12:43 Loan fund for small businesses running low: The government is approaching the $349 billion lending limit on its Paycheck Protection Program that is funneling relief money to the nation’s small businesses. The Small Business Administration said that as of Wednesday afternoon, it had approved nearly 1.38 million loans totaling more than $301 billion — up more than $50 billion since Monday. The Trump administration has asked Congress, which set the original ceiling, for another $250 billion for the program, but the request has stalled in the Senate.
12:33 p.m. Newsom announces economic relief for undocumented residents: California and philanthropists have collected $125 million for payments of up to $1,000 to undocumented persons facing financial hardship during the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday. Newsom said the undocumented account for about 10% of the state’s essential workforce through the healthcare, agricultural, manufacturing and construction industries. Individuals can receive $500 checks while households can receive up to $1,000. The state contributed $75 million and philanthropists offered an additional $50 million.
12:16 p.m. Newsom expands phone hours for unemployment office: Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday he is extending the call-in hours of the Employment Development Department to serve the crush of people filing for unemployment amid coronavirus-related loss of work. Newsom said 1,340 employees will be redirected starting Monday to take calls from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. He said 2.7 million Californians have filed for unemployment in the last few weeks.
12:07 p.m. Lockdowns hinder food to world’s most vulnerable: Lockdowns in at least 33 of Africa’s 54 countries have blocked farmers from getting food to markets and threatened deliveries of food assistance to rural populations, the Associated Press reports. Many informal markets where millions buy their food are shut. About one in five Africans already didn’t have enough food before the virus outbreak, and a quarter of the sub-Saharan Africa population are undernourished, AP reported.
11:57 a.m. Oakland’s VSCO lays off 30% of staff: The photo sharing and editing app maker VSCO cut 45 jobs, CEO Joel Flory said in a LinkedIn post. One of Oakland’s most prominent startups, it will provide a minimum of seven weeks of severance pay and two months of health care coverage, Flory said. Instead of a year of planned investment, he said, “Overnight our environment changed. We realized that we would need to shift towards running a self-sustaining business.” Read The Chronicle’s story.
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