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COVID Roundup: Thanksgiving Gathering Fears Mount; Cal Football Still In Limbo; State Reaches Grim Milestone

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- With a surge in coronavirus cases, the information you need to know is coming fast and furious. Here's a roundup of the COVID stories we've published over the last 24 hours.

With Coronavirus Resurgence, Experts Discourage Holiday Gatherings
SAN JOSE -- California has passed a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic: there have now been one million Californians infected with the virus. The latest spike in cases comes at a crucial time for fighting the virus: the holidays. "The holidays are really coming at a terrible time in this pandemic," said Dr. John Swartzberg of U.C. Berkeley, who is a leading infectious disease specialist. Eight months into the pandemic, health officials say we understand more about how the virus is spread. "We know that the highest risk for transmission is to be inside with others without your mask," said Betty Duong, a spokesperson for the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health. Read More

Berkeley Not Budging On COVID Quarantine for Cal Football Players
BERKELEY -- The window for University of California, Berkeley playing its first football game of the season was closing this week as Berkeley city officials had not updated the status of some quarantined players as of Wednesday. The team is scheduled to play at Arizona State Saturday but Cal's entire defensive line was quarantined after coming into contact with a player who tested positive for COVID-19 last week. If the city does not lift the 14-day quarantine, Cal could cancel the game -- the second game canceled in as many weeks. Head football coach Justin Wilcox abruptly canceled a scheduled press conference late Wednesday, but before that expressed frustration and wanted more clarity on protocol moving forward.Read More

Pelosi, Schumer: GOP 'Temper Tantrum' Over Biden Victory Hurting Response To COVID-19 Surge
WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer skewered their Republican counterparts Thursday for refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden's election victory and indulging President Trump's efforts to cast doubt on the results, saying it is hurting the response to a worsening COVID-19 pandemic. Schumer joined Pelosi for her weekly press conference to call for Senate Republicans and the White House to resume negotiations on a new round of coronavirus relief legislation. "The President and the Republicans in Congress have ignored by delay, distortion, denial. Deaths have been caused. And what are they doing now? Continuing to ignore in spite of these numbers [of COVID-19 cases]," said Pelosi. Read More

Stimulus Package Update: What Will A Biden Administration Mean For More Aid?
SAN FRANCISCO --President-elect Joe Biden will have a full to-do list when he takes office on January 20. Wrangling the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuilding the economy are likely right at the top. His transition team is already hard at work putting plans in place. Earlier this week, the Biden-Harris transition team announced the creation of the Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board, a group of public health experts to consult with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. As Biden says, "dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts." Containing the virus is key to rebuilding the economy. And the incoming Biden administration is already laying the groundwork for that as well. In his recently released Emergency Action Plan to Save the Economy, he lays out the basics for attacking the ongoing economic crisis. Read More

Alameda County Officials Announce Reopening Pause, Possible Move Back To Red Tier
OAKLAND -- While Alameda County remains in the Orange Tier of the state's COVID-19 risk assessment, health officials on Thursday announced a pause to any reopening due to the recent spike in cases that will likely place the county back at the Red Tier. "Alameda County is currently in the Orange Tier per the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy, but we anticipate moving into a more restrictive tier soon," the statement announcing the pause said. "For this reason, we will not open additional activities and will likely need to close higher risk activities shortly. Earlier action will help us flatten the curve." Health officials said Alameda County's daily new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people as calculated by the state has risen from a low of 3.4 to 4.9. Read More

California Hits Grim Milestone Of 1 Millionth Coronavirus Case
SACRAMENTO -- California on Thursday afternoon became just the second state in the U.S. after Texas to log its one millionth case of COVID-19. Figures released by the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins confirmed the state arriving at that grim milestone. California's case load represents about nine percent of all U.S. Infections, but the state also makes up about 12 percent of the country's population. The U.S. has already surpassed 10 million infections. Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted the latest about the state's rising COVID-19 numbers Thursday, though he made no mention of hitting one million cases. Read More

New Stanford Study Finds Significant COVID Risks From Indoor Dining
STANFORD -- A new study authored by a Stanford computer scientist found that indoor businesses were the biggest spreaders of COVID-19 -- providing bad news for a restaurant industry struggling during the pandemic. The study, published Tuesday in the weekly scientific journal Nature, found that around eight in every ten COVID cases diagnosed during the first months of the pandemic were infected while inside a public venue such as a restaurant or gym. "Restaurants were by far the riskiest places, about four times riskier than gyms and coffee shops, followed by hotels," Jure Leskovec, a Stanford computer scientist and lead author on the study, told the New York Times. Read More

Solano County At Risk Of Purple Tier As COVID-19 Cases Keep Rising - 'Starting To See The Impact Of Halloween'
SOLANO COUNTY -- Solano County is once again on the brink of moving back into the state's most restrictive coronavirus pandemic reopening tier due to a rate of new cases that is nearly double what is needed to remain in a lower tier, the county's public health officer said this week. The county needs to report fewer than seven new cases per 100,000 residents per day to stay out of the most-restrictive tier, which works out to about 31 cases per day, according to Solano County Public Health Officer Dr. Bela Matyas. Solano County averaged more than 50 new cases per day over the last week, Matyas told the county's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, including a stretch of four to five days with more than 80 cases per day. Read More

City Partners With San Francisco Unified To Support School Assessment
SAN FRANCISCO -- Officials with the city and county of San Francisco and the San Francisco Unified School District on Thursday announced a partnership for assessing the COVID safety of the district's school facilities. SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews reiterated the district's target date of January 25 for a return to in-person learning for the SFUSD's youngest learners and a group of elementary school students who receive special education services. That date will depend on public health indicators and numerous other prerequisites being in place. Under the newly announced agreement, San Francisco will provide trained staff to help support the District's assessments of school facilities. The SFUSD has already assessed 20 schools, but an additional 65 buildings need to be inspected for COVID safety for the district to meet its goal of having the SFUSD's youngest students and other vulnerable student groups back in classrooms. Read More

San Francisco Supes Criticize Plan To Rehouse 2,300 Homeless Staying In Hotels During Pandemic
SAN FRANCISCO -- Several San Francisco supervisors and homeless service providers on Tuesday blasted a plan by city leaders to rehouse 2,300 individuals currently staying in hotels as part of the city's COVID-19 response. Under the city's Shelter-in-Place (SIP) program, homeless residents who were considered vulnerable to the virus, based on their age and underlying health conditions, were placed in at 29 hotels throughout the city over the last six months. On Monday, Mayor London Breed and the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing announced a new plan to close the hotels and offer permanent supportive housing options to more than 2,300 people over the coming months. As part of the first phase, 500 residents at 7 hotels would be moved into housing in the next weeks. Read More

San Francisco's Union Square Retailers Hopeful Holiday Shoppers Will Return
SAN FRANCISCO -- After enduring months of coronavirus shutdowns and looters taking advantage of unrest during the George Floyd protests, Union Square has had a rough 2020. On Wednesday, there were some positive signs of life in San Francisco's cornerstone retail district. A Christmas tree is already up and drawing foot traffic back the often busy bellweather of San Francisco's downtown shopping area. "Usually, you can find a spot after circling for five minutes, but today was crazy," said shopper Amina Soulahi. Owners of businesses big and small told KPIX 5 the return of shoppers to the area isn't coming a moment too soon. Read More

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