SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A surge in coronavirus cases has been reported in the Bay Area and across California as well as the country due in part to the emergence of the highly-contagious delta variant.
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 coronavirus outbreak in the Bay Area and around the world. 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 Bay Area:
FDA panel endorses booster shot for J&J COVID-19 vaccine
A panel of U.S. health advisers has endorsed booster doses of Johnson & Johnson's single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration panel said Friday that the booster should be offered at least two months after immunization but didn't suggest a firm time.
CDC advising states to preorder Pfizer's vaccine for young children
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising states to order Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine doses for children ages 5 to 11 ahead of a vote on its authorization. An independent Food and Drug Administration advisory panel is scheduled to discuss the vaccine on Oct. 26, and a vote is expected soon after. In planning documents posted by the CDC, the agency is advising states to order their doses in advance of the meeting, with preorders starting Oct. 20.
BART to require all employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 13
(Bay City News) BART announced it will require all employees and contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or prove their full vaccination status by Dec. 13 under an adopted policy on Thursday.
Board Directors Rebecca Saltzman, Lateefah Simon, Bevan Dufty and Janice Li drafted the policy. It will require the full vaccination of BART's employees and board members by mid-December, save for those who have a valid medical or religious exemption.
The board also voted as part of the vaccination policy to direct BART General Manager Bob Powers to implement a vaccination requirement for the agency's contractors and bargain with the agency's labor unions to determine how employees who decline to get vaccinated will be handled.
"By adopting this policy today, nobody is getting fired tomorrow," Li said. "No one is being forced to get the vaccine, but this policy states that being vaccinated is a condition of employment."
Several board members framed the policy as a necessity to keep both the transit agency's employees and its riders, particularly children under 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccination, protected against the virus.
BART officials estimated that around 20 to 25 percent of BART's nearly 4,000 employees remain unvaccinated, which Board Director Mark Foley argued could lead to further outbreaks and potential service disruptions.
Contra Costa Co. to lift masking requirements in some indoor settings on Nov. 1
Contra Costa County will lift masking requirements on Nov. 1 in certain indoor settings where everyone is fully vaccinated. Eligible settings are in controlled spaces not open to the general public, including offices, gyms and fitness centers, employee commuter vehicles, indoor college classes and organized gatherings in any other indoor setting, such as a religious gathering.Underthe order, participating businesses, organizations and hosts must verify that all patrons, employees and attendees are fully vaccinated before allowing people inside their facilities not to wear face coverings. There can be no more than 100 persons present at these facilities, and the group of those present must gather on a regular basis. Those present should also not have COVID-19 symptoms.
Kids vaccine distribution to be based on population
Initial distribution of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years old will be based on a state's population of eligible children, according to a new planning document distributed to state immunization managers by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Biden vaccine order moves closer to enforcement
The Biden administration's mandate that employers with 100 or more workers require coronavirus vaccinations or institute weekly virus testing has moved one step closer to enforcement. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has submitted the text of a new rule to the OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The agency has 90 days to review the rule or send it back to OSHA for revision. Text of the proposed order won't be published until OMB completes its review.
Contra Costa Co. could declare COVID misinformation a public health crisis
COVID-19 misinformation could soon be declared a public health crisis in one Bay Area county. The Contra Costa County board of supervisors will meet later this morning to talk about this resolution. The board says health misinformation has created "a culture of mistrust" and prolonged the pandemic. More than 900 people in the county have died and nearly 100,000 COVID cases have been reported there.
The first cruise ship has arrived in San Francisco since the pandemic began. The Majestic Princess marks an important milestone in the city's economic recovery. The City welcomed 280,000 cruise visitors in 2019. The last time a high-profile ship was here was back in March 2020. The cruise line says passengers had to be vaccinated and show a negative COVID test taken within two days. In all, there will be 21 cruise calls in San Francisco through the end of the year, and a record 127 in 2022.
Hospitalizations drop but deaths remain high
Hospitalizations in the U.S. have dropped from 104,000 to about 69,000 over the last five weeks, according to federal data. More than a third of the drop was in Florida, where there are about 13,000 fewer patients compared to just over one month ago. Daily COVID-19-related hospital admissions are also down nationally by 13.6% in the last week, according to federal data.
United expects travel surge in December
United Airlines expects a travel surge and plans to fly 3,500 daily domestic flights in December, making it the largest schedule since the start of the pandemic. Flight searches for the holidays are up 16% on the airline's website and app compared to 2019. Florida and ski resorts are expected to be the hottest destinations.
FDA could authorize vaccine for kids after Oct. 26 meeting
The Food and Drug Administration could issue an emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 soon after Oct. 26, when the agency's advisory committee plans to discuss Pfizer's data, the FDA's vaccine chief said.
Bay Area counties consider easing indoor mask mandate
San Francisco is set to ease its indoor mask mandate. In a statement, the city's Health Department says it would likely consider settings that are low risk with low contact rates, and places where people are fully vaccinated. It was unclear when the new rules might go into effect, but Mayor London Breed said today that the change is long overdue. If and when the mandate is lifted, officials suggest continuing to mask-up as a precaution.
In Contra Costa County, health officials are finalizing plans to ease mask mandates. The county's Health Department confirmed to ABC7 News that an announcement could come by the end of this week.
New COVID testing site opens SFUSD students, staff
A new COVID testing site opens today, exclusively for San Francisco Unified students and staff. It will be open Tuesdays and Fridays at the Crocker Amazon sports complex on Moscow Street. The site can administer 150 tests per day for students and staff who are experiencing COVID symptoms or are considered a close contact of someone who has tested positive. You do not need an appointment to get tested.
COVID vaccine mandate takes effect for NYC teachers, staff
Teachers and other school staff members were supposed to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when the bell rang Monday morning for New York City's sprawling school system. Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that unvaccinated school staffers would not be allowed to work Monday. United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew said 97% of his union's members had received at least one vaccine dose as of Monday morning. New York City's schools are among the first in the nation to require all employees to be inoculated against the coronavirus. A similar mandate is set to go into effect in Los Angeles on Oct. 15.
West Contra Costa Unified approves vaccine mandate
A vaccine mandate has been approved for West Contra Costa Unified School District. The school board voted last night to require students, employees, volunteers, board members, vendors and contractors to be vaccinated. Eligible kids will be required to have one shot by November 15 and their second shot by December 15. Officials say students with exemptions will be required to submit to rapid testing once every two weeks, in accordance with district policy.
Napa County vaccine clinic opens today
Starting today, you can get your COVID-19 vaccine or a booster shot at a clinic in Napa County. The St. Helena Hospital Foundation will be administering first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine for anyone 12 or older. They're also offering booster shots for eligible people who got their second dose at least six months ago. You'll also be able to get a flu shot. The vaccine clinic will be held at Napa Valley College's Upper Valley Campus on College Avenue in Saint Helena starting at 10 a.m.
Santa Cruz County drops indoor mask mandate
Santa Cruz County announced it's dropping its indoor mask mandate effective immediately. That comes as a new CDC forecast model shows that COVID hospitalizations are likely to drop by nearly half in the next two weeks. And that same model shows cases and deaths will continue to decline over the next four weeks.
Vaccine mandate ordered for CA senior car workers
The California Department of Public health issued a new order mandating vaccinations for all workers at adult and senior care facilities. The order applies to all adult and senior care facilities, certain persons who provide In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), certified home care aides, and Waiver Personal Care Services (WPCS) providers, hospice workers who provide services in the home or a licensed facility, and all employees, as well as service provider workers, who provide services through the state's regional centers that serve individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
CA has lowest transmission rate in US
California is moving in the right direction when it comes to controlling the spread of the virus. According to new numbers from the CDC our state continues to have the lowest transmission rate. It's the only state in the U.S. in the "moderate" virus transmission category. All other states have "high" or "substantial" virus transmission. As for COVID-19 testing, California's positivity rate dropped to 2.6 percent over the past eight weeks. Data from the state that the Bay Area is doing better than California as a whole. Marin County has the lowest 7-day average in the state with just 8.5 cases per 100,000.
Folsom Street Fair returns to SF after 2 years
The Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco returned after a 2-year delay because of COVID. While the one-of-a-kind event hasn't changed, the pandemic is prompting new rules and guidelines. Proof of vaccination was required for entry as were masks. Before COVID, about a quarter-million people attended the festival. This year, the crowd was much smaller at about 40,000. Another new rule this year - no alcohol sales on the street. Instead organizers wanted people to support local bars that have had a tough time during the pandemic.
CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid offering COVID-19 booster shots
Today, with guidance from the CDC, three drug stores have announced they are giving Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot to eligible populations.
CVS announced it has started giving booster shots today. You may book your appointment here.
Rite Aid started offering shots for walk-ins today and will start taking appointments online tomorrow.
Walgreens says it will be also be taking appointments online starting tomorrow as well.
The drug stores listed the following guidelines set by ACIP and CDC:
CDC director overrules panel, recommends COVID-19 boosters for frontline, health care workers
The CDC panel on Thursday voted against saying that people can get a booster if they are ages 18 to 64 years and are health-care workers or have another job that puts them at increased risk of being exposed to the virus. But CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky disagreed and put that recommendation back in, noting that such a move aligns with an FDA booster authorization decision earlier this week. Here's the full story.
WHO endorses antibody treatment for some people
The World Health Organization is recommending a pricey antibody treatment for certain coronavirus patients in the latest update to its guidelines for treating people with COVID-19. The new guidelines, published Friday in the journal BMJ, say the two antibodies - casirivimab and imdevimab - made by Regeneron should be given to people infected with COVID-19 who are at highest risk of hospitalization and to people whose own immune systems have not mounted a response.
CDC advisory panel backs Pfizer boosters for people 65+, at-risk groups
The U.S. vaccination drive against COVID-19 stands on the verge of a major new phase: Government advisers on Thursday recommended booster doses of Pfizer's vaccine for millions of Americans
The advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the extra doses for people 65 and older, nursing home residents, and people who are 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions. It also said boosters can be offered to people 18 to 49 with underlying conditions.
The shots would be given at least six months after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Here's the full story.
Calif. considering school vaccine mandate
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said the state is considering a vaccine mandate in schools, but they do not have a plan in place at this time. Ghaly made the announcement during an update this morning California's COVID-19 vaccine action plan. Among the top priorities: Number one: getting the unvaccinated, vaccinated; two, the important efforts of working with healthcare systems, which are playing a greater role in getting people vaccinated, and three, working with schools, to get children vaccinated as they become eligible.
Fremont Festival of Arts canceled
For the second year in a row, the Fremont Festival of the Arts won't be happening. It was set to take place this weekend but the Fremont Chamber of Commerce called it off because of COVID concerns. The chamber's CEO told the East Bay Times -- controlling safety would've been hard because the event often draws more than 300,000 people.
Oakland Unified School District approves COVID vaccination mandate for students 12 and up
The Oakland Unified School Board voted to approve vaccine mandates for those 12 and older. Those with certain medical cases and religious beliefs are exempt -- but no doubt, it is a major step with the Delta variant spreading so quickly among children. Here's the full story.
Biden doubles US global donation of COVID-19 vaccine shots to 1 billion Pfizer doses
President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the United States is doubling its purchase of Pfizer's COVID-19 shots to share with the world to 1 billion doses as he embraces the goal of vaccinating 70% of the global population within the next year. Get the full story here.
Oakland Unified to consider student vaccine mandate
Oakland Unified will consider a proposal today that would require all eligible students get vaccinated for COVID-19. The resolution would give students until October 3 to get their first dose and until October 31 to get their second. Vaccination rates within the district are already on the right track.
FDA authorizes Pfizer COVID vaccine boosters for at-risk groups
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer booster shots Wednesday for seniors and other high-risk Americans, paving the way for third doses to be offered as early as the end of the week. Full story here.
San Francisco airport workers required to be vaccinated under new mandate
All airport workers in San Francisco will now be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, Mayor London Breed announced Tuesday morning. The vaccine requirement takes effect immediately and applies to airline, service, concession and construction employees. Some workers may be eligible for an exemption from the vaccine for a medical disability or a "sincerely held" religious belief. Those individuals will have to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. The mayor says San Francisco is the first U.S. airport to issue a mandate like this.
Dreamforce kicks off at Moscone Center in San Francisco today
Dreamforce kicks off today at Moscone Center in San Francisco. Salesforce's annual convention will be scaled down -- drawing about 5,000 people instead of the typical 170,000 people. In-person events are "invitation only" because of COVID protocols. Everyone else will be able to watch it online. Vaccines are required for anyone attending in-person. Dreamforce runs through Thursday.
SF Marathon returns with new protocols
Runners are back racing on the streets of San Francisco. The San Francisco Marathon got underway early Sunday morning. Runners headed north along The Embarcadero, into the Presidio, across the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Richmond District and back to the Ferry Building. Runners had to wear masks while on National Park property. COVID forced organizers to cancel the marathon last year. This year on the men's side, Greg Billington of San Francisco came in first. The women's winner was Judith Corachan from Spain.
Apple to add testing mandate for employees
Apple is adding a testing mandate for its workforce in stores and at offices. For employees who are vaccinated, they will be tested from time to time. Unvaccinated workers will be tested far more frequently. Unlike several other tech companies, Apple has not issued a vaccination mandate. The testing mandate will take effect next month. Corporate employees are not supposed to return to the office until the beginning of next year.
SF offering free public performances
San Francisco is bringing some life back to the streets with free public performances. It's called SF Wednesdays and the idea is to bring entertainment to some of San Francisco's iconic locations. The performances continue every Wednesday through October 20, in Union Square, Embarcadero Plaza, and Mint Plaza in SoMa.
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