COVID-19 live updates: Lafayette's Business Assistance Program starts up again today

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The COVID-19 pandemic is having a major impact across the world and also in cities across Northern California. The latest number of confirmed cases in the U.S. can be found at the CDC's 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the U.S. page. (The CDC updates the webpage on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.)

Join anchor Kristen Sze for ABC7's daily interactive newscast about the novel coronavirus outbreak in the Bay Area and other hot topics. You can check here to stream the show Monday-Friday at 3 p.m.

Here are the latest developments on the respiratory illness in the U.S.:

Jan. 4, 2021

12:15 p.m.
UK prime minister orders new national coronavirus lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a new national lockdown for England until at least mid-February to combat a fast-spreading new version of the coronavirus. Get the full story here.

7:10 a.m.
Lafayette's Business Assistance Program starts up again today
Some East Bay businesses are getting financial help to stay afloat. The city of Lafayette's Business Assistance Program starts up again today. It ran for five months at the beginning of the pandemic. Nearly 100 businesses and non-profits each received more than $1,500 in federal assistance. The Mayor of Lafayette will host a webinar this week to provide information about the new funding.

Jan. 3, 2021

11:55 p.m.
1 dead, 44 emergency staff at San Jose hospital infected with COVID-19
An employee working in Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center's emergency department on Christmas Day has died from COVID-19 complications, the hospital told ABC7 News on Sunday night. In respect for the patient's family and privacy, hospital officials are not releasing more information. Earlier in the day, officials said the COVID-19 count in the department increased to 44 infected staff members.

8:15 p.m.
Ambulances wait hours to offload patients at Bay Area hospitals

The novel coronavirus pandemic is causing massive wait-times at Santa Clara County hospitals. The Santa Clara Public Health department says "on several occasions over the past week," ambulances have waited up to seven hours to get a patient into the emergency department. The extended wait times are "largely due to the significant volume of patients at hospitals, which have been heavily affected by the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations." Read more here.

1 p.m.
Santa Clara County businesses must close employee break rooms under COVID-19 restrictions

Santa Clara County health officials kicked off 2021 by adding new restrictions on businesses -- they must now close their employee breakrooms. According to the changes, made on Dec. 31, businesses in Silicon Valley must "prohibit personnel from using any indoor breakrooms or break areas for eating or drinking -- even if they're alone at the time." Read more here.

CA reports more than 45,000 new cases of COVID-19

California reported 45,352 cases of COVID-19 cases on Saturday, fewer cases than what the state saw on Friday. Another 181 people died on Saturday, marking a total of 26,538 deaths since the pandemic began. A total of 20,690 people are hospitalized statewide with more than 4,500 in the ICU.

9:30 a.m.
U.S sets pandemic travel record

The U.S. set a record for air travel on Saturday with nearly 1.2 million screened by the TSA, the most since the previous travel record set on Dec. 23.

Jan. 2, 2021

8:40 p.m.
COVID-19 outbreak at Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center's emergency department

43 staff members at Kaiser's San Jose emergency department have tested positive for COVID-19 between Dec. 27 and Jan. 1, Irene Chavez, senior vice president and area manager of he hospital said in a statement. The hospital is investigating the outbreak and says the spread "may" have been caused by an employee who appeared briefly in the department wearing an "air-powered" costume on Christmas day.

Chavez told ABC7 News, "Any exposure, if it occurred, would have been completely innocent, and quite accidental, as the individual had no COVID symptoms and only sought to lift the spirits of those around them during what is a very stressful time." Read more here.

4:30 p.m.
SF Main Library's to-go service suspended due to COVID-19 concerns

San Francisco's Main Library has stopped its to-go service this weekend due to a possible case of COVID-19 involving a staff member. The service will be suspended until Sunday, Dec. 3. The library's TIP line service will also be suspended too.

2:50 p.m.
Bay Area ICU capacity drops further

The Bay Area's available ICU capacity has dropped to 5.1%, as of Saturday afternoon. The San Joaquin Vallejo and Southern California regions have no remaining ICU beds, while Northern California has 32.6%, according to the state.

11 a.m.
California records 2nd highest new case total in single day

California reported another 53,341 new cases of COVID-19 on New Year's Day, the second highest case total in a single day since the pandemic began last year. According to state data released, another 386 people died on New Year's Day in California and more than 20,000 remain hospitalized. A total of 4,531 are in ICUs across the state.

Jan. 1, 2021

11:40 a.m.
CA reports record number of COVID-19 deaths in single day

California reported another 47,189 new cases on New Year's Eve, bringing the state's total to nearly 2.3 million COVID-19 cases. A record 585 people died of the virus on Thursday, the most number of fatalities in a single day to date. A total of 20,540 remain hospitalized in California, with 4,525 in the ICU.

11:25 a.m.
US hits 20 million mark in COVID-19 cases
The number of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases has surpassed 20 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That's nearly twice as many as the No. 2 country, India, and nearly one-quarter of the more than 83 million cases globally.

8:30 a.m.
VTA seeks vaccination priority for transit workers
Valley Transportation Authority's top official is asking Governor Newsom to prioritize public transit workers for COVID-19 vaccinations. General Manager and CEO Nuria Fernandez sent a letter to the governor calling transit workers a lifeline to serving other essential workers, the elderly and those with disabilities. He noted that VTA makes 33,000 trips a day. Fernandez wrote, "we believe it would be a significant mistake for the state to fail to include public transit workers in Phase 1B of the state's vaccine distribution plan."

Dec. 31, 2020

11:20 a.m.
California surpasses 25,000 deaths

California reported another 27,327 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, a below average single-day number for the fourth day in a row. The state has recorded a total of 2,245,379 cases of COVID-19 to date. Another 428 people died of the virus on Wednesday, marking more than 25,000 deaths since the pandemic began. A total of 20,625 remain hospitalized across the state, with more than 4,000 in the ICU.

10:15 a.m.
SF extends stay-at-home order indefinitely
San Francisco is extending its stay-at-home order and coronavirus travel quarantine rules indefinitely, the city announced Thursday.

8:30 a.m.
TSA screens more than 1M passengers for 5th straight day
The TSA says it screened more than one million passengers at airport checkpoints for a fifth straight day Wednesday.

5:30 a.m.
US reports more than 3,900 new deaths
The U.S. reported 3,903 deaths on Wednesday, a new record for daily fatalities, according to The COVID Tracking Project. Hospitalizations also reached a record high with 125,220 and there were 225,671 new cases, according to the tracking project.

Dec. 30, 2020

1:20 p.m.
New COVID-19 variant identified in Southern California, Newsom says

A new, more contagious strain of COVID-19 has been discovered in Southern California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced this afternoon during a virtual conversation with Dr. Fauci. This comes one day after the first U.S. case was discovered in Colorado. According to British officials, this new variant could be 70% more contagious that the current variant. The patient in Colorado has been identified as a man in his 20s who hadn't been traveling. The newest variant prompted the CDC last week to require travelers from the U.K. to have a negative COVID-19 test before traveling to the U.S.

1 p.m.
Gov. Newsom hosts conversation with Dr. Fauci

Gov. Gavin Newsom is hosting a virtual conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert. Tune at 1 p.m. to the media player above to watch the conversation live.

5:35 a.m.
Tuesday was deadliest day in US during pandemic
The United States reported 3,725 deaths on Tuesday, breaking the previous single-day total of 3,656 set on Dec. 16, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

5 a.m.
Small businesses can apply for CA COVID-19 relief grants starting today
Small businesses in California can start to apply for grants through the state's COVID-19 relief fund today. Grant amounts will range from $5,000 to up to $25,000, depending on the applicant's annual gross revenue. The first round of applications opens at 6 a.m. and will close at midnight next Friday. Approvals will be announced the following week. For more information, visit this page.

Dec. 29, 2020

1:50 p.m.
1st known case of U.K. COVID-19 variant found in Colorado, officials say
Gov. Polis and state health officials announced Colorado's first case of the of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the UK. The Colorado State Laboratory confirmed and notified the Center for Disease Control of the case. Officials say the individual is a man in his 20s is currently in isolation and has no travel history. Public health officials are investigating. Read more here.

12:45 p.m.
Stay-at-home orders extended indefinitely in 2 CA regions

The regional stay-at-home order has been extended indefinitely for two of California's regions, Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced Tuesday. When remaining intensive care capacity drops below 15%, a region is put under modified lockdown. The stay-at-home order remains in place for at least three weeks. Read more here.

12:30 p.m.
Dr. Grant Colfax gives warning for celebrating New Year's Eve

San Francisco's Health Officer Dr. Grant Colfax held a briefing on COVID-19 in the city. Reviewing data from the past three weeks, Colfax says the city is at its worse surge and hospitalizations have hit a record high as we end 2020. The Bay Area is hovering around 9% ICU capacity rate and San Francisco has the second lowest daily case rate in the region.

Colfax said "As we head into new years eve, the power is in our hands to turn this surge around." He reminded residents who travel outside the city must follow the 10-day quarantine.

"I can't emphasize enough how catastrophic it will be if people celebrate in ways we normally for New Year's Eve," Colfax added. "We are at a brink we need to continue to move forward and slow the spread of the virus. If we see a surge like we did on thanksgiving, we will have, as you can see from the numbers, thousands in the hospitals, hundreds of more deaths." Watch the full briefing here.

10 a.m.
Stimulus update: McConnell blocks House bill for $2K checks

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Democrats' push to immediately bring President Donald Trump's demand for bigger $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks up for a vote, saying the chamber would "begin a process" to address the issue. Get the full story here.

8 a.m.
VP-elect Harris gets COVID-19 shot
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday in Washington DC.

4:30 a.m.

Pop-up testing site opens in Palo Alto today
A pop-up COVID-19 testing site opens today in Palo Alto at Mitchell Park Library. Testing is free and you don't need insurance. You must make an appointment on the City of Palo Alto's website.

Dec. 28, 2020

1 p.m.
Gov. Newsom expects to extend regional stay-at-home orders amid COVID-19 surge

Gov. Gavin Newsom expects California to extend regional stay-at-home orders in two large swaths of the state, he said in a press conference. The stay-at-home order in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California would have been eligible to expire as early as Monday, but with ICU capacity at 0% in both regions, the restrictions are set to be extended. Newsom said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly would likely make the announcement on Tuesday. Read more from the governor here.

11 a.m.
Santa Clara Co. gives COVID-19 update
Santa Clara County officials provided a COVID-19 status update and urged strict adherence to all state and county directives related to gatherings and social distancing ahead of New Year's Eve holiday.

10 a.m.
Bay Area reaches more than COVID-19 257,000 cases
The Bay Area has reached 257,945 COVID-19 cases and total deaths now stand at 2,517.

5:25 a.m.
TSA screens 1.2M at US airports Sunday
The TSA screened 1,284,599 people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, Sunday, Dec. 27. It is the highest checkpoint throughput since the pandemic hit. It is also the 6th day in the last 10 that volume has surpassed 1 million.

5:10 a.m.
CVS to administer vaccine at CA long-term care facilities

Starting today, CVS will administer COVID-19 vaccines to people at California's long-term care facilities. Nearly 700,000 residents and staff at 15,000 facilities across the state are expected to be vaccinated. Vaccinators will visit each location at least three times for boosters and check-ups within 12 weeks. After this phase, CVS says it will move to vaccinating the next tier, which includes essential workers, Americans 75 and up, and people with chronic illnesses.

Dec. 27, 2020

8:30 p.m.
Pop-up COVID-19 testing site in Palo Alto to offer free tests on Tuesdays

Free pop-up COVID-19 testing will be available each Tuesday starting this week, Palo Alto officials announced. Testing will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot at the Mitchell Park Library, 3700 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto.

The free self-administered testing, available for both insured and uninsured individuals, is offered by local firm Curative, which also is serving similar programs in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto. Documentation status is neither required or reported.

Visit the city's website here for more information and the link to sign up for an appointment.
Additional testing will be offered at the location every other Wednesday starting Jan. 13.

Testing is also available by-apppointment twice a month at the Mitchell Park Community Center in partnership with the County of Santa Clara. See more pop-up testing locations in Santa Clara County here.

7 p.m.
Health officials fear next COVID-19 surge as Bay Area travelers return from holiday trips

Despite the pandemic and pleas from public health experts, millions of holiday travelers are returning from family get-togethers across the country and here in the Bay Area. Michael Garrick from San Leandro just arrived back in the Bay Area wearing a mask and face shield, after a trip to LA to spend Christmas with family.

"It was different, we didn't see friends outside our bubble, still had a really good time," said Garrick. Read the full story here.

5 p.m.
December deadliest month in US since COVID-19 pandemic began; January projections 'nightmarish,' expert says

December has been the nation's deadliest month since the COVID-19 pandemic's start -- with more than 63,000 Americans lost to the virus in the past 26 days. In comparison, the entire month of November saw about 36,964 deaths, CNN reported.

The grim death toll comes on the heels of several brutal months for the US, with COVID-19 ravaging communities from coast to coast, crippling hospital systems and prompting new widespread restrictions. The authorization of two COVID-19 vaccines earlier in December offered some hope of a light at the end of the tunnel. But experts continue to warn that while the end is in sight, the pandemic is not over and another surge stemming from the Christmas holiday could be on its way.

"We very well might see a post-seasonal -- in the sense of Christmas, New Years -- surge," Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday morning, pointing to holiday travel and private gatherings taking place despite the advice of health experts.

Read more here.

12:30 p.m.
CA reports more than 50,000 new cases in 1 day

California reported another 50,141 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, according to the latest data. The state now has more than 2.1 million cases. A total of 24,220 Californians have died of the virus, with another 237 deaths on Saturday.

California's seven-day virus positivity rate stands at 11.4% and 19,237 remain hospitalized with COVID-19. The Bay Area's ICU capacity is at 11.1%. The San Joaquin Valley and Southern California regions have no ICU beds available, as of Saturday.

10:15 a.m.
Air travel spikes on day after Christmas

The U.S. saw a big spike in air travel on Saturday compared to Christmas Day, but there were still nearly half as many travelers compared to the same day 2019. According to the TSA, 1,128,773 people traveled by air in the U.S. on Saturday, while on Dec. 26, 2019, more than 2.4 million traveled.

Dec. 26, 2020

11:45 a.m.
More than 30,000 new cases reported in CA, CDPH say

The California Department of Public Health says there were 30,375 newly recorded confirmed cases Friday. The state has 2,072,665 confirmed cases to date. the agency added.
The 7-day positivity rate is 11.3%. The 14-day positivity rate is 12.1%.
As we reported yesterday, state officials say the Bay Area stay-at-home order will likely to be extended.

The earliest dates that regions may be eligible to exit are:

San Joaquin: December 28
Southern California: December 28
Greater Sacramento: January 1
Bay Area: January 8

Current available ICU capacity by region:
Bay Area: 11.3%
Greater Sacramento: 16.9%
Northern California: 33.9%
San Joaquin Valley: 0.0%
Southern California: 0.0%

See latest case numbers and ICU capacity rates in the Bay Area here.

9:45 a.m.
TSA screens more than 600,000 travelers on Christmas Day

The TSA screened a total of 616,469 people at airport checkpoints in the U.S. on Christmas Day, a significant drop from the number of travelers seen in the year prior.

"Christmas day isn't typically a very busy day for air travel, however the day or two afterward are usually busier as people head home after the holiday. If you choose to travel, please mask-up," Lisa Farbstein, TSA spokesperson, said on Twitter today.

The travel seen on Christmas Day this year compares to more than 2.5 million travelers on the holiday in 2019.

Dec. 25, 2020

5 p.m.
Bay Area stay-at-home order likely to be extended, state officials say

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 at present, the California Department of Public Health said.

10:15 a.m.
U.S. to require negative COVID-19 test for UK travelers

The United States will require airline passengers from Britain to get a negative COVID-19 test before their flight, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced late Thursday. The U.S. is the latest country to announce new travel restrictions because of a new variant of the coronavirus that is spreading in Britain and elsewhere.

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